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The most vagile host as the main determinant of population connectivity in marine macroparasites
Feis, M.E.; Thieltges, D.W.; Olsen, J.L.; de Montaudouin, X.; Jensen, K.T.; Bazaïri, H.; Culloty, S.C.; Luttikhuizen, P.C. (2015). The most vagile host as the main determinant of population connectivity in marine macroparasites. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 520: 85-99.
In: Marine Ecology Progress Series. Inter-Research: Oldendorf/Luhe. ISSN 0171-8630, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

    Bucephalus minimus (Stossich, 1887) [WoRMS]; Gymnophallus choledochus Odhner, 1900 [WoRMS]; Trematoda [WoRMS]; Marine
Author keywords
    Marine ecology · Population genetics · Parasite · Host parasite dynamics · Trematode · Invertebrates · Gymnophallus choledochus · Bucephalus minimus

Authors  Top 
  • Feis, M.E., more
  • Thieltges, D.W., more
  • Olsen, J.L.
  • de Montaudouin, X.
  • Jensen, K.T.
  • Bazaïri, H.
  • Culloty, S.C.
  • Luttikhuizen, P.C., more

    Although molecular ecology of macroparasites is still in its infancy, general patterns are beginning to emerge, e.g. that the most vagile host in a complex life cycle is the main determinantof the population genetic structure of their parasites. This insight stems from the observation that populations of parasites with only freshwater hosts are more structured than those withterrestrial or airborne hosts. Until now, the same has not been tested for marine systems, where, in theory, a fully marine life cycle might sustain high dispersal rates because of the absence of Obvious physical barriers in the sea. Here, we tested whether a marine trematode parasite that utilises migratory birds exhibited weaker population genetic structure than those whose life cycle utilises marine fish as the vagile host. Part of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase 1 (COI) gene wassequenced from individual sporocysts from populations along the Atlantic coast of Europe and North Africa. Strong population structure (Phi-ST = 0.25, p < 0.0001) was found in the fully marinetrematode Bucephalus minimus (hosted by fish), while no significant structure (Phi-ST = 0.015, p = 0.19257) was detected in Gymnophallus choledochus (hosted by birds). However, demographicmodels indicate recent colonisation rather than high dispersal as an alternative explanation of the low levels of structure observed in G. choledochus. Our study is the first to identify significant genetic population structure in a marine autogenic parasite, suggesting that connectivity between populations of marine parasites can be limited despite the general potential for high dispersal of their hosts in the marine environment.

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