SAVE the parasites (ourselves?)

scottamy at kuhub.cc.ukans.edu scottamy at kuhub.cc.ukans.edu
Sun Apr 17 00:32:18 EST 1994


rupp at vax.oxford.ac.uk wrote...
)>Is there any study on endangered parasites? ;-)

then pappas.3 at osu.edu wrote...
)>SOME SPECIES HAVE, NO DOUBT, ALREADY BEEN DRIVEN 
)>TO EXTINCTION!  I KNOW AT OF LEAST ONE INSTANCE IN 
)>WHICH A RESEARCHER COLLECTED SO MANY SNAILS FROM 
)>A POND (IN AN ATTEMPT TO COLLECT LARVAL 
)>TREMATODES), THAT HE ERADICATED AT LEAST ONE SPECIES 
)>OF DIGENETIC TREMATODE THOUGHT TO OCCUR ONLY IN 
)>SNAILS ONLY IN THAT ONE POND. 

	I have a strong interest in parasite biodiversity, both from a 
pure love of the organisms I have chosen to study (as 
mes at zoo.toronto.edu said in an unrelated post, they are "cool") and 
for the data about systematic relationships, etc. that knowledge of 
these parasites provide.  We all agree that we want to be the "fittest" 
in relation to zoonotic parasites, but often the human(vertebrate)-
bias comes into play when we consider parasites of other animals.

	Earlier I posted the following, with no response, but in light 
of the current discussion, I thought I would re-post it in hopes of 
continuing this discussion.

     ---------------------------from original
post--------------------------------
	
	Like most biologists, I have become increasingly alarmed at 
the world's loss of species diversity.  As parasitologists, we should 
probably be even more disturbed than those that study free-living 
organisms.  As species of hosts become extinct, so also perish their 
parasites.  In addition, even if many species of hosts are "rescued" by 
any of the currently proposed methods, such as setting up small 
protected areas of isolated habitat, it will change parasite population 
and community dynamics so drastically that many species of 
parasites will still become extinct.
	In a recent discussion of species diversity of non-parasites by 
Briggs (Syst. Biol. 43:130-135) it was suggested that "...expert opinions 
[are] probably the better approach to the determination of global 
diversity." (pg 134).  With that prompting I thought I would bring 
up several questions suggested by Briggs' paper on species diversity 
for discussion to this group of "experts."
	1.  To parallel Briggs' original question...How does species 
diversity of parasites of marine animals compare with parasites of 
terrestrial animals?  (--this is compounded by those parasites that 
have life cycle stages in both aquatic and terrestrial hosts.)
	2.  What are the best methods of sampling diversity of 
parasites in hosts that are also in danger of extinction?  In fragile 
areas where the removal of large numbers is not practical how do 
you get a true picture of distribution patterns, etc.?
		and finally,
	3.  How do we entice (?) non-parasitologists to include 
surveys of parasites when they sample biodiversity?    

	I hope these questions will stimulate some discussion as well 
as help me solve them to my own satisfaction!

          -------------------------------------------------------------------

--With the preceding comments, this post is rather long, but it seems 
appropriate to bring the questions up once more.  Questions 2 and 3 
seem particularly pertinent here.


			Scott Monks
				(scottamy at kuhub.cc.ukans.edu)	   






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