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      Digenean trematode species in the cockle Cerastoderma edule: identification key and distribution along the north-eastern Atlantic shoreline

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          A new species of Spauligodon (Nematoda: Oxyuroidea: Pharyngodonidae) in Cyrtodactylus bintangrensis (Sauria: Gekkonidae) from Peninsular Malaysia

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            Is a healthy ecosystem one that is rich in parasites?

            Historically, the role of parasites in ecosystem functioning has been considered trivial because a cursory examination reveals that their relative biomass is low compared with that of other trophic groups. However there is increasing evidence that parasite-mediated effects could be significant: they shape host population dynamics, alter interspecific competition, influence energy flow and appear to be important drivers of biodiversity. Indeed they influence a range of ecosystem functions and have a major effect on the structure of some food webs. Here, we consider the bottom-up and top-down processes of how parasitism influences ecosystem functioning and show that there is evidence that parasites are important for biodiversity and production; thus, we consider a healthy system to be one that is rich in parasite species.
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              Host diversity begets parasite diversity: bird final hosts and trematodes in snail intermediate hosts.

              An unappreciated facet of biodiversity is that rich communities and high abundance may foster parasitism. For parasites that sequentially use different host species throughout complex life cycles, parasite diversity and abundance in 'downstream' hosts should logically increase with the diversity and abundance of 'upstream' hosts (which carry the preceding stages of parasites). Surprisingly, this logical assumption has little empirical support, especially regarding metazoan parasites. Few studies have attempted direct tests of this idea and most have lacked the appropriate scale of investigation. In two different studies, we used time-lapse videography to quantify birds at fine spatial scales, and then related bird communities to larval trematode communities in snail populations sampled at the same small spatial scales. Species richness, species heterogeneity and abundance of final host birds were positively correlated with species richness, species heterogeneity and abundance of trematodes in host snails. Such community-level interactions have rarely been demonstrated and have implications for community theory, epidemiological theory and ecosystem management.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                applab
                Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
                J. Mar. Biol. Ass.
                Cambridge University Press (CUP)
                0025-3154
                1469-7769
                May 2009
                March 2009
                : 89
                : 03
                : 543
                Article
                10.1017/S0025315409003130
                © 2009

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