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Cover of Ecology, Epidemiology, and Evolution of Parasitism in Daphnia

Ecology, Epidemiology, and Evolution of Parasitism in Daphnia


Author Information
Bethesda (MD): National Center for Biotechnology Information (US); .
ISBN-10: 1-932811-06-0


Following this introduction, Chapter 2 gives a general summary of Daphnia biology, highlighting at the same time those aspects that may be relevant for the study of parasitism. This summary is followed by Chapter 3, which introduces the reader to certain parasite species that are frequently mentioned in the book. This chapter is short, however, because the parasites will be dealt with in detail in the second book.

The next chapters describe the interactions between parasites and their Daphnia hosts. Much of the conceptual parts are derived from general principles of epidemiology but with special reference to the biology of zooplankton and especially Daphnia. Chapter 4 summarizes what we know from parasitological field studies of Cladocerans. Chapters 5 and 6 deal with the sometimes severe fitness consequences of parasitism. In Chapter 5, I review what we know about the negative effect of parasites on the fitness of individual hosts, and in Chapter 6, I review the little we know about how hosts fight parasites. Chapter 7 is on host ranges and discusses what we know about the specificity of Daphnia parasites.

Chapters 8 and 9 address aspects of parasitism at the population level. A central chapter of this book is "Epidemiology." Its two parts deal with transmission processes and with the actual epidemiology of Daphnia parasites. Chapter 9 introduces the important question of whether parasites regulate their host populations or even drive them to extinction.

Chapter 10 introduces a number of experiments that one may do with Daphnia and its parasites within the framework of a student course or for research purposes. These simple experiments may be used to illustrate principles of host–parasite interactions. Experiments are suggested at the individual level as well as at the population level.

From Chapter 4 onward, I end each chapter by posing open questions and highlighting major gaps in our knowledge.

A Glossary provides definitions of terms from Daphnia biology and parasitology used throughout the book.


Suggested citation:

Ebert D, 2005. Ecology, Epidemiology, and Evolution of Parasitism in Daphnia [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US), National Center for Biotechnology Information. Available from:

Copyright © 2005, Dieter Ebert.
Bookshelf ID: NBK2036


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