Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 865–877 | Cite as

Multiscale Diversity in the Marshes of the Georgia Coastal Ecosystems LTER

  • John D. RobinsonEmail author
  • Edgardo Diaz-Ferguson
  • Monica F. Poelchau
  • Steven Pennings
  • Thomas Dale Bishop
  • John Wares


Factors that maintain genetic and species diversity may act in concert in natural ecosystems. Here, we investigate correlations between genetic diversity (in eight salt marsh species) and community species diversity. A significant positive correlation existed between genetic diversity and species richness, although the relationship was not significant for any species individually. Nonetheless, four of the eight comparisons showed strong positive relationships between genetic and species diversity. Additionally, several abiotic variables were used in a model selection procedure to determine what site-level characteristics might drive differences in genetic diversity in this system. The rate of larval influx, as measured by barnacle abundance on Spartina alterniflora, was the strongest predictor of site-level genetic diversity in our samples. Our results suggest that estuarine management efforts should consider recruitment rates when selecting areas for protection.


Genetic diversity Species–genetic diversity correlation SGDC Salt marsh GCE-LTER Settlement rate 



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant numbers OCE-9982133 and OCE-0620959. Additional funding was provided by the University of Georgia and the National Geographic Society (NGS grant #8351-07). Thanks to R. Miller, M. Cozad, D. Saucedo, M. S. Pankey, the GCE-LTER Schoolyard program, and field researchers at the University of Georgia Marine Institute (UGAMI) for help with field collections. D. Patel helped with DNA amplification and sequencing. Special thanks to T. Bell, S. Small, and C. Zakas for help in the lab and comments on the manuscript. K. F. Robinson was a great help in data analysis and also provided comments on the paper. Additional helpful comments were graciously provided by two anonymous reviewers. This is a contribution of the Georgia Coastal Ecosystems Long-Term Ecological Research program, and contribution number 985 of the University of Georgia Marine Institute.

Supplementary material

12237_2009_9188_MOESM1_ESM.doc (32 kb)
Supplementary Table 1 PCR conditions and primer sequences modified from Sloop et al. 2006. (DOC 31 kb)
12237_2009_9188_MOESM2_ESM.doc (32 kb)
Supplementary Table 2 Observed (H o) and expected (H e) heterozygosity, the inbreeding coefficient (F), the multilocus probability of identity (PI), and Simpson’s index (D) for sites where S. alterniflora was sampled for genetic diversity. (DOC 31 kb)


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Copyright information

© Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • John D. Robinson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Edgardo Diaz-Ferguson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Monica F. Poelchau
    • 1
  • Steven Pennings
    • 3
  • Thomas Dale Bishop
    • 4
  • John Wares
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeneticsUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biology and BiochemistryUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Marine SciencesUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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