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Data from: Invasive species reduces parasite prevalence and neutralizes negative environmental effects on parasitism in a native mosquito

Cite this dataset

Westby, Katie M. et al. (2019). Data from: Invasive species reduces parasite prevalence and neutralizes negative environmental effects on parasitism in a native mosquito [Dataset]. Dryad.


1.Invasive species research often focuses on direct effects of invasion on native ecosystems and less so on complex effects such as those influencing host‐parasite interactions. However, invaders could have important effects on native host‐parasite dynamics. Where infectious stages are ubiquitous and native host‐pathogen specificity is strong, invasive less‐competent hosts may reduce the pool of infectious stages, effectively reducing native host‐parasite encounter rate. Alternatively, invasive species could alter transmission via changes in native species abundance. 2.Biotic and abiotic environmental factors can also impact disease dynamics by altering host or parasite condition. However, little is known about potential interactive effects of invasion and environmental context on native species disease dynamics. Moreover, experimental examinations of the mechanisms driving dilution effects are limited, but serve to provide tests of predictions leading to diversity‐disease relationships. 3.Using field and laboratory experiments, we tested competing hypotheses that an invasive species reduces the prevalence of a native parasite in its host by removing infectious propagules from the environment or by reducing native host abundance. In addition, we evaluated the role of detritus quantity as a resource base in mediating effects of the invasive species. 4.Native parasite prevalence was reduced when the invasive species was present. Prevalence was also higher in high detritus habitats, although this effect was lost when the invasive species was present. The invasive species significantly reduced infectious propagules from the aquatic habitats. Presence of the invasive species had no effect on the native species abundance; thus, the reduction in parasitism was not due to changes in host density but through a reduction in infectious propagule encounters. 5.We conclude that an invasive species can facilitate a native species by reducing parasite prevalence via a dilution effect and that these effects can be modified by resource level. Reductions in parasitism may have ripple effects throughout the community, altering the strength of competitive interactions, predation rates, or coinfection with other pathogens. We advocate considering potential positive effects of invasive species on recipient communities, in addition to effects of invasions on host‐parasite interactions to gain a broader understanding of the complex consequences of invasion.

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