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Title: Bovine tuberculosis disturbs parasite functional trait composition in African buffalo
Novel parasites can have wide-ranging impacts, not only on host populations, but also on the resident parasite community. Historically, impacts of novel parasites have been assessed by examining pairwise interactions between parasite species. However, parasite communities are complex networks of interacting species. Here we used multivariate taxonomic and trait-based approaches to determine how parasite community composition changed when African buffalo ( Syncerus caffer ) acquired an emerging disease, bovine tuberculosis (BTB). Both taxonomic and functional parasite richness increased significantly in animals that acquired BTB than in those that did not. Thus, the presence of BTB seems to catalyze extraordinary shifts in community composition. There were no differences in overall parasite taxonomic composition between infected and uninfected individuals, however. The trait-based analysis revealed an increase in direct-transmitted, quickly replicating parasites following BTB infection. This study demonstrates that trait-based approaches provide insight into parasite community dynamics in the context of emerging infections.
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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
14645 to 14650
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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