Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Adv Parasitol. 2012;79:1-97. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-398457-9.00001-9.

Northern host-parasite assemblages: history and biogeography on the borderlands of episodic climate and environmental transition.

Author information

  • 1US National Parasite Collection, Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, MD, USA.


Diversity among assemblages of mammalian hosts and parasites in northern terrestrial ecosystems was structured by a deep history of biotic and abiotic change that overlies a complex geographic arena. Since the Pliocene, Holarctic ecosystems assembled in response to shifting climates (glacial and interglacial stages). Cycles of episodic dispersal/isolation and diversification defined northern diversity on landscape to regional scales. Episodes of geographic expansion and colonisation linked Eurasia and North America across Beringia and drove macroevolutionary structure of host and parasite associations. Asynchronous dispersal from centres of origin in Eurasia into the Nearctic resulted in gradients in parasite diversity in the carnivoran, lagomorph, rodent and artiodactyl assemblages we reviewed. Recurrent faunal interchange and isolation in conjunction with episodes of host colonisation have produced a mosaic structure for parasite faunas and considerable cryptic diversity among nematodes and cestodes. Mechanisms of invasion and geographic colonisation leading to the establishment of complex faunal assemblages are equivalent in evolutionary and ecological time, as demonstrated by various explorations of diversity in these high-latitude systems. Our ability to determine historical responses to episodic shifts in global climate may provide a framework for predicting the cascading effects of contemporary environmental change.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk