16.8 Wednesday, Jan. 4 Parasite population genetic structure in relation to definitive host type FEIS, ME*; THIELTGES, DW; OLSEN, JL; DE MONTAUDOUIN, X; JENSEN, KT; BAZAÏRI, H; CULLOTY, SC; LUTTIKHUIZEN, PC; University of Groningen, the Netherlands, and Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research NIOZ, Den Burg, the Netherlands; Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research NIOZ, Den Burg, the Netherlands; University of Groningen, the Netherlands; University Bordeaux 1, France; University of Aarhus, Denmark; University Mohammed V Agdal, Rabat Agdal, Morocco; University College Cork, Ireland; Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research NIOZ, Den Burg, the Netherlands firstname.lastname@example.org
Population structure and dynamics are contentious issues in macroparasites because of their complex life cycle involving several host taxa during subsequent parasite life stages. The hosts often vary widely in dispersal potential with at present largely unknown effects on parasite population structure. Here, we take a comparative approach and study mitochondrial DNA variation in two macroparasite species that have the same first intermediate host species but have different definitive host types. We examined part of the cytochrome-c-oxidase gene for two digenean trematode parasites, Labratrema minimus and Gymnophallus choledochus, that have fish and birds as definitive hosts, respectively. Both infect the cockle Cerastoderma edule as first intermediate host. Samples of both parasites were obtained from cockle populations along the east Atlantic coast from Denmark to Morocco. The hypothesis was tested that birds as definitive hosts constitute larger connectivity and, hence, lower population genetic structure, than having fish as definitive hosts.