Spatial niche partitioning in epibiont rotifers on the waterlouse Asellus aquaticus

Fontaneto, Diego, and Roberto Ambrosini

Limnol. Oceanogr., 55(3), 2010, 1327-1337 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2010.55.3.1327

ABSTRACT: Habitat partitioning is assumed to allow coexistence in natural communities. We analyzed the spatial partitioning in the species assemblages of epibiont rotifers living on the waterlouse Asellus aquaticus. We defined the spatial localization of individual rotifers on each waterlouse host, controlling for differences between waterlice and within and between waterbodies. Using hierarchical linear models on the whole species assemblage and on each species separately, patterns of spatial segregation were found for rotifers. Different species partition the available space on the waterlouse consistently within and between waterbodies. Both habitat selection and interactions between species seem to be the mechanisms driving the observed patterns.

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