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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 136:121-132 (2019)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03355

REVIEW
Amphipod parasites may bias results of ecotoxicological research

Daniel Grabner1,*, Bernd Sures1,2

1Aquatic Ecology and Centre for Water and Environmental Research, University of Duisburg-Essen, 45141 Essen, Germany
2Department of Zoology, University of Johannesburg, PO Box 524, Auckland Park 2006, Johannesburg, South Africa
*Corresponding author:
Advance View was available online March 28, 2019

ABSTRACT: Amphipods are commonly used test organisms in ecotoxicological studies. Nevertheless, their naturally occurring parasites have mostly been neglected in these investigations, even though several groups of parasites can have a multitude of effects, e.g. on host survival, physiology, or behavior. In the present review, we summarize the knowledge on the effects of Microsporidia and Acanthocephala, 2 common and abundant groups of parasites in amphipods, on the outcome of ecotoxicological studies. Parasites can have significant effects on toxicological endpoints (e.g. mortality, biochemical markers) that are unexpected in some cases (e.g. down-regulation of heat shock protein 70 response in infected individuals). Therefore, parasites can bias the interpretation of results, for example if populations with different parasite profiles are compared, or if toxicological effects are masked by parasite effects. With the present review, we would like to encourage ecotoxicologists to consider parasites as an additional factor if field-collected test organisms are analyzed for biomarkers. Additionally, we suggest intensification of research activities on the effects of parasites in amphipods in connection with other stressors to disentangle parasite and pollution effects and to improve our understanding of parasite effects in this host taxon.


KEY WORDS: Test organism · Stress response · Accumulation · Pollution · Gammarid · LC50 · Microsporidia · Acanthocephala


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Cite this article as: Grabner D, Sures B (2019) Amphipod parasites may bias results of ecotoxicological research. Dis Aquat Org 136:121-132. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03355

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