Mutualism Facilitation

Sometimes, by altering their host, parasites can alter communities dependent on these hosts or their actions. In one case, such manipulations can have dramatic and unexpected consequences for communities. The trematode Curtuteria australis reduces the ability of cockles to bury into New Zealand mudflats (perhaps this increases an infected clam's vulnerability to predation by final host birds). The shells ofinfected clams stick up out ofthe mud and provide a hard substrate for sessile invertebrates, such as limpets, that otherwise could not persist in the soft sediment. Parasites can affect substrate-forming species as well, shifting communities in the opposite direction. For instance, trematodes reduce populations of a tubebuilding corophiid amphipod, thereby destabilizing the sediment and altering the faunal composition of a Danish mudflat.

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