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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

A dearth of data: fitting parasitoids into ecological networks

Miller, Kirsten E.; Polaszek, Andrew; Evans, Darren M.


Studying parasitoids can provide insights into global diversity estimates, climate change impacts, and agroecosystem service provision. However, this potential remains largely untapped due to a lack of data on how parasitoids interact with other organisms. Ecological networks are a useful tool for studying and exploiting the impacts of parasitoids, but their construction is hindered by the magnitude of undescribed parasitoid species, a sparse knowledge of host ranges, and an under-representation of parasitoids within DNA-barcode databases (we estimate <5% have a barcode). Here, we advocate the use of DNA metabarcoding to construct the host-parasitoid component of multilayer networks. While the incorporation of parasitoids into network-based analyses has far ranging applications, we focus on its potential for assessing ecosystem service provision within agroecosystems.

Published in

Trends in Parasitology
2021, volume: 37, number: 10, pages: 863-874

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Polaszek, Andrew
Natural History Museum London
Evans, Darren M.
Newcastle University - UK

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG15 Life on land
SDG13 Climate action

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