Parasites have evolved independently in numerous animal lineages, and they now make up a considerable proportion of the biodiversity of life. Not only do they impact humans and other animals in fundamental ways, but in recent years they have become a powerful model system for the study of ecology and evolution, with practical applications in disease prevention.
Here, in a thoroughly revised and updated edition of his influential earlier work, Robert Poulin provides an evolutionary ecologist's view of the biology of parasites. He sets forth a comprehensive synthesis of parasite evolutionary ecology, integrating information across scales from the features of individual parasites to the dynamics of parasite populations and the structuring of parasite communities.
Evolutionary Ecology of Parasites presents an evolutionary framework for the study of parasite biology, combining theory with empirical examples to develop a broader understanding of why parasites are as they are and do what they do. An up-to-date synthesis of the field, the book is an ideal teaching tool for advanced courses on the subject. Pointing toward promising directions and setting a research agenda, it will also be an invaluable reference for researchers who seek to extend our knowledge of parasite ecology and evolution.
Chapter 1 Introduction 1
Chapter 2 Origins of Parasitism and Complex Life Cycles 8
Chapter 3 Host Specificity 41
Chapter 4 Evolution of Parasite Life-History Strategies 70
Chapter 5 Strategies of Host Exploitation 96
Chapter 6 Parasite Aggregation: Causes and Consequences 134
Chapter 7 Parasite Population Dynamics and Genetics 160
Chapter 8 Interactions between Species and the Parasite Niche 188
Chapter 9 Parasite Infracommunity Structure 209
Chapter 10 Component Communities and Parasite Faunas 233
Chapter 11 Conclusion 262
Robert Poulin is a Professor of Zoology at the University of Otago, New Zealand. He is the co-author of Parasite Biodiversity and the editor of two other books.
"What a wonderful book! [...] I can heartily recommend this volume for all parasitologists, regardless of their specific research interests, and whether students or teachers. I would also strongly recommend this book for the 'non-parasite' ecologist and evolutionary biologist because it will provide them with a concise picture of how parasites fit into the general scheme of ecology and evolution, something about which they really should know a lot, but many times do not! Poulin does, and explains it well."
– Gerald Esch, Journal of Parasitology
"This excellent book offers much food for thought. The scholarship is as sound as any one human can make it, and the smooth writing carries one along nicely. Evolutionary Ecology of Parasites will not only be a valuable resource in graduate seminars, it will also help researchers get a handle on the literature and the major questions in the field."
– Janice Moore, Colorado State University, author of Parasites and the Behavior of Animals
"This is an important book. I am glad there is someone out there with the brains and guts to tackle the diverse body of literature summarized here."
– Dale H. Clayton, University of Utah