Parasite effects on host's trophic and isotopic niches

Ana Born-Torrijos*, Philip Riekenberg, Marcel T. J. van der Meer, Milen Nachev, Bernd Sures, David W. Thieltges

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Wild animals are usually infected with parasites that can alter their hosts’ trophic niches in food webs as can be seen from stable isotope analyses of infected versus uninfected individuals. The mechanisms influencing these effects of parasites on host isotopic values are not fully understood. Here, we develop a conceptual model to describe how the alteration of the resource intake or the internal resource use of hosts by parasites can lead to differences of trophic and isotopic niches of infected versus uninfected individuals and ultimately alter resource flows through food webs. We therefore highlight that stable isotope studies inferring trophic positions of wild organisms in food webs would benefit from routine identification of their infection status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-759
Number of pages11
JournalTrends in parasitology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept-2023


  • host–parasite interaction
  • stable isotopes
  • uninfected individuals

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