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Ecology of Parasites in Mudflat Ecosystems

  • David W. ThieltgesEmail author
  • Kim N. Mouritsen
  • Robert Poulin
Chapter
Part of the Aquatic Ecology Series book series (AQEC, volume 7)

Abstract

Mudflats are not only home to large numbers of bivalves, polychaetes, crustaceans, fish and birds, but also to diverse communities of parasites. In this chapter, we illustrate and explore how the resulting parasite-host interactions can affect host populations, communities and food webs in mudflat ecosystems, equalling in importance the effects resulting from other species interactions, such as predation and competition. We first give an overview of the distribution and ecology of typical parasites occurring in mudflat ecosystems. Then we illustrate the main abiotic and biotic drivers of parasite infection levels in mudflat hosts. Following this, we conceptualise and illustrate the many direct and indirect effects of parasite-host interactions on host populations, communities and food webs in mudflat ecosystems. Finally, we highlight the potential impact of ongoing global changes such as increasing temperature and species introductions on parasite-host interactions in mudflat ecosystems. With this condensed overview of the presence and ecological role of parasites in mudflat ecosystems, we hope to increase the appreciation of the manifold ecological effects of parasite-host interactions on host populations, communities and food webs of mudflat ecosystems, and to spark further research in this field.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Peter Beninger and an anonymous reviewer for constructive comments on our chapter. Dörte Poszig is thanked for providing the drawings.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • David W. Thieltges
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kim N. Mouritsen
    • 2
  • Robert Poulin
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Coastal SystemsNIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, and Utrecht UniversityDen BurgThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Bioscience, Marine EcologyUniversity of AarhusAarhusDenmark
  3. 3.Department of ZoologyUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

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