Host habitat patchiness and the distance decay of similarity among gastro-intestinal nematode communities in two species of Mastomys (southeastern Senegal)
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- Brouat, C. & Duplantier, JM. Oecologia (2007) 152: 715. doi:10.1007/s00442-007-0680-8
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Beta-diversity, or how species composition changes with geographical distance, has seldom been studied for different habitats. We present here quantitative estimates of the relationship between geographic distance and similarity of parasitic nematode communities in two closely related rodent host species that live in habitats with very different spatial configurations. In southeastern Senegal Mastomys natalensis lives exclusively inside human villages whereas M. erythroleucus is continuously distributed outside villages. Both host species and their gastro-intestinal nematodes were sampled on the same spatial scale. Beta-diversity was found to be higher in parasite communities of M. erythroleucus than in those of M. natalensis, and significantly related to geographic distance in this first species. Even on the local spatial scale studied, host dispersal limitation, and stochastic events, may affect species turnover in nematode communities of M. erythroleucus. In M. natalensis, no relationship was found between geographic distance and nematode community similarity, however, suggesting low host dispersal rates between habitat patches. Together with previous population genetic results, this study illustrates the need for different approaches with regard to dispersal in natural populations and its effect on biodiversity.