Parasites in the northern Wadden Sea: a conservative ecosystem component over 4 decades

David W. Thieltges, Birgit Hussel, Judith Hermann, K. Thomas Jensen, Manuela Krakau, Horst Taraschewski, Karsten Reise
2007 Helgoland Marine Research  
We investigated potential changes in the metazoan endoparasite fauna in the northern Wadden Sea during the past 4 decades by compiling published studies, reports and original data. During the time considered, the parasite fauna has remained basically the same. Only a few changes in parasite species presence occurred that resulted from changes in host distribution and abundance. The introduction of potential host species had little eVect on the parasite community because no alien parasites were
more » ... ien parasites were concomitantly introduced and the native parasites show low prevalence and intensity in these novel hosts. Eutrophication and eVects of phased-out hunting may not have had clear bottom-up or top-down eVects on the parasite community because of various confounding factors. Parasites depending on several host species may only be subject to strong population changes if all hosts are aVected in a unidirectional way. This, however, is rather unlikely to happen in a coastal ecosystem subject to multiple pressures. Hence, parasites appear to be a relatively conservative component of the northern Wadden Sea.
doi:10.1007/s10152-007-0091-6 fatcat:ing3uowy7zgqxpafgjemsw7mga