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Temporal stability of insular avian malarial parasite communities.


ABSTRACT: Avian malaria is caused by a diverse community of genetically differentiated parasites of the genera Plasmodium and Haemoproteus. Rapid seasonal and annual antigenic allele turnover resulting from selection by host immune systems, as observed in some parasite populations infecting humans, may extend analogously to dynamic species compositions within communities of avian malarial parasites. To address this issue, we examined the stability of avian malarial parasite lineages across multiple time-scales within two insular host communities. Parasite communities in Puerto Rico and St Lucia included 20 and 14 genetically distinct parasite lineages, respectively. Lineage composition of the parasite community in Puerto Rico did not vary seasonally or over a 1 year interval. However, over intervals approaching a decade, the avian communities of both islands experienced an apparent loss or gain of one malarial parasite lineage, indicating the potential for relatively frequent lineage turnover. Patterns of temporal variation of parasite lineages in this study suggest periodic colonization and extinction events driven by a combination of host-specific immune responses, competition between lineages and drift. However, the occasional and ecologically dynamic lineage turnover exhibited by insular avian parasite communities is not as rapid as antigenic allele turnover within populations of human malaria.

SUBMITTER: Fallon SM 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC1691613 | BioStudies | 2004-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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