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, 180, 141-147

Parasites as Drivers of Key Processes in Aquatic Ecosystems: Facts and Future Directions

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Parasites as Drivers of Key Processes in Aquatic Ecosystems: Facts and Future Directions

B Sures et al. Exp Parasitol.

Abstract

Despite the advances in our understanding of the ecological importance of parasites that we have made in recent years, we are still far away from having a complete picture of the ecological implications connected to parasitism. In the present paper we highlight key issues that illustrate (1) important contributions of parasites to biodiversity, (2) their integral role in ecosystems, (3) as well as their ecological effects as keystone species (4) and in biological invasion processes. By using selected examples from aquatic ecosystems we want to provide an insight and generate interest into the topic, and want to show directions for future research in the field of ecological parasitology. This may help to convince more parasitologists and ecologists contributing and advancing our understanding of the complex and fascinating interplay of parasites, hosts and ecosystems.

Keywords: Diversity; Ecological parasitology; Food webs; Invasions; Trophic interactions.

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