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Evidence for parasite-mediated selection during short-lasting toxic algal blooms

Abstract : Parasites play a role in the control of transient algal blooms, but it is not known whether parasite-mediated selection results in coevolution of the host and the parasites over this short time span. We investigated the presence of coevolution between the toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium minutum and two naturally occurring endoparasites during blooms lasting a month in two river estuaries, using cross-inoculation experiments across time and space. Higher parasite abundance was associated with a large daily reduction in relative A. minutum abundances, demonstrating strong parasite-mediated selection. There was genetic variability in infectivity in both parasite species, and in resistance in the host. We found no evidence for coevolution in one estuary; however, in the other estuary, we found high genetic diversity in the two parasite species, fluctuations in infectivity and suggestion that the two parasites are well adapted to their host, as in 'Red Queen' dynamics. Thus, coevolution is possible over the short time span of a bloom, but geographically variable, and may feedback on community dynamics.
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François Blanquart, Myriam Valero, Catharina Alves-De-Souza, Aliou Dia, Frédéric Lepelletier, et al.. Evidence for parasite-mediated selection during short-lasting toxic algal blooms. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Royal Society, The, 2016, 50, pp.109 - 109. ⟨10.1098/rspb.2000.1267⟩. ⟨hal-01400173⟩

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