Pacific oysters and parasites: species invasions and their impact on parasite-host interactions
Invasive species can have strong direct effects on native species, communities and ecosystems via predation and competition. However, invasive species can also exert indirect effects on invaded ecosystems by modifying parasite-host dynamics in a variety of ways. Newly established hosts can act as reservoirs by co-introducing a parasite that also infects native hosts (spill-over effect). In addition, invaders may act as an alternative host for native parasites, thus increasing the parasites’ population sizes and subsequently intensifying parasite burdens in native hosts (spill-back effect). Alternatively, invasive species can reduce the disease risk for native hosts, e.g. by preying on infective stages (transmission interference). In this thesis, I present the results of my PhD research in which I investigated these and other effects for the Pacific oyster, one of the most prominent invaders of European coastal waters.
Curious? My entire thesis can be downloaded here