Parasites as conservation tools

Roderick B. Gagne, Kevin R. Crooks, Meggan E. Craft, Elliott S. Chiu, Nicholas M. Fountain-Jones, Jennifer L. Malmberg, Scott Carver, W. Chris Funk, Sue VandeWoude

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Parasite success typically depends on a close relationship with one or more hosts; therefore, attributes of parasitic infection have the potential to provide indirect details of host natural history and are biologically relevant to animal conservation. Characterization of parasite infections has been useful in delineating host populations and has served as a proxy for assessment of environmental quality. In other cases, the utility of parasites is just being explored, for example, as indicators of host connectivity. Innovative studies of parasite biology can provide information to manage major conservation threats by using parasite assemblage, prevalence, or genetic data to provide insights into the host. Overexploitation, habitat loss and fragmentation, invasive species, and climate change are major threats to animal conservation, and all of these can be informed by parasites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13719
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number1
Early online dateFeb 14 2021
StatePublished - Jun 11 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation, Ecology of Infectious Disease Program (NSF‐EID 1413925). We thank two anonymous reviewers and editors M. Burgman and E. Main for help improving this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Society for Conservation Biology


  • animal conservation
  • cambio climático
  • climate change
  • conservación animal
  • conservación de parásitos
  • especie invasora
  • habitat loss
  • invasive species
  • overexploitation
  • parasite conservation
  • pathogens
  • patógenos
  • pérdida del hábitat
  • sobreexplotación


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