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      Digenean species diversity in teleost fishes from the Gulf of Gabes, Tunisia (Western Mediterranean) Translated title: Diversité des espèces de digènes des poissons téléostéens du Golfe de Gabès, Tunisie (ouest de la Méditerranée)

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          This study is the first attempt to survey the diversity of fish digeneans in the Gulf of Gabes (southern coast of Tunisia). A total of 779 fishes belonging to 32 species were sampled. 53 species of Digenea belonging to 15 families were recorded. Among these species, 24 are reported for the first time from the coast of Tunisia. We report one new host record, Lecithochirium sp. from Sardinella aurita. The Hemiuridae is the dominant family. A host-parasite list is presented with the information on the prevalence, abundance and mean intensity of each species collected. The diversity of Digenea is compared with other localities in the Mediterranean Sea and the northern east of Tunisia. The Gulf of Gabes shows the lowest diversity linked to the anthropogenic activities and impact of exotic species. The use of Digenea as indicators of the state of the ecosystem is discussed.

          Translated abstract

          Cette étude est la première contribution à la connaissance de la diversité des digènes de poissons du Golfe de Gabès (côtes sud de la Tunisie). 779 poissons appartenant à 32 espèces ont été examinés. 53 espèces de Digenea appartenant à 15 familles ont été récoltées. Parmi ces espèces, 24 sont signalées pour la première fois sur les côtes de la Tunisie. Nous avons signalé un nouvel hôte, Lecithochirium sp., récolté de Sardinella aurita. Les Hemiuridae sont la famille la plus fréquente. Une liste des parasites et de leurs hôtes est présentée, en ajoutant des informations sur la prévalence, l’abondance et l’intensité moyenne de chaque espèce récoltée. La diversité des Digenea est comparée avec celle des autres localités de la Méditerranée et les côtes nord de la Tunisie. Le Golfe de Gabès possède la diversité la moins élevée à cause de l’activité anthropique et de l’impact des espèces exotiques. L’utilisation des Digenea comme indicateurs de l’état de l’écosystème est discutée.

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          Most cited references 12

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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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            Parasites of the superorganism: are they indicators of ecosystem health?

            The concept of ecosystem health is derived from analogies with human health, which subsequently leads to the implication that the ecosystem has organismal properties, a 'superorganism' in the Clementsian sense. Its application and usefulness has been the subject of a contentious debate; yet, the term 'ecosystem health' has captured the public's imagination and woven its way into the current lexicon, even incorporated into public policy. However, the application of parasites as bioindicators of ecosystem health poses a curious conundrum. Perceptions of parasites range from mild distaste to sheer disgust among the general public, the media, environmental managers and non-parasitologists in the scientific community. Nevertheless, the biological nature of parasitism incorporates natural characteristics that are informative and useful for environmental management. The helminths in particular have evolved elegant means to ensure their transmission, often relying on complex life cycle interactions that include a variety of invertebrate and vertebrate hosts. The assemblage of these diverse parasites within a host organism potentially reflect that host's trophic position within the food web as well as the presence in the ecosystem of any other organisms that participate in the various parasite life cycles. Perturbations in ecosystem structure and function that affect food web topology will also impact upon parasite transmission, thus affecting parasite species abundance and composition. As such, parasite populations and communities are useful indicators of environmental stress, food web structure and biodiversity. In addition, there may be useful other means to utilise parasitic organisms based on their biology and life histories such as suites or guilds that may be effective bioindicators of particular forms of environmental degradation. The challenge for parasitology is to convince resource managers and fellow scientists that parasites are a natural part of all ecosystems, each species being a potentially useful information unit, and that healthy ecosystems have healthy parasites.
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              Parasite communities in Boops boops (L.) (Sparidae) after the Prestige oil-spill: detectable alterations.

              Environmental pollution affects parasite populations and communities, both directly and through effects on intermediate and final hosts. In this work, we present a comparative study on the structure and composition of metazoan parasite communities in the bogue, Boops boops, from two localities (Galician coast, Spain) affected by the Prestige oil-spill (POS). We focus on the distribution of both individual parasite species and larger functional groupings by using both univariate and multivariate analyses. Our results indicate directional trends in community composition that might be related to the Prestige oil-spill disturbance of the natural coastal communities off Galicia. Endoparasite communities in B. boops reflected a notable change in the composition and abundance of the benthic fauna in the localities studied post-spill probably due to organic enrichment after the POS.

                Author and article information

                Parasite : journal de la Société Française de Parasitologie
                EDP Sciences
                May 2012
                15 May 2012
                : 19
                : 2 ( publisher-idID: parasite/2012/02 )
                : 129-135
                [1 ] Laboratoire de Biodiversité et Écosystèmes Aquatiques, Faculté des Sciences de Sfax, Université de Sfax BP 1171 Sfax 3000 Tunisie
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: Lassad Neifar. E-mail: lassad.neifar@ 123456fss.rnu.tn
                parasite2012192p129 10.1051/parasite/2012192129
                © PRINCEPS Editions, Paris, 2012

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 43, Pages: 7
                Original Contribution


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