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Fish population studies using parasites from the Southeastern Pacific Ocean: considering host population changes and species body size as sources of variability of parasite communities


Research using parasites in fish population studies in the South Eastern Pacific (SEP) is summarized. There are 27 such studies (snapshots mainly) in single host species sampled at different geographic localities and at somewhat similar times. They have been devoted mainly to economically important species, though others on coastal and intertidal fish or on less- or non-commercial species provide insights on scales of temporal and spatial variation of parasite infracommunities. Later, we assess whether the probability of harbouring parasites depends on the host species body size. Our results indicate that a stronger tool for fish population studies may be developed under regular (long term) scrutiny of parasite communities, especially of small fish host species, due to their larger variability in richness, abundance and total biomass, than in large fish species. Finally, it might also be necessary to consider the effects of fishing on parasite communities as well as the natural oscillations (coupled or not) of host and parasite populations.

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* Corresponding author: Departamento de Ecología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, Concepción, Chile. E-mail:
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