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. 2016 Aug;119(4):375-83.
doi: 10.1016/j.zool.2016.05.008. Epub 2016 May 26.

Effects of Environmental Variation on Host-Parasite Interaction in Three-Spined Sticklebacks (Gasterosteus Aculeatus)


Effects of Environmental Variation on Host-Parasite Interaction in Three-Spined Sticklebacks (Gasterosteus Aculeatus)

Jörn P Scharsack et al. Zoology (Jena). .


Recent research provides accumulating evidence that the evolutionary dynamics of host-parasite adaptations strongly depend on environmental variation. In this context, the three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) has become an important research model since it is distributed all over the northern hemisphere and lives in very different habitat types, ranging from marine to freshwater, were it is exposed to a huge diversity of parasites. While a majority of studies start from explorations of sticklebacks in the wild, only relatively few investigations have continued under laboratory conditions. Accordingly, it has often been described that sticklebacks differ in parasite burden between habitats, but the underlying co-evolutionary trajectories are often not well understood. With the present review, we give an overview of the most striking examples of stickleback-parasite-environment interactions discovered in the wild and discuss two model parasites which have received some attention in laboratory studies: the eye fluke Diplostomum pseudospathacaeum, for which host fish show habitat-specific levels of resistance, and the tapeworm Schistocephalus solidus, which manipulates immunity and behavior of its stickleback host to its advantage. Finally, we will concentrate on an important environmental variable, namely temperature, which has prominent effects on the activity of the immune system of ectothermic hosts and on parasite growth rates.

Keywords: Diplostomum pseudospathaceum; Gasterosteus aculeatus; Host–parasite interaction; Local adaptation; Schistocephalus solidus.

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