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A complete Holocene record of trematode-bivalve infection and implications for the response of parasitism to climate change
Huntley, J.W.; Fürsich, F.T.; Alberti, M.; Hethke, M.; Liu, C. (2014). A complete Holocene record of trematode-bivalve infection and implications for the response of parasitism to climate change. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 111(51): 18150-18155
In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. The Academy: Washington, D.C.. ISSN 0027-8424, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
Author keywords
    parasites disease global warming paleoecology mollusks

Authors  Top 
  • Huntley, J.W.
  • Fürsich, F.T.
  • Alberti, M.
  • Hethke, M.
  • Liu, C.

Abstract
    Increasing global temperature and sea-level rise have led to concern about expansions in the distribution and prevalence of complex-lifecycle parasites (CLPs). Indeed, numerous environmental variables can influence the infectivity and reproductive output of many pathogens. Digenean trematodes are CLPs with intermediate invertebrate and definitive vertebrate hosts. Global warming and sea level rise may affect these hosts to varying degrees, and the effect of increasing temperature on parasite prevalence has proven to be nonlinear and difficult to predict. Projecting the response of parasites to anthropogenic climate change is vital for human health, and a longer term perspective (104 y) offered by the subfossil record is necessary to complement the experimental and historical approaches of shorter temporal duration (10-1 to 103 y). We demonstrate, using a high-resolution 9,600-y record of trematode parasite traces in bivalve hosts from the Holocene Pearl River Delta, that prevalence was significantly higher during the earliest stages of sea level rise, significantly lower during the maximum transgression, and statistically indistinguishable in the other stages of sea-level rise and delta progradation. This stratigraphic paleobiological pattern represents the only long-term high-resolution record of pathogen response to global change, is consistent with fossil and recent data from other marine basins, and is instructive regarding the future of disease. We predict an increase in trematode prevalence concurrent with anthropogenic warming and marine transgression, with negative implications for estuarine macrobenthos, marine fisheries, and human health.

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