The Hidden Effects of Parasites in a Changing Ocean


Abstract


Trematode parasites are a fascinating group of species which occur in almost all types of marine habitat and infect many ecologically and commercially important marine organisms. They possess complex life histories that involve multiple host species, often radically change morphology as they move between hosts, and can dramatically alter the performance of infected organisms.

As with all marine organisms, trematodes are affected by human-mediated changes to the global oceans – for example, warmer temperatures, less available oxygen, increased seawater acidity.
Of course, given the complex nature of host–parasite interactions, the effects of such changes to the marine environment could have equally complex consequences for disease dynamics. The potential for such substantial change to the role of trematode parasites caused by a changing marine environment can best be understood by following a single parasite species through a complete life cycle.


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