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Trends Parasitol. 2007 Dec;23(12):571-4. Epub 2007 Oct 24.

How will global climate change affect parasite-host assemblages?

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Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3G5, Canada.


Parasites are integral components of the biosphere. Host switching correlated with events of episodic climate change is ubiquitous in evolutionary and ecological time. Global climate change produces ecological perturbations, which cause geographical and phenological shifts, and alteration in the dynamics of parasite transmission, increasing the potential for host switching. The intersection of climate change with evolutionary conservative aspects of host specificity and transmission dynamics, called ecological fitting, permits emergence of parasites and diseases without evolutionary changes in their capacity for host utilization.

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