How have fisheries affected parasite communities?

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To understand how fisheries affect parasites, we conducted a meta-analysis of studies that contrasted parasite assemblages in fished and unfished areas. Parasite diversity was lower in hosts from fished areas. Larger hosts had a greater abundance of parasites, suggesting that fishing might reduce the abundance of parasites by selectively removing the largest, most heavily parasitized individuals. After controlling for size, the effect of fishing on parasite abundance varied according to whether the host was fished and the parasite's life cycle. Parasites of unfished hosts were more likely to increase in abundance in response to fishing than were parasites of fished hosts, possibly due to compensatory increases in the abundance of unfished hosts. While complex life cycle parasites tended to decline in abundance in response to fishing, directly transmitted parasites tended to increase. Among complex life cycle parasites, those with fished hosts tended to decline in abundance in response to fishing, while those with unfished hosts tended to increase. However, among directly transmitted parasites, responses did not differ between parasites with and without fished hosts. This work suggests that parasite assemblages are likely to change substantially in composition in increasingly fished ecosystems, and that parasite life history and fishing status of the host are important in predicting the response of individual parasite species or groups to fishing.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title How have fisheries affected parasite communities?
Series title Parasitology
DOI 10.1017/S003118201400002X
Volume 142
Issue 1
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description 11 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Parasitology
First page 134
Last page 144
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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