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Disease EcologyCommunity structure and pathogen dynamics$
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Sharon K. Collinge and Chris Ray

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198567080

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198567080.001.0001

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Food webs and parasites in a salt marsh ecosystem

Food webs and parasites in a salt marsh ecosystem

(p.119) chapter 9 Food webs and parasites in a salt marsh ecosystem
Disease Ecology

Kevin D. Lafferty

Ryan F. Hechinger

Jenny C. Shaw

Kathleen Whitney

Armand M. Kuris

Oxford University Press

Salt marshes provide a model ecosystem for analyzing the role of parasites in community dynamics. These habitats include an abundant and diverse community of trematode parasites which have complex life cycles, including snail, fish and bird hosts, embedded in rich food webs. Parasites were added to an already detailed food web from the Carpenteria salt marsh in Santa Barbara, California. Including parasites in the food web dramatically increased food web connectance (the average level of species interaction), which has profound implications for the study of community structure and function. Further incorporation of parasites into food webs will increase our appreciation of their role in ecosystems.

Keywords:   trematode, life cycle, connectance, California, community, hosts

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