Rachel Paterson, Queen's Paterson Belfast
Disease-mediated impacts of exotic species on their native counterparts are often ignored when parasite-free individuals are translocated. However, native parasites are frequently acquired by exotic species, thus providing a mechanism through which native host-parasite dynamics may be altered. Using a multiple-pronged approach that combines field observations, experimental infections and dynamic population modelling, I investigated whether native parasite acquisition by exotic salmonids alters host-parasite dynamics in native fish populations in New Zealand and Argentina. Using meta-analytical approaches, I also investigated which traits influence native parasite acquisition by exotic freshwater fish. This research demonstrated that exotic fish competency for native parasites, and relative host abundance are important determinants of whether exotic species were likely to induce changes in native parasite dynamics. The meta-analysis suggested that traits known to influence parasite richness in native fish and/or invasion success of exotic species are not reliable predictors of native parasite acquisition by exotic fish. Instead, it is more likely that complex interactions between a variety of biological, geographical and historical factors govern parasite acquisition by exotic species, making it difficult to predict whether native parasites will be acquired.
Host: Marty Krkosek