Disease in freshwater zooplankton: What have we learned and where are we going

Carla E. Cáceres, Alan J. Tessier, Meghan A. Duffy, Spencer R. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the last few decades, zooplankton (especially Daphnia) have emerged as a model system for examining the ecological and evolutionary roles of parasites in populations, communities and ecosystems. We build on this foundation, moving towards continued integration of epidemiology and community ecology to understand the distribution and abundance of infectious diseases. Future studies should link processes that occur over multiple time scales: from deep-time phylogenetic patterns that have shaped and been shaped by host-parasite interactions, to the dynamics that play out over decades or within seasons, to the physiological time scales over which parasites operate to infect and kill their hosts. We also consider how the combination of processes across multiple time scales has shaped the biogeography and changing mosaic of host-parasite interactions in time and space. Finally, we consider a future where zooplankton-parasite interactions are influenced by global change. The Daphnia-parasite model system offers a powerful tool to link anthropogenic changes to infectious diseases, including zoonotic diseases of significance to human health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-333
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Plankton Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014


  • Daphnia
  • Host
  • Parasite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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