About this Research Topic
In world ecosystems, no organism exists in absolute isolation, and thus every organism must interact with the environment and other organisms. Parasitism is one of the most common symbiotic interactions in nature. It is integral to all aspects of biology and occurs in almost all environments. Parasites in nature are largely dominated by viruses and microbes (i.e. microparasites) typically characterized by their small size, a short generation time, high rates of reproduction, and perhaps a simple life cycle, usually completed within a single host. These parasites have either positive or negative effects on their host and the interacting couples, either directly or indirectly via, for example, the secretion of chemical mediators or the effects on - or from - a third or other biological entity, such as their proper parasites (i.e. tripartite or multipartite interactions).
Next generation sequencing data from the recent circumglobal Tara Oceans expeditions clearly demonstrated that symbionts, primarily those with parasitic life styles, largely dominate the diversity and the network of biotic interactions that largely prevail over abiotic interactions in global plankton. These dominant parasitic interactions are sources of ecological forces such as: competitive exclusion, niche expansion, ecological adaptation, horizontal gene transfer, resistance to environmental stress, predators, or to other parasites. All these forces are known to shape the maintenance of life and its evolution. This is ultimately because reciprocal antagonism locks parasite and host populations into a process of constant change, adapting and reacting in open-ended coevolution.
This research topic invites contributions of broad interest, that address all aspects of parasites and other biological associations in aquatic sciences: method development, life cycle, interactions with hosts and competing microbes, multipartite interactions, Queen dynamics, inter-actomics, molecular dialogue, host manipulation, coevolution, effects on food webs and biogeochemical cycles, etc.
Keywords: Next Generation Sequencing technologies, parasites, microbial taxa, Viral, prokaryotic, and eukaryotic parasites
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