Salinity gradient shapes distance decay of similarity among parasite communities in three marine fishes
Published data were used to compare the distance decay of similarity in parasite communities of three marine fish hosts: Atlantic cod Gadus morhua, the dab Limanda limanda and the flounder Platichthys flesus in two adjacent areas that differ with respect to the strength of a salinity gradient. In the Baltic Sea, which exhibits a strong salinity gradient from its connection with the North Sea in the west to its head in the north-east, parasite communities in all three fish hosts showed a significant decline of similarity with increasing distance. In contrast, among host populations in the North Sea, which is a fully marine environment, there was no such decline or only a weak relationship. The results suggest that environmental gradients like salinity can be strong driving forces behind patterns of distance decay in parasite communities of fishes.
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Document Type: Regular Paper
Publication date: 01 May 2010