Part of a two-volume edited book series, this first volume highlights and reviews the potential of the fossil record to calibrate the origin and evolution of parasitism, and the techniques to understand the development of parasite-host associations and their relationships with environmental and ecological changes. The Evolution and Fossil Record of Parasitism deploys a broad and comprehensive approach, aimed at understanding the origins and developments of various parasite groups, in order to provide a wider evolutionary picture of parasitism as part of biodiversity. This is in contrast to most contributions by parasitologists in the literature that focus on circular lines of evidence, such as extrapolating from current host associations or distributions, to estimate constraints on the timing of the origin and evolution of various parasite groups. This approach is narrow and fails to provide the wider evolutionary picture of parasitism on, and as part of, biodiversity.
The Evolution and Fossil Record of Parasitism: Identification and Macroevolution of Parasites focuses on identifying parasitism in the fossil record, and sheds light on the distribution and ecological importance of parasite-host interactions over time. In order to better understand the evolutionary history of parasites and their relationship with changes in the environment, emphasis is given to viruses, bacteria, protista and plants as parasites. Particular attention is given to metazoans such as molluscs, cnidarians, crustaceans and insects are parasites. Researchers, specifically parasitologists, interested in the evolutionary history of parasite-host interactions, as well as students studying parasitism will find The Evolution and Fossil Record of Parasitism appealing.
Dr Kenneth De Baets is a paleobiologist at the Geozentrum Nordbayern in the faculty of Natural Sciences at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nurnberg. He graduated from Ghent University with a Masters in Geology and earned his PhD in Evolutionary Biology at the University of Zurich. His main research focuses on documenting and interpreting the relative contributions of abiotic (e.g., climate) and biotic factors (e.g., parasitism) in driving large-scale patterns in the evolution of life and biomineralization.
Dr John Huntley is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Missouri. He graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelors of Science in Geology in 2000, then earned his Masters in Geology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in 2003, and his PhD in Geosciences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2007. His main research interests include the fossil record of biotic interactions, stratigraphic and conservation paleobiology, and the evolution of morphological disparity.