James Byers

James Byers
University of Georgia | UGA · Odum School of Ecology

Ph.D. Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology

About

173
Publications
70,096
Reads
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12,734
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Introduction
James Byers currently works at the Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia. James does research in Ecology, Marine Biology and Parasitology. Their most recent publication is 'Host and parasite thermal ecology jointly determine the effect of climate warming on epidemic dynamics'.
Additional affiliations
March 2017 - June 2017
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Position
  • Researcher
August 2008 - present
University of Georgia
Position
  • Professor (Full)
August 2007 - May 2008
University of Wollongong
Position
  • Sabbatical Researcher

Publications

Publications (173)
Article
Ecosystem engineers (EEs) strongly influence ecosystems by affecting the abiotic properties of a system to which many biota respond. EEs can thus be pivotal species in restoration by helping to move systems toward desired states much faster and more efficiently than direct human intervention on the abiotic state. For EEs to play a central, purposef...
Article
1. Climate change causes both chronic and pulsed environmental changes to ecosystems. In estuaries, tidal freshwater marshes experience both extended and episodic periods of elevated salinities due to sea level rise, reduced river discharge during drought, and storm surge, but most research has focused on extended (press) perturbations. 2. Over a f...
Preprint
Parasites are often distributed heterogeneously across host populations, but the controls of this heterogeneity across regional scales often remain unclear. Here, we test the relative importance of natural and anthropogenic environmental factors and biological attributes of host populations on the large-scale variability in infection probability an...
Article
Parasites are often distributed heterogeneously across host populations, but the controls of this heterogeneity across regional scales often remain unclear. Here, we test the relative importance of natural and anthropogenic environmental factors and biological attributes of host populations on the large-scale variability in infection probability an...
Article
Examining community responses to habitat configuration across scales informs basic and applied models of ecosystem function. Responses to patch-scale edge effects (i.e., ecological differences between patch edges and interiors) are hypothesized to underpin the effects of landscape-scale fragmentation (i.e., mosaics of multi-patch habitat and matrix...
Article
Ecosystem engineers physically alter the environment, but their effects vary with abiotic context. Such context-dependent alteration can influence other species, including establishing recruits. In Florida, mangroves are expanding northward with warming climate and replacing salt marshes. We examined how structural traits of marsh and mangrove vege...
Article
Single‐gene markers, such as the mitochondrial cox1, microsatellites, and single nucleotide polymorphisms are powerful methods to describe diversity within and among taxonomic groups and characterize phylogeographic patterns. Large repositories of publicly‐available, molecular data can be combined to generate and evaluate evolutionary hypotheses fo...
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Human‐altered shorelines make up approximately 14% of the coastline in the United States, with consequences for marsh ecosystems ranging from altered physical and biological variables, to direct loss of intertidal marsh habitat, to diminished land–sea connectivity. Trophically transmitted parasites that require connectivity between upland host spec...
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Aim: To investigate some of the environmental variables underpinning the past and present distribution of an ecosystem engineer near its poleward range edge. Location: >500 locations spanning >7,400 km around Ireland. Results: Through plotting 981 records of presence and absence, we revealed a discontinuous distribution with discretely bounded sub...
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1. Resident species can facilitate invading species (biotic assistance) or inhibit their expansion (biotic resistance). Species interactions are often context‐dependent and the relative importance of biotic assistance versus resistance could vary with abiotic conditions or the life stage of the invading species, as invader stress tolerances and res...
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Climate change affects ecological processes and interactions, including parasitism. Because parasites are natural components of ecological systems, as well as agents of outbreak and disease-induced mortality, it is important to summarize current knowledge of the sensitivity of parasites to climate and identify how to better predict their responses...
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Primer reporte de forrajeo sobre el chanchito de mar (Emerita analoga) por perros (Canis lupus familiaris) en la costa de Valdivia, Chile First report of foraging behaviour on Pacific molecrabs (Emerita analoga) by dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) on the coast of Valdivia, Chile RESUMEN Perros domésticos son reportados forrajeando sobre el "chanchito...
