Disease can shape marine ecosystems

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This chapter reviews how marine ecosystems respond to parasites. Evidence from several marine ecosystems shows that parasites can wield control over ecosystem structure, function, and dynamics by regulating host density and phenotype. Like predators, parasites can generate or modify trophic cascades, regulate important foundational species and ecosystem engineers, and mediate species coexistence by affecting competitive outcomes. Sometimes the parasites have clear positive impacts within ecosystems, such as increasing species diversity or maintaining ecosystem stability. Other times, parasites may have destabilizing effects that signal an ecosystem out of balance. But it is now clear that some (but not all) parasites can have strong and, at times, predictable effects, and should thus be incorporated into food web and ecosystem models.

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Disease can shape marine ecosystems
Chapter 3
DOI 10.1093/oso/9780198821632.003.0003
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Oxford University Press
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description 10 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Marine disease ecology
First page 61
Last page 70
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