Disease can shape marine ecosystems

Book Section

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

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Morton, JP; Silliman, BR; Lafferty, KD

Published Date

  • February 3, 2020

Book Title

  • Marine Disease Ecology

Start / End Page

  • 61 - 70

Published By

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9780198821632

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/oso/9780198821632.003.0003