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  1. Intraspecific variation in host susceptibility to individual parasite species is common, yet how these effects scale to mediate the structure of diverse parasite communities in nature is less well understood. To address this knowledge gap, we tested how host genetic identity affects parasite communities on restored reefs seeded with juvenile oysters from different sources—a regional commercial hatchery or one of two wild progenitor lines. We assessed prevalence and intensity of three micro- and two macroparasite species for 4 years following restoration. Despite the spatial proximity of restored reefs, oyster source identity strongly predicted parasite community prevalence across all years, with sources varying in their relative susceptibility to different parasites. Oyster seed source also predicted reef-level parasite intensities across space and through time. Our results highlight that host intraspecific variation can shape parasite community structure in natural systems, and reinforce the importance of considering source identity and diversity in restoration design.

     
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  4. Abstract

    Nutrient enrichment impacts ecosystems globally. Population history, especially past resource environments, of numerically dominant plant species may affect their responses to subsequent changes in nutrient availability. Eutrophication can also alter plant–microbe interactions via direct effects on associated microbial communities or indirect effects on dominant species’ biomass production/allocation as a result of modified plant–soil interactions.

    We combined a greenhouse common garden and a field reciprocal transplant of a salt marsh foundation species (Spartina alterniflora) within a long‐term, whole‐ecosystem, nutrient‐enrichment study to determine whether enrichment affects plant production and microbial community structure differently depending on plant population history. For the greenhouse portion, we collected 20S. alternifloragenotypes—10 from an enriched creek that had received elevated nutrient inputs for 10 years and 10 from an unenriched reference creek—and reared them in a common garden for 1 year. For the field portion, we conducted a 2‐year, fully crossed reciprocal transplant experiment with two gardens each at the enriched and unenriched sites; we examined the effects of source site (i.e. population history), garden site and plant genotype.

    After 2 years, plants in enriched gardens had higher above‐ground biomass and altered below‐ground allocation compared to plants in unenriched gardens. However, performance also depended on plant population history: plants from the enriched site had decreased above‐ground and rhizome production compared to plants from the unenriched site, most notably in unenriched gardens. In addition, almost all above‐ and below‐ground traits varied depending on plant genotypic identity.

    Effects of nutrient enrichment on the associated microbial community were also pronounced. Following 1 year in common garden, microbial community structure varied by plant population history andS. alternifloragenotypic identity. However, at the end of the reciprocal transplant, microbial communities differed primarily between enriched and unenriched gardens.

    Synthesis. Nutrient enrichment can impact plant foundation species and associated soil microbes in the short term. Most importantly, nutrient enrichment can also have long‐lasting effects on plant populations and associated microbial communities that potentially compromise their ability to respond to changing resource conditions in the future.

     
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    The global distribution of primary production and consumption by humans (fisheries) is well-documented, but we have no map linking the central ecological process of consumption within food webs to temperature and other ecological drivers. Using standardized assays that span 105° of latitude on four continents, we show that rates of bait consumption by generalist predators in shallow marine ecosystems are tightly linked to both temperature and the composition of consumer assemblages. Unexpectedly, rates of consumption peaked at midlatitudes (25 to 35°) in both Northern and Southern Hemispheres across both seagrass and unvegetated sediment habitats. This pattern contrasts with terrestrial systems, where biotic interactions reportedly weaken away from the equator, but it parallels an emerging pattern of a subtropical peak in marine biodiversity. The higher consumption at midlatitudes was closely related to the type of consumers present, which explained rates of consumption better than consumer density, biomass, species diversity, or habitat. Indeed, the apparent effect of temperature on consumption was mostly driven by temperature-associated turnover in consumer community composition. Our findings reinforce the key influence of climate warming on altered species composition and highlight its implications for the functioning of Earth’s ecosystems. 
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  6. Abstract

    The importance of intraspecific variation has emerged as a key question in community ecology, helping to bridge the gap between ecology and evolution. Although much of this work has focused on plant species, recent syntheses have highlighted the prevalence and potential importance of morphological, behavioral, and life history variation within animals for ecological and evolutionary processes. Many small‐bodied consumers live on the plant that they consume, often resulting in host plant‐associated trait variation within and across consumer species. Given the central position of consumer species within tritrophic food webs, such consumer trait variation may play a particularly important role in mediating trophic dynamics, including trophic cascades. In this study, we used a series of field surveys and laboratory experiments to document intraspecific trait variation in a key consumer species, the marsh periwinkleLittoraria irrorata, based on its host plant species (Spartina alternifloraorJuncus roemerianus) in a mixed species assemblage. We then conducted a 12‐week mesocosm experiment to examine the effects ofLittorariatrait variation on plant community structure and dynamics in a tritrophic salt marsh food web.Littorariafrom different host plant species varied across a suite of morphological and behavioral traits. These consumer trait differences interacted with plant community composition and predator presence to affect overall plant stem height, as well as differentially alter the density and biomass of the two key plant species in this system. Whether due to genetic differences or phenotypic plasticity, trait differences between consumer types had significant ecological consequences for the tritrophic marsh food web over seasonal time scales. By altering the cascading effects of the top predator on plant community structure and dynamics, consumer differences may generate a feedback over longer time scales, which in turn influences the degree of trait divergence in subsequent consumer populations.

     
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