Polar Biology

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 307–315 | Cite as

Sources of variation in endohelminth parasitism of common eiders over-wintering in the Canadian Arctic

  • J. Tourangeau
  • J. F. ProvencherEmail author
  • H. G. Gilchrist
  • M. L. Mallory
  • M. R. Forbes
Original Paper


Documenting how climate change will affect Arctic ecosystems and food web dynamics requires an understanding of current sources of variation in species distributions, frequency, and abundance. Host–parasite interactions are expected to be altered in the coming decades under warming conditions. However, in many Polar Regions, there is little information describing parasite–host assemblages. We examine how gastrointestinal helminths of northern common eider ducks (Somateria mollissima sedentaria) in the low Arctic vary with host age, sex and sampling year. We found that the prevalence of an acanthocephalan (Profilicollus sp.) varied in eiders with age, sex and year, while a cestode (Microsomacanthus sp.) varied with host sex. Two other species of endohelminths (Lateriporus sp., Corysonoma sp.) were not found to vary with sex, age or sampling year, and another species (Microphallus sp.) did not vary with sex or age. Our results highlight the complexity inherent in Arctic host–parasite assemblages, and the need for more detailed studies to better understand how changing climatic conditions may affect species distributions, frequency or abundance.


Bird Polynya Arctic Polar Non-migratory Resident 



Thanks to Joel Heath, Lucassie Arragutainaq, Chris Baird, Luc Ippak and Johnny Kudluarok for helping with the eider duck collections in the Belcher Islands. We thank Dan MacLaughlin at Concordia University for assisting with the taxonomic identification of the parasite species identified in this study. JFP is supported by a W. Garfield Weston Post-doctoral Fellowship in Northern Research administered by the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies (ACUNS).

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All permits required for this work, both in relation to animal care and when conducting research in the territory of Nunavut were acquired as appropriate, including animal care (Acadia University), access to migratory birds (Canadian Wildlife Service and the Government of Nunavut Wildlife Department). This work was also undertaken in collaboration with the community of Sanikiluaq, Nunavut and completed with consultation of the Sanikiluaq Hunter and Trapper Organization. There are no conflicts of interest in relation to this research that we are aware of.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Tourangeau
    • 1
  • J. F. Provencher
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • H. G. Gilchrist
    • 4
  • M. L. Mallory
    • 2
  • M. R. Forbes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Department of BiologyAcadia UniversityWolfvilleCanada
  3. 3.Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment and Climate Change CanadaGatineauCanada
  4. 4.Science and Technology Branch, Environment and Climate Change CanadaOttawaCanada

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