Host-parasite interactions and global climate oscillations.
ABSTRACT It is suspected that host-parasite interactions are influenced by climatic oscillations such as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). However, the effects of climatic oscillations on host-parasite interactions have never been investigated. A long-term (1982-1999) dataset of the host snail Lymnaea stagnalis and trematode metacercariae infection has been collected for Lake Chany in Western Siberia. Using this dataset, we estimated the impact of the NAO on the population dynamics of hosts and parasites as well as their interactions. The results of general linear models showed that the abundance of dominant parasite species and the total parasite abundance significantly increased with NAO, with the exception of Moliniella anceps. Other climatic and biological factors were relatively weak to explain the abundance. There was no significant relationship between NAO and the population density of host snails. The prevalence of infection was related to the total abundance of parasites, but not to the NAO. Thus, the responses to the NAO differed between the host and parasites, indicating mismatching in host-parasite interactions. Therefore, climatic oscillations, such as the NAO, influence common parasitism.