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To Be or Not to Be

The density of marine organisms varies tremendously among and within habitats, leading to very different communities. GCE scientists combined ecological approaches with modern genetic analyses to reveal how abundance and genetic diversity of larvae vary from inland to offshore, with important implications for populations of snails, barnacles, and other organisms.

Díaz-Ferguson, E., J. Robinson, B. Silliman, and J. P. Wares. 2009. Comparative Phylogeography of East Coast American Salt Marsh Communities. Estuaries & Coasts, DOI 10.1007/s12237-009-9220-6.
Robinson, J., E. Díaz-Ferguson, M. Poelchau, D. Bishop, S. Pennings, and J. P. Wares. 2009. Spatial variation of genetic and biotic diversity in the salt marsh ecosystem. Estuaries & Coasts, DOI 10.1007/s12237-009-9188-2.ssemblage. ISME Journal. (in press)
Picture of recruitment sampling at the GCE-LTER site. PVC pipes are used to sample barnacles, caged canisters filled with dead oyster shells (above right) to samples crabs and oysters, and caged, potted Spartina plants to sample snails. Inset: some of the dominant organisms that are monitored: littorine snails, crabs and acorn barnacles.
Pictures provided by James Nifong, Christine Holdredge and Brian Silliman
Comparison of the density of adult snails (top), the rate of recruitment of snail larvae to the adult population (middle) and the predation rate (bottom) for a gradient of marsh sites from the mainland out to the barrier islands. Grey bars are for measurements in the higher elevations of the marsh (short Spartina zone) where predation rates are low; black bars are for measurements at the creekbank (tall Spartina zone) where predation rates are high. Bars represent means and error bars +/- one standard deviation.
Data from Silliman, B.R., C. Holdredge, J. NIfong, M. Hensel, and S. von Monfrans. In prep. The Supply-side of salt marsh ecology: predicting large-scale population and community level patterns. Target journal: Ecology.



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