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Q Rev Biol. 2015 Dec;90(4):361-80.

INTEGRATING PARASITES AND PATHOGENS INTO THE STUDY OF GEOGRAPHIC RANGE LIMITS.

Abstract

The geographic distributions of all species are limited, and the determining factors that set these limits are of fundamental importance to the fields of ecology and evolutionary biology. Plant and animal ranges have been of primary concern, while those of parasites, which represent much of the Earth's biodiversity, have been neglected. Here, we review the determinants of the geographic ranges of parasites and pathogens, and explore how parasites provide novel systems with which to investigate the ecological and evolutionary processes governing host/parasite spatial distributions. Although there is significant overlap in the causative factors that determine range borders of parasites and free-living species, parasite distributions are additionally constrained by the geographic range and ecology of the host species' population, as well as by evolutionary factors that promote host-parasite coevolution. Recently, parasites have been used to infer population demographic and ecological information about their host organisms and we conclude that this strategy can be further exploited to understand geographic range limitations of both host and parasite populations.

PMID:
26714350
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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