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Title: Order in ectoparasite communities of marine fish is explained by epidemiological processes
Contributor(s): Morand, S (author); Rohde, Klaus (author); Hayward, C (author)
Publication Date: 2002
DOI: 10.1017/S0031182002001464
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Abstract: Two kinds of community structure referred to, nestedness and bimodal distribution, have been observed or were searched for in parasite communities. We investigate here the relation between these two kinds of organisation, using marine fishes as a model, in order to show that parasite population dynamics may parsimoniously explain the patterns of ectoparasite species distribution and abundance. Thirty six assemblages of metazoan ectoparasites on the gills and heads of marine fish showed the following patterns: a positive relationship between abundance and the variance of abundance; a positive relationship between abundance and prevalence of infection; a bimodal pattern of the frequency distribution of prevalence of infection; nestedness as indicated by Atmar and Patterson's thermodynamic measure (a mean of 7.9°C); a unimodal distribution of prevalence in parasite assemblages with a temperature lower than the mean, and a bimodal distribution in assemblages with a temperature higher than the mean. We conclude that patterns are the result of characteristics of the parasite species themselves and that interspecific competition is not necessary to explain them. We emphasize that a holistic approach, taking all evidence jointly into account, is necessary to explain patterns of community structure. Ectoparasite assemblages of marine fish are among the animal groups that have been most thoroughly examined using many different methods, and all evidence supports the view that these animals live under non-equilibrium conditions, in largely non-saturated niche space in which interspecific competition occurs but is of little evolutionary importance.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Parasitology, 124(7), p. S57-S63
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Place of Publication: Cambridge, United Kingdom
ISSN: 1469-8161
Field of Research (FOR): 060301 Animal Systematics and Taxonomy
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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