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Biotic interference in parasite transmission: Can the feeding of anemones counteract an increased risk of parasitism in amphipods at higher temperature?
Studer, A.; Kremer, L.; Nelles, J.; Poulin, R.; Thieltges, D.W. (2013). Biotic interference in parasite transmission: Can the feeding of anemones counteract an increased risk of parasitism in amphipods at higher temperature? J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 445: 116-119. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2013.04.014
In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. Elsevier: New York. ISSN 0022-0981, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
Author keywords
    Cercariae; Endohelminths; Intensity-dependent mortality; Trematodes

Authors  Top 
  • Studer, A.
  • Kremer, L.
  • Nelles, J.
  • Poulin, R.
  • Thieltges, D.W., more

Abstract
    The transmission of parasites is embedded in the complexity of natural systems and is influenced not only by prevailing abiotic conditions, but also by the composition of the ambient community. In particular, temperature affects the number of transmission stages (e.g. cercariae of trematodes) released into the environment as well as their survival and infectivity. Temperature, however, also influences the metabolic rate and feeding activity of non-host organisms. We tested the hypothesis that at higher temperatures, the predatory anemone Anthopleura aureoradiata, known to ingest cercariae, may interfere with the transmission of the intertidal trematode parasite Maritrema novaezealandensis hence reducing the number of cercarial transmission stages successfully infecting Paracalliope novizealandiae amphipod hosts. In a microcosm experiment with two temperatures (15 and 22 degrees C) and three densities of anemones (0, 5 and 10 per microcosm), however, only a significant effect of temperature was found, with more parasites infecting surviving amphipods at the higher temperature. The effect of anemone density was not significant, although there was a trend towards fewer parasites infecting amphipods when anemones were present at 22 degrees C. Our results show that the effect of non-host species on trematode transmission might not be strong enough to mitigate increased parasite transmission at higher temperatures. However, mortality of amphipods kept at 22 degrees C was highest with low and medium anemone density; possibly reflecting an increased transmission pressure and parasite-induced mortality, therefore masking the actual outcome of this experiment based on surviving amphipods. Despite this, all findings point towards a higher risk of parasite-induced mortality of small crustaceans with increasing temperature, which is of particular concern in the context of global warming.

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