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Domestic dogs are reported foraging on molecrabs Emerita analoga on Curiñanco beach, Valdivia, Chile. Preying on these crabs represents a potential health risk for the dogs, because E. analoga is the intermediate host of larvae of the acanthocephalan Profilicollis altmani, which uses shorebirds as definitive hosts, but also have been documented to...
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Information on parasites and disease in marine ecosystems lags behind terrestrial systems, increasing the challenge of predicting responses of marine host–parasite systems to climate change. However, here I examine several generalizable aspects and research priorities. First, I advocate that quantification and comparison of host and parasite therma...
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When prey alter behavioral or morphological traits to reduce predation risk, they often incur fitness costs through reduced growth and reproduction as well as increased mortality that are known as nonconsumptive effects (NCEs). Environmental context and trophic structure can individually alter the strength of NCEs, yet the interactive influence of...
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The distance travelled by marine larvae varies by seven orders of magnitude. Dispersal shapes marine biodiversity, and must be understood if marine systems are to be well managed. Because warmer temperatures quicken larval development, larval durations might be systematically shorter in the tropics relative to those at high latitudes. Nevertheless,...
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Disturbances often have positive, direct effects on invasions by dispersing propagules or creating environmental conditions that favor invasive species. However, disturbances that alter interactions between resident and invading species could also affect invasion success. In northeast Florida, the black mangrove Avicennia germinans is expanding int...
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When non-native primary producers become successful, the structure and function of native detrital food webs can be fundamentally altered. Salt marsh estuaries of the southeastern USA are in part detritus-based ecosystems and rely on the annual production of detritus from a single native species, the smooth cordgrass Spartina alterniflora . Over th...
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Understanding the drivers of biodiversity is important for forecasting changes in the distribution of life on earth. However, most studies of biodiversity are limited by uneven sampling effort, with some regions or taxa better sampled than others. Numerous methods have been developed to account for differences in sampling effort, but most methods w...
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Boom-bust dynamics of invasive species have long intrigued scientists and managers alike, but quantification of such dynamics, let alone their causes, is rare. We documented the decline of a previously prolific invasive mudsnail, Batillaria attramentaria, at Elkhorn Slough estuary in central California, USA. The mudsnail was the most abundant epibe...
Article
Parasites can kill hosts directly, but also indirectly, by enhancing susceptibility to environmental factors and biotic interactions. In the United States South Atlantic Bight region of the northwest Atlantic Ocean, white shrimp (Penaeus setiferus) support a substantial commercial fishery and are also valuable prey for many marine and estuarine spe...
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Increasing temperatures associated with climate change are shifting plant species to higher latitudes. Soil communities could aid the plants’ shift into novel areas by harbouring fewer soil‐borne antagonists or more mutualists that influence the fitness and stress tolerance of the shifting species. Alternatively, they could contain novel antagonist...
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Although species interactions are often assumed to be strongest at small spatial scales, they can interact with regional environmental factors to modify food web dynamics across biogeographic scales. The Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) is a widespread foundational species of both ecological and economic importance. The oyster and its associa...
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Climate‐driven range shifts of foundation species could alter ecosystem processes and community composition by providing different resources than resident foundation species. Along the US Atlantic coast, the northward expanding foundation species, black mangrove Avicennia germinans, is replacing the dominant salt marsh foundation species, marsh cor...
Article
The rapid growth of the aquaculture industry to meet global seafood demand offers both risks and opportunities for resource management and conservation. In particular, hatcheries hold promise for stock enhancement and restoration, yet cultivation practices may lead to enhanced variation between populations at the expense of variation within populat...
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Free-living species vary substantially in the extent of their spatial distributions. However, distributions of parasitic species have not been comprehensively compared in this context. We investigated which factors most influence the geographical extent of mammal parasites. Using the Global Mammal Parasite Database we analysed 17 818 individual geo...
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• Many communities are shifting composition, with losses of native species and increases of non‐indigenous species (NIS). At its extreme, such alteration of ecological guilds can result in simplification with a single NIS performing an ecological role once carried out by a suite of natives. This alteration has occurred in many rivers of the south‐e...
