The first reports of diatoms growing on marine mammals date back to the early 1900s. However, only recently has direct evidence been provided for similar associations between diatoms and sea turtles. We present a comparison of diatom communities inhabiting carapaces of green turtles Chelonia mydas sampled at two remote sites located within the Indian (Iran) and Atlantic (Costa Rica) Ocean basins. Diatom observations and counts were carried out using scanning electron microscopy. Techniques involving Critical Point Drying enabled observations of diatoms and other microepibionts still attached to turtle carapace and revealed specific aspects of the epizoic community structure. Species-poor, well-developed diatom communities were found on all examined turtles. Significant differences between the two host turtle populations were observed in terms of diatom abundance and their community structure (including growth form structure). A total of 12 and 22 diatom taxa were found from turtles in Iran and Costa Rica respectively, and eight of these species belonging to Amphora, Chelonicola, Cocconeis, Navicula, Nitzschia, and Poulinea genera were observed in samples from both locations. Potential mechanisms of diatom dispersal and the influence of external environment, turtle behaviour, its life stage, and foraging and breeding habitats, as well as epibiotic bacterial flora on epizoic communities are discussed.
|Titolo:||Shared Epizoic Taxa and Differences in Diatom Community Structure Between Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas) from Distant Habitats|
|Autori interni:||DE STEFANO, Mario|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2017|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|