, Volume 172, Issue 4, pp 1213–1222 | Cite as

Local effects of a global problem: modelling the risk of parasite-induced mortality in an intertidal trematode–amphipod system

Global change ecology - Original research


The interactive effects of climate change and parasitism are of concern because of potentially important consequences for host populations, communities and entire ecosystems. In marine environments, the absence of historic baseline data on parasitism and disease limits our ability to make realistic predictions about these consequences. Here, we adapt a simulation model developed for a Northern Hemisphere intertidal host–parasite system to a comparable system in the Southern Hemisphere. The entire life cycle of the intertidal trematode parasite Maritrema novaezealandensis was modelled in order to investigate the interactive effects of parasitic infections and increasing temperatures on the population dynamics of the amphipod host Paracalliope novizealandiae. Despite uncertainties associated with the model and its parameterisation, most temperature increases that were predicted to cause the collapse of the modelled amphipod population in the long term lay within the range of predicted warming for the study area. The high vulnerability of the amphipods in the modelled system illustrates a potentially important ecological mechanism by which consequences of a global problem might manifest on the local scale.


Parasite transmission Population dynamics Climate change Temperature dependence Mortality risk 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  2. 2.Landcare ResearchDunedinNew Zealand

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