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The article Effects of Small-Scale Armoring and Residential Development on the Salt Marsh-Upland Ecotone.
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The article Generalizing Ecological Effects of Shoreline Armoring Across Soft Sediment Environments.
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Since at least the 1980s, ecologists have argued that restoring ecosystem functioning in highly degraded areas is the “acid test” for ecological understanding (Bradshaw 1987). Ecosystem engineers and foundational species are often considered pivotal in the restoration of degraded areas (Suding et al. 2004; Byers et al. 2006), as by definition, they...
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Biotic resistance by native predators can limit the geographic range and abundance of non-native species following introduction into an ecosystem. Here we tested the hypothesis that the strength of predation pressure varies with latitude and limits the abundance and northward expansion of the non-native green porcelain crab, Petrolisthes armatus, w...
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Escaping the control of natural enemies is thought to heavily influence the establishment success and impact of non-native species. Here we examined how the profitability of alternative prey in combination with the presence of a competitor and predator aggressive behavior explain individual differences in diet specialization and the consumption of...
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Invasive ecosystem engineers both positively and negatively affect their recipient ecosystems by generating novel habitats. Many studies have focused on alterations to ecosystem properties and to native species diversity and abundance caused by invasive engineers. However, relatively few studies have documented the extent to which behaviors of nati...
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Interactions with resident species can affect the rate that expanding species invade novel areas. These interactions can be antagonistic (biotic resistance), where resident species hinder invasive establishment, or facilitative (biotic assistance), where residents promote invasive establishment. The predominance of resistance or assistance could va...
Article
Ecosystem engineers are predicted to have stronger facilitative effects when environmental stress is higher. Here we examined whether facilitation of the invasive porcelain crab Petrolisthes elongatus by the ecosystem engineering serpulid tube worm Galeolaria caespitosa increased with wave exposure. Petrolisthes occurs beneath intertidal boulders w...
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Background Changes in climate are predicted to influence parasite and pathogen infection patterns in terrestrial and marine environments. Increases in temperature in particular may greatly alter biological processes, such as host-parasite interactions. For example, parasites could differentially benefit from increased reproduction and transmission...
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Host-parasite systems have intricately coupled life cycles, but each interactor can respond differently to changes in environmental variables like temperature. Although vital to predicting how parasitism will respond to climate change, thermal responses of both host and parasite in key traits affecting infection dynamics have rarely been quantified...
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Established populations of introduced Pomacea maculata, a highly fecund, large species of apple snail native to South America, now occur throughout southeast Asia, in Spain and extensively across the southern United States. Substantial research on non-native apple snails takes place in Southeast Asia and has frequently identified apple snails as P....
Article
Risk of infection by parasites can be driven by environmental heterogeneity, often at small scales. We quantified the effect of tidal elevation on infection patterns of two lethal parasites, Perkinsus marinus and Haplosporidium nelsoni, in an important coastal species, the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica. Within the southeastern US, oysters i...
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Although cascading effects of top predators can help structure communities, their influence may vary across habitats that differentially protect prey. Therefore, to understand how and to what degree habitat complexity can affect trophic interactions in adjacent habitats, we used a combination of a broad regional-scale survey, manipulative field tri...
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Small-scale armoring placed near the marsh-upland interface to protect single-family homes is widespread but understudied. Using a nested, spatially blocked sampling design on the coast of Georgia, USA, we compared the biota and environmental characteristics of 60 marshes adjacent to either a bulkhead, a residential backyard with no armoring, or an...
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Despite its widespread use, the ecological effects of shoreline armoring are poorly synthesized and difficult to generalize across soft sediment environments and structure types. We developed a conceptual model that scales predicted ecological effects of shore-parallel armoring based on two axes: engineering purpose of structure (reduce/slow veloci...
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Non-native species that escape their native range parasites may benefit not only from reduced infection pathology, but also from relaxed selection on costly immune defenses, promoting reallocation of resources towards growth or reproduction. However, benefits accruing from a reduction in defense could come at the cost of increased infection suscept...
