SICB Annual Meeting 2016
January 3-7, 2016
Oregon Convention Center - Portland, OR

Symposium: Parasites and Pests in Motion: Biology, Biodiversity and Climate Change

Climate change is now recognized as one of the most important alterations to ecosystems. Current data suggests that temperature-induced environmental changes will likely accelerate over time, dramatically impacting global distribution of species in both marine and terrestrial realms. Climate change may extend the range of natural enemies of some species, thereby exposing hosts, including potentially novel ones, to infestation in areas where they had previously been free from natural enemies. Natural enemies are harmful consumers, including parasites, pathogens, predators and micropredators (potential vectors of disease). Some of these natural enemies are especially of interest to humans, as they occur in large numbers as pests with commercial, ecological and medical impacts. In some cases, climate change may cause parasites to become more restricted in range and their hosts could experience release from negative impacts, causing cascading effects potentially at the level of ecosystems. Likewise, among a wide range of pests, including those of agricultural and aquacultural importance, temperature-induced habitat alterations have the potential to cause significant harm through their spread. With increasingly numerous reports on the range extensions of a wide diversity of parasites and pests, it is timely to organize an across the board taxonomic and ecological symposium to enable the exchange of knowledge on this critical topic. The symposium will foster a better understanding of the impacts of climate change on diverse host/parasite relationships, including modeling and prediction of how their distributions may change in the future.

Our objective in organizing this symposium is to bring together researchers working on a wide variety of natural enemies (parasites, pathogens and pests), to exchange knowledge on how aspects of global climate change (such as warming, sea level rise, ocean acidification, and altered precipitation) may alter the distribution and ecology of these organisms and their hosts. Ecologists have increasingly stressed the importance of parasites in controlling host populations, as well as composing vital trophic components in ecosystems. Thus, understanding how climate change impacts the distributions and aspects of hosts/parasite relationships has important implications. When broadened to include pests and pathogens as other natural enemies, the magnitude of these impacts is staggering, including many that have direct human impacts: medical (parasites of humans, disease vectors), veterinary (parasites of pets, livestock), food safety (parasites, pathogens and pests in agriculture, aquaculture, livestock). In addition, the ecological impacts of parasites are far ranging and include potentially influencing those hosts that are ecosystem engineers or provide critical ecosystem services.

Sponsors: DIZ, TCS


  • Christopher B. Boyko, Dowling College and American Museum of Natural History, NY, USA
  • Jason D. Williams, Department of Biology, Hofstra University, NY, USA

Speaker list and symposium program outline

S3.1 Monday, Jan. 4, 08:00 BURGE, C.A.*; GRONER, M.L.; BUCCI, J.; STAUDIGEL, P.; COX, R.; WYLLIE-ESCHEVERRIA, S.; FRIEDMAN, C.S.: Zostera marina and Crassostrea gigas as potential partners in an acidic ocean

S3.2 Monday, Jan. 4, 08:30 COSTELLO, MJ: Global biodiversity and biogeography of parasites

S3.3 Monday, Jan. 4, 09:00 DAVID, Andrew A*; MATTHEE, Conrad A; LOVEDAY, Benjamin R; SIMON, Carol A : Projected dispersal and range expansion of a potentially invasive polychaete in South Africa

S3.4 Monday, Jan. 4, 09:30 KRASNOV, B.R.*; KHOKHLOVA, I.S.: Climate or hosts? Factors determining flea species composition at a local versus a regional scale in the Palearctic

S3.5 Monday, Jan. 4, 10:30 HOPPER, JV: Parasites and Hosts in Motion: Two Case Studies from California

S3.6 Monday, Jan. 4, 11:00 KURIS, Armand M.: The Role of Infectious Processes in Ecosystems as Climate Changes

S3.7 Monday, Jan. 4, 11:30 MARCOGLIESE, D. J.: The distribution and abundance parasites in aquatic ecosystems in a changing climate: more than just temperature

S3.8 Monday, Jan. 4, 13:30 MORDECAI, E.A.*; WEIKEL, D.P.; GUDAPATI, P.; JOHNSON, L.R.; STEWART-IBARRA, A.; RYAN, S.J.: Climate change and the future of vector-borne disease transmission

S3.9 Monday, Jan. 4, 14:00 OKAMURA, Beth: Covert infections, host tolerance and environmental change

S3.10 Monday, Jan. 4, 14:30 SHIELDS, J.D.; SHIELDS, Jeffrey: Environmental influences on disease processes in crabs and lobsters

S3.11 Monday, Jan. 4, 15:00 BARBER, Iain*; MACNAB, Vicki; ISMAIL, Zalina: Effects of changing temperatures on the host-parasite interactions of an ecologically important aquatic parasite