Meeting Abstract

S7.3-2  Monday, Jan. 6 14:00  Ecological consequences of host manipulation by parasites LAFFERTY, K D*; KURIS, A; US Geological Survey; University of California, Santa Barbara

Numerous studies have shown that the direct effects of parasitism significantly affect populations, community structure, and ecosystem energetics. In addition, manipulative parasites are more than just entertaining cocktail party anecdotes. They can exert effects across hierarchical ecological levels. Those that have strong manipulative effects on their hosts can alter aspects of the distribution and abundance of their host populations. If parasitism is common, effects on the host population can be strong. If the host is common or interacts with other species in the system, indirect effects on the food web could occur through the alteration of trophic cascades, creation of new habitats, or new niches, or by altering the flow of energy among habitats. It will be a while before we have a systematic understanding of the importance of manipulative parasites at the ecosystem level. Further insight into the effects of manipulative parasites will require challenging experiments and observations, ideally with strong collaboration among parasitologists and ecologists.