Article
Many species create biogenic habitat that may vary in quality depending on its attributes. This variation may in turn affect species interactions among members of the attendant community. We describe a habitat-provisioning species that, with variation in a simple trait, produces two dichotomous classes of habitat: one that serves as a predation ref...
Article
The identification of native sources and vectors of introduced species informs their ecological and evolutionary history and may guide policies that seek to prevent future introductions. Population genetics provides a powerful set of tools to identify origins and vectors. However, these tools can mislead when the native range is poorly sampled or f...
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Parasites often alter host physiology and behavior, which can enhance predation risk for infected hosts. Higher consumption of parasitized prey can in turn lead to a less parasitized prey population (the healthy herd hypothesis). Loxothylacus panopaei is a non-native castrating barnacle parasite on the mud crab Eurypanopeus depressus along the Atla...
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Dispersal of many coastal marine species is mediated by flows with strong directionality; bathymetric and topographic effects lead to strong alongshore variability in this transport. Using a simple model of the population dynamics of competing benthic species in a coastal ocean, we found that alongshore variability in dispersal can lead to clusteri...
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Illuminating the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of parasites is one of the most pressing issues facing modern science, and is critical for basic science, the global economy and human health. Extremely important to this effort are data on the disease-causing organisms of wild animal hosts (including viruses, bacteria, protozoa, helminths, arth...
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Not all hosts, communities or environments are equally hospitable for parasites. Direct and indirect interactions between parasites and their predators, competitors and the environment can influence variability in host exposure, susceptibility and subsequent infection, and these influences may vary across spatial scales. To determine the relative i...
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Functional trait variation within and across populations can strongly influence population, community, and ecosystem processes, but the relative contributions of genetic vs. environmental factors to this variation are often not clear, potentially complicating conservation and restoration efforts. For example, local adaptation, a particular type of...
Preprint
The source and vector of an introduced species inform its ecological and evolutionary history and may guide management that seeks to prevent future introductions. Surprisingly, few studies have successfully used genetic tools to independently inform the specific source and pathway of biological invasions. The ecological history of many introduced s...
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Impacts of invasive species on ecosystems are often context dependent, making empirical assessments difficult when climatic baselines are shifting and extreme events are becoming more common. We documented a mass mortality event of the Asian clam, Corbicula fluminea, an abundant invasive clam, which has replaced native mussels as the dominant filte...
Article
Baker's Law predicts uniparental reproduction will facilitate colonization success in novel habitats. While evidence supports this prediction among colonizing plants and animals, few studies have investigated shifts in reproductive mode in haplo-diplontic species in which both prolonged haploid and diploid stages separate meiosis and fertilization...
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Movement of individuals links the effects of local variation in habitat quality with growth and persistence of populations at the landscape scale. When the populations themselves are linked by interspecifc interactions, such as predation, differential movement between habitats may lead to counterintuitive system-wide dynamics. Understanding the int...
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Identifying drivers of infectious disease patterns and impacts at the broadest scales of organisation is one of the most crucial challenges for modern science, yet answers to many fundamental questions remain elusive. These include what factors commonly facilitate transmission of pathogens to novel host species, what drives variation in immune inve...
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Dispersal and adaptation are the two primary mechanisms that set the range distributions for a population or species. As such, understanding how these mechanisms interact in marine organisms in particular – with capacity for long-range dispersal and a poor understanding of what selective environments species are responding to – can provide useful i...
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Parasites can impart heavy fitness costs on their hosts. Thus, understanding the spatial and temporal consistency in parasite pressure can elucidate the likeliness of parasites’ role as agents of directional selection, as well as revealing variable environmental factors associated with infection risk. We examined spatiotemporal variation in digenet...
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The likelihood of invasion success increases when non-native species engage in mutualisms with a native or non-native species. Mutualisms formed between native and non-native species have been termed “novel mutualisms” and research in terrestrial systems has advanced our understanding of the ecological processes involved in their formation and pers...