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Patterns of potential cross-species transmission in planktonic multihost-multiparasite communities
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  • Kristina McIntire,
  • Camden Gowler,
  • Mary Rogalski,
  • Clara Shaw,
  • Katherine Hunsberger,
  • Marisa Eisenberg,
  • Meghan Duffy
Kristina McIntire
University of Michigan

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Camden Gowler
University of Michigan
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Mary Rogalski
University of Michigan
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Clara Shaw
Penn State University Park
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Katherine Hunsberger
University of Michigan
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Marisa Eisenberg
University of Michigan School of Public Health
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Meghan Duffy
University of Michigan
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Most parasite species infect multiple host species, and reciprocally, most hosts are infected by multiple parasites. This leads to complex webs of interactions that influence disease within the community, making it challenging to understand and predict disease spread within the community and epidemics. Here, we used network approaches to analyze a multi-year time series dataset that includes eight zooplankton host species (in the Daphnia and Ceriodaphnia genera) and seven microparasite species to examine patterns of cross-species transmission. These analyses suggest that parasite species varied in their ability to infect multiple host species and in which host species they most commonly infected. Three parasites (the bacteria Pasteuria ramosa and Spirobacillus cienkowskii and the oomycete Blastulidium paedophthorum) showed signatures of relatively high cross species transmission, while the others seemed more restricted. Even for the three common multihost parasites, our approach also revealed differences in patterns of potential cross species transmission. For P. ramosa, two host species, Daphnia dentifera and D. retrocurva, seem particularly likely to transmit across species; in contrast, for S. cienkowskii, no host species stands out as particularly important for cross species transmission. Additionally, these patterns matched those describing epidemic size, suggesting that infected host density may drive cross-species transmission. These results are based on observations of patterns of infection in natural communities, and therefore we cannot draw definitive conclusions about interspecific transmission in lakes. However, some of the patterns are supported by additional lines of evidence, and others point to interesting avenues for future research. Together, these findings provide additional evidence that network approaches can provide valuable insights into patterns of transmission in complex multihost-multiparasite communities in nature.
06 Sep 2023Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
07 Sep 2023Assigned to Editor
07 Sep 2023Submission Checks Completed
08 Sep 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
28 Oct 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
30 Oct 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor