School of Forest Resources, University of Florida
Personal webpage: poetsworm.com
I am a community ecologist, with a symbiosis addiction. I chase the ecological and evolutionary processes that simultaneously create and constrain biological diversity in multi-host and multi-symbiont assemblages. Most complex organisms serve as hosts to diverse communities of internal and external symbionts which include disease causing pathogens, resource stealing parasites, and beneficial mutualists. Because individual hosts typically have many interacting symbionts, and individual symbionts are typically capable of exploiting multiple hosts, conventional pairwise frameworks do little to explain real patterns of symbiont diversity and the evolution of symbiosis. By thinking of hosts as patches in an otherwise hostile landscape, I adapt established multi-scale conceptual frameworks from more general ecological fields to unravel complex symbiont dynamics and provide a more realistic and profound understanding of contemporary patterns in symbiont diversity and their ultimate evolutionary drivers. But there is a twist; unlike the inanimate habitat patches that comprise the traditional conceptualization of landscapes, host populations and communities have their own ecology, evolution, and co-evolutionary histories. This contrast provides an opportunity to test the generality of existing ecological theory and provides insight to the peculiarities of the ubiquitous symbiotic life-style.
Other interests include; Metacommunity Theory, stream ecology, animal orientation and magnetic sensing, and multivariate analysis and generalized linear modeling of ecological data.
- Niche partitioning and character displacement in the evolution of symbiont diversity
- Expanding Metacommunity Theory to understand multi-scale patterns of symbiont diversity
- Condition-dependent symbiont dispersal strategies to explain variable transmission dynamics
- Symbiont manipulation of host magnetically structured spatial behavior
- Multi-scale drivers of diversity in the crayfish microbiome
- Effects of intensive landscape management for an endangered species on community structure
- Woodpecker influences on fungal succession in living trees
- Directional orientation of woodpecker cavities as an adaptive extended phenotype
Short Bio & Education
- 2015 – present: Postdoc research associate, School of Forest Resources, University of Florida, with Jiri Hulcr
- 2015 – present: Research associate, Dept. of Biological Science, Virginia Tech, with Jeffery R. Walters
- 2015: Ph.D. in Ecology, Dept. of Biological Sciences, Virginia Tech, with Bryan L. Brown
- 2009: M.S. in Ecology, Dept. of Biology, Northern Michigan University, with Mac Strand
- 2005: B.S in Zoology, Dept. of Biology, Northern Michigan University
Skelton, J., K. M. Geyer, J. T. Lenon, R. P. Creed, and B. L. Brown. Multi-scale ecological filters shape the crayfish microbiome. PeerJ preprint. link
Skelton, J. S, R. P Creed, L. Landler, K. M. Geyer, and B. L Brown. Geographic patterns of crayfish symbiont diversity persist over half a century despite seasonal fluctuations. Freshwater Crayfish. under review.
Skelton, J., S. Doak*, M. Leonard*, R. P. Creed, and B. L. Brown. 2016. The rules for symbiont community assembly change along a mutualism–parasitism continuum. Journal of Animal Ecology http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2656.12498/pdf. link.
Luther, D., J. Skelton, C. Fernandez, and J. R. Walters. 2016. Conservation action implementation, funding, and population trends of birds listed on the Endangered Species Act. Biological Conservation 197, 229 – 234. link.
Thomas, M. J., R. P. Creed, J. Skelton, and B. L. Brown. 2016. Ontogenetic shifts and symbiont succession in a freshwater cleaning symbiosis mutualism. Ecology 97(6); 1507 – 1517.
Johnson, A. J., P. E. Kendra, J. Skelton, and J. Hulcr. 2016. Species diversity, phenology, and temporal flight patterns of Hypothenemus pygmy borers (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae) in South Florida. Environmental Entomology. Accepted – in press.
Bateman, C., M. Sigut, J. Skelton, K. Smith, and J. Hulcr. 2016. Fungal symbionts of the black twig borer, Xylosandrus compactus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae) are spatially segregated on the insect body. Environmental Entomology. Accepted – in press.
Skelton, J., R. P. Creed, and B. L. Brown. A symbiont’s dispersal strategy: Condition-dependent dispersal underlies predictable variation in direct transmission among hosts. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 282; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.2081.
Tornwall, B., E. Sokol, J. Skelton, and B. L. Brown. 2015. Trends in biodiversity research since the River Continuum Concept. Diversity 7, 16-35; doi:10.3390/d7010016.
