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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATED BIOSYSTEMATICS AND TAXONOMY FOR PARASITES AMONG UNGULATES AND OTHER VERTEBRATES Title: Complex Host-Parasite Systems in Martes: Implications for Conservation Biology of Endemic Faunas.

Authors
item Hoberg, Eric
item Koehler, Anson -
item Cook, Joseph -

Submitted to: Cornell University Press
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: March 3, 2011
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Pathogens among vertebrate hosts are important in ways that transcend their significance as agents off diseases for wild and domestic vertebrate hosts. Complex assemblages of hosts and parasites reveal insights about the history and structure of the biosphere in which we live. These historical foundations are cornerstones for understanding and predicting how complex ecosystem will respond to perturbation driven either by natural or anthropogenic events. biogeography and ecology. We explored aspects of parasite diversity among martens (species of Martes) and other mustelids that reveals insights about the history of the northern biota. Increasingly, the importance of historical ecological and biogeographical drivers for the origins and maintenance of diversity is emphasized. Of particular importance here are issues related to episodes climate variation, geographic colonization, and host-switching (sharing of parasites among ecological similar hosts) as factors which determine the distribution of parasites. These processes are examined for species of Taenia-tapeworms, Trichinella-nematodes and the large stomach worm, Soboliophyme. Further, we address the following generalities: (1) Why are parasites important? (2) How do coevolutionary, ecological and biogeographic processes interact and serve as determinants of the structure of complex host-parasite faunas in space and time? (3) What signals do parasites reveal which contribute to a robust understanding of host history, ecology and biogeography? (4) Why are these issues of importance in conservation biology, and in a regime of accelerating climate change? (5) Why should mammalogists and parasitologists collaborate in building a comprehensive framework to understand the biosphere? We identify pathways in which mammalogists and parasitologists might develop and benefit from such synergy in research programs. Specifically we suggest that parasites are important beyond parasitology because these organisms provide clear signals about the origins, distributions and history for host species. Genetic signatures can be used to demonstrate (1) persistent and endemic populations of hosts; (2) persistence of parasite lineages and species in the absence of ancestral hosts, and thus historical evidence of wider ranges occupied by a host species; (3) introduced populations. Further, such signatures reveal historical interactions between host lineages and species (e.g., ecological relicts, patterns of contact, sympatry, extirpation and extinction). All have implications for wildlife management and conservation biology, and are directly dependant on the availability of collection-based archives (museum collections) as resources to document environmental change over time. Such archives and associated information combined with the specific genetic signatures for parasites reveal host history at fine temporal scales, and the interaction of historical and anthropogenic factors that increasingly shape the biosphere.

Technical Abstract: Complex assemblages of hosts and parasites reveal insights about biogeography and ecology and inform us about processes which serve to structure faunal diversity and the biosphere in space and time. Exploring aspects of parasite diversity among martens (species of Martes) and other mustelids reveals insights about the history of the northern biota. Increasingly, the importance of historical ecological and biogeographical drivers for the origins and maintenance of diversity is emphasized. Of particular importance here are issues related to episodic climate variation, biotic expansion, geographic colonization, and host-switching as factors which determine the distribution of parasites. These processes are examined for species of Taenia-tapeworms, Trichinella-nematodes and the large stomach worm, Soboliophyme. Further, we will address the following generalities: (1) Why are parasites important? (2) How do coevolutionary, ecological and biogeographic processes interact and serve as determinants of the structure of complex host-parasite faunas in space and time? (3) What signals do parasites reveal which contribute to elucidation of host history, ecology and biogeography? (4) Why are these issues of importance in conservation biology, and in a regime of accelerating climate change? (5) Why should mammalogists and parasitologists collaborate in building a comprehensive framework to understand the biosphere? We identify pathways in which mammalogists and parasitologists might develop and benefit from such synergy in research programs. Specifically we suggest that parasites are important beyond parasitology because these organisms provide clear signals about the origins, distributions and history for host species. Unequivocal genetic signatures can be used to demonstrate (1) persistent and endemic populations of hosts; (2) persistence of parasite lineages and species in the absence of ancestral hosts, and thus historical evidence of wider ranges occupied by a host species; (3) introduced populations. Further, such signatures reveal historical interactions between host lineages and species (e.g., ecological relicts, patterns of contact, sympatry, extirpation and extinction). All have implications for wildlife management and conservation biology. Genetic signatures for parasites reveal host history at fine temporal scales, and the interaction of historical and anthropogenic factors that increasingly shape the biosphere.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014