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Biological invasions and the dynamics of endemic diseases in freshwater ecosystems

Poulin, R, Paterson, Rachel, Townsend, C. R., Tompkins, D. M. and Kelly, D. W. 2011. Biological invasions and the dynamics of endemic diseases in freshwater ecosystems. Freshwater Biology 56 (4) , pp. 676-688. 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2010.02425.x

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Summary 1. Biological invasions, still occurring worldwide at an alarming rate, are widely acknowledged as threats to the integrity and functioning of ecosystems. In addition to introducing disease, biological invasions have also been linked to sudden increases in the incidence or severity of previously existing diseases. We review and illustrate the potential direct and indirect impacts of introduced species on the dynamics of endemic parasites in freshwater ecosystems. 2. Introduced species may trigger and sustain disease emergence by acting as competent hosts for endemic parasites in which infection is amplified and then ‘spilled back’ to native hosts. In contrast, if introduced species are not suitable hosts for endemic parasites but become infected anyway, they may act as sinks for parasites and thus dilute disease risk for native hosts. 3. Another mechanism by which introduced species can influence endemic parasitic diseases is by altering the relative abundance of one of the parasite’s hosts in ways that could either enhance or reduce disease transmission to other native hosts in the parasite’s life cycle. 4. Introduced species may also alter disease incidence and severity in native hosts through trait‐mediated indirect effects. For example, the introduced species could change the exposure or susceptibility of native hosts to infection by causing alterations in their behaviour or immunocompetence. Also, by directly changing physicochemical conditions and modifying environmental stressors introduced species may indirectly affect native host exposure and/or resistance to disease. 5. A survey of parasites infecting introduced freshwater fish in four distinct geographical areas revealed that use of non‐indigenous hosts by endemic parasites is widespread, mostly involving parasites transmitted via the food chain. 6. We conclude by presenting a framework, based on risk assessment, for the prediction and possible mitigation of the impact of introduced species on endemic diseases and by calling for greater recognition of the potential role of invasive species as triggers of endemic disease emergence.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 0046-5070
Date of Acceptance: 19 February 2010
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2020 02:05

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