Landler, L., M. A. Jusino, J. Skelton, and J. R. Walters. 2015. Global trends in woodpecker cavity entrance orientation: Latitudinal and continental effects suggest regional climate influence. Acta Ornithologica 49(2), pp 257-266.
Skelton, J., R. P. Creed, and B. L. Brown. 2014. Ontogenetic shift in host tolerance controls initiation of a cleaning symbiosis. Oikos 123(6), pp 677-686.
Skelton, J., K. J. Farrell, R. P. Creed, B. W. Williams, B. Helms, J. Stoekel, and B. L. Brown. 2013. Servants, scoundrels, and hitchhikers: current understanding of the complex interactions between crayfish and their ectosymbiotic worms (Branchiobdellida). Freshwater Science 32(4), pp 1345-1357.
Brown, B. L., R. P. Creed, J. Skelton, M. A. Rollins, and K. J. Farrell. 2012. The fine line between mutualism and parasitism: Complex effects in a cleaning symbiosis demonstrated by multiple field experiments. Oecologia 170(1):199-207.
Skelton, J., and M. Strand. 2012. Trophic ecology of a freshwater sponge (Spongilla lacustris) revealed by stable isotope analysis. Hydrobiologia 709(1):227-235.
Landler, L., J. Skelton, M. S. Painter, P. W. Youmans, R. Muheim, R. P. Creed, B. L. Brown, and J. B. Phillips. Ectosymbionts alter spontaneous responses to the Earth’s magnetic field in crustaceans. Under revisions.
Why are there so many kinds of animals… living on animals?; Skelton, J.; Dissertation defense seminar given February 27, 2015 at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg VA.
Size matters and location is everything: Competition and prudent dispersal explain transmission in a freshwater cleaning symbiosis; J. Skelton, S. Doak, R. P. Creed, and B. L. Brown; Talk presented at the Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting, Portland, OR, May 20, 2014
Slipping past the doorman: Host control shapes succession-like patterns in ectosymbiont assemblages; Skelton, J., Creed, R. P., and Brown, B. L.; Talk presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America, Minneapolis, MN, August 5, 2013.
Ontogeny of a cleaning symbiosis: Age-specific controls examined from both sides; Skelton, J., Creed, R. P., and Brown, B. L.; Poster presented at the 2013 Society for Freshwater Science Annual Meeting; Jacksonville, FL, May 21, 2013.
Partner Control and Ontogenetic Shifts in a Cleaning Symbiosis Involving Crayfish; Skelton, J., Brown, B. L., and R. P. Creed; Presented at the 2012 Summer Meeting of the Society for Freshwater Science, Louisville KY, May 21, 2012.
Ectosymbionts of Crayfish Influence Benthic Community Structure and Ecosystem Properties; Brown, B. L., Creed, R. P., and Skelton, J. Presented at the 2012 Summer Meeting of the Society for Freshwater Science, Louisville KY, May 21, 2012.
Partner Control and Ontogenetic Shifts in a Cleaning Symbiosis Involving Crayfish; Skelton, J., Brown, B. L., and R. P. Creed; Presented at 2012 Virginia Tech Department of Biological Sciences Research Day, Blacksburg, VA, February 25, 2012.
Variable Outcomes in the Cleaning Symbiosis between Crayfish and Branchiobdellid Annelids; Skelton, J., Brown, B. L., and R. P. Creed; Presented at the 2011 Summer Meeting of the North American Benthological Society, Providence RI, May 25, 2011.
Symbiont Abundance and Variable Outcomes in an Aquatic Cleaning Symbiosis; Skelton, J., Brown, B. L., and R. P. Creed; Presented at Southeast Ecology and Evolution Conference 2011, Auburn University, March 26, 2011 and Natural Resources Student Research Symposium, Clemson University, April 22, 2011.
Evaluation of the Trophic Ecology of a Freshwater Sponge and Two Sponge-predators via Stable Isotope Analysis; Skelton, J. and M. Strand; Presented at 2010 Summer Joint Meeting of the North American Benthological Society and American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, Santa Fe, NM, June 10, 2010.
Trophic ecology of Freshwater Sponges Revealed by Stable Isotope Analyses; Skelton, J. and M. Strand; Presented at NMU Biology Seminar Series, Northern Michigan University, Fall 2009 and Tri-Beta Biological Research Seminar Series, Northern Michigan University, April 6, 2010.
Insects Associated with the Freshwater Sponges in Marquette Co., MI; J. Skelton; Presented at The 10th Annual Celebration of Student Research and Creative Works, Northern Michigan University, April 14, 2005.