Parasites comprise a large proportion of the diversity of species in every ecosystem. Despite this, they are rarely included in analyses or models of food webs. If parasites play different roles from other predators and prey, however, their inclusion could fundamentally alter our understanding of how food webs are organized. In a paper published 11 June in the open access journal PLOS Biology, Santa Fe Institute Professor Jennifer Dunne and her team test this assertion and show that including parasites does alter the structure of food webs, but that most changes occur because of an increase in diversity and complexity, rather than from unique characteristics of parasites.
Tag Archive for parasites
PARA-SITE was designed to provide basic information about parasites causing disease in animals and people. It covers information on: parasite morphology (fundamental to taxonomy); host range (species specificity); site of infection (tissue/organ tropism); parasite pathogenicity (disease potential); modes of transmission (spread of infections); differential diagnosis (detection of infections); and treatment and control (cure and prevention).