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Bonel N.,National University of the South | Bonel N.,CONICET | Lorda J.,University of California at Santa Barbara | Lorda J.,Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve
Malacologia | Year: 2015

The freshwater mussel Limnoperna fortunei is adapted to colonize a wide range of aquatic environments, and its ability to contend with environmental stress through phenotypic plasticity has allowed this species to successfully colonize and become established in new regions. Only limited information is currently available on the wide intraspecific variability of this species in response to environmental heterogeneity. Here, we tested the hypotheses that (1) growth and body weight of mussels from a highly polluted environment differed from those from a less polluted habitat, and (2) growth parameters estimated in this study differed from those reported for other invaded ecosystems. We conducted controlled field experiments in two study sites with differing levels of pollution. To compare our results to those reported elsewhere, we considered growth data from studies performed in different locations. We found that mussels from the more polluted habitat showed lower shell growth and body weight than those from the less polluted environment. We also observed differences in the growth performances of the golden mussel between our estimates and those from other invaded habitats. Our findings provide useful information to better understand the striking intraspecific variability of this species in response to stressful conditions. Knowledge on the phenotypic plasticity of L. fortunei is essential for predicting and managing this species. Source

Uyeda K.A.,San Diego State University | Deutschman D.H.,San Diego State University | Crooks J.A.,Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve
Estuaries and Coasts | Year: 2013

Native plants in the upland to high-marsh transition zone of southern California salt marshes are mostly perennials and therefore experience the abiotic stress of low soil moisture and high soil salinity throughout much of the year. However, many annual non-native plants reproduce during the brief period of reduced salinity and increased moisture during winter rainfall. We investigated the seasonal and spatial variation in vegetation and soil properties of the transition zone using an observational study. Next, we explored the potential for managing non-native plants using a field experiment with varying timing, quantity, and frequency of salt addition treatments. The observational study showed that the distribution of non-native plants is related to changes in soil salinity and soil moisture that accompany changes in elevation, although there are variations among species. In the field experiment, salt was effective at reducing non-native plant cover, but the timing of treatment was important. Although additional work is needed to refine the salt treatments, this work supports the idea that altering abiotic conditions can effectively reduce the presence of non-native species in the upland to high-marsh transition zone. © 2013 Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation. Source

Jones C.G.,Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Jones C.G.,Agro ParisTech | Gutierrez J.L.,Grupo de Investigacion y Educacion en Temas Ambientales GrIETA | Gutierrez J.L.,University of the Sea | And 4 more authors.
Oikos | Year: 2010

While well-recognized as an important kind of ecological interaction, physical ecosystem engineering by organisms is diverse with varied consequences, presenting challenges for developing and using general understanding. There is also still some uncertainty as to what it is, and some skepticism that the diversity of engineering and its effects is amenable to conceptual integration and general understanding. What then, are the key cause/effect relationships and what underlies them? Here we develop, enrich and extend our extant understanding of physical ecosystem engineering into an integrated framework that exposes the essential cause/effect relationships, their underpinnings, and the interconnections that need to be understood to explain or predict engineering effects. The framework has four cause/effect relationships linking four components: 1. An engineer causes structural change; 2. Structural change causes abiotic change; 3. Structural and abiotic change cause biotic change; 4. Structural, abiotic and biotic change can feedback to the engineer. The first two relationships describe an ecosystem engineering process and abiotic dynamics, while the second two describe biotic consequence for other species and the engineer. The four relationships can be parameterized and linked using time-indexed equations that describe engineered system dynamics. After describing the relationships we discuss the utility of the framework; how it might be enriched; and briefly how it can be used to identify intersections of ecosystem engineering with fields outside ecology. © 2010 The Authors. Source

Hopper J.V.,University of California at Berkeley | Kuris A.M.,University of California at Santa Barbara | Lorda J.,University of California at Santa Barbara | Lorda J.,Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Biogeography | Year: 2014

Aim: To improve our understanding of how parasitism interacts with geographical range expansions by quantifying diversity and abundance of parasites in 25 populations of a large marine snail, Kellet's whelk (Kelletia kelletii), throughout its historical and recently expanded range, which are separated by a well-known biogeographical boundary. Location: California coast (western North America). Methods: Parasitological examinations were conducted on 199 whelks from 25 subtidal reefs throughout its expanded and historical ranges. We calculated infection risk, parasite intensity, and parasite species diversity. Abiotic (temperature, latitude, distance from range limit) and biotic (host density) variables were analysed as potential drivers of differential parasitism between expanded- and historical-range populations. Results: Compared with historical-range whelks, expanded-range whelks were 20% as likely to be infected by parasites, and those that were infected had 6% the number of individual parasites. On average, expanded-range whelks had 14% the number of parasite species than the historical-range whelks. The marked decrease in species richness of parasites infecting expanded-range whelks was only partly explained by the low numbers of parasites. The reduced parasite abundance and diversity in the expanded-range whelks was not explained by the examined abiotic factors or by whelk density. Main conclusions: Expanded-range populations of Kellet's whelk experience substantially lower parasite abundance and diversity than the historical-range populations, despite relatively poor demographic performance. The reduced parasitism observed resembles the enemy escape typically characterizing invasive species. A possible explanation for the observed 'parasite escape' is that the biogeographical boundary limits the movements or drives the low abundance of other host species (elasmobranchs) required to complete the life cycles of the 'missing' parasites. We suggest that parasite escape may generally characterize range-margin expansions and be important in permitting expansions into what may otherwise be marginal habitats. This parasite escape may directly counter the spread of infectious diseases associated with global warming-induced range shifts. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

Lorda J.,University of California at Santa Barbara | Lorda J.,Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve | Hechinger R.F.,University of California at Santa Barbara | Hechinger R.F.,University of California at San Diego | And 4 more authors.
Ecosphere | Year: 2016

The California horn snail, Cerithideopsis californica, and the shore crabs, Pachygrapsus crassipes and Hemigrapsus oregonensis, compete for epibenthic microalgae, but the crabs also eat snails. Such intraguild predation is common in nature, despite models predicting instability. Using a series of manipulations and field surveys, we examined intraguild predation from several angles, including the effects of stage-dependent predation along with direct consumptive and nonconsumptive predator effects on intraguild prey. In the laboratory, we found that crabs fed on macroalgae, snail eggs, and snails, and the size of consumed snails increased with predator crab size. In field experiments, snails grew less in the presence of crabs partially because snails behaved differently and were buried in the sediment (nonconsumptive effects). Consistent with these results, crab and snail abundances were negatively correlated in three field surveys conducted at three different spatial scales in estuaries of California, Baja California, and Baja California Sur: (1) among 61 sites spanning multiple habitat types in three estuaries, (2) among the habitats of 13 estuaries, and (3) among 34 tidal creek sites in one estuary. These results indicate that shore crabs are intraguild predators on California horn snails that affect snail populations via predation and by influencing snail behavior and performance. © 2016 Lorda et al. Source

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