Shorecrab with parasite.
Parasites’ hidden roles

The opportunity of research-led teaching, should enable a new generation of students and upcoming researchers to unravel the hidden but often pivotal ecological roles of parasites and pathogens in marine ecosystems. Thieltges: ‘There are a multitude of direct effects of parasites on infected hosts that indirectly affect local communities and food webs as well. The distribution and abundance of parasites, in turn, is affected by the distribution of hosts and other ambient biota, leading to intricate relationships between biodiversity and disease risk.’

Species invasions

David Thieltges also sees new parasites entering marine ecosystems and influences on ecosystems due to climate change. Changing environments in the course of climate warming and species invasions are likely to affect both the distribution and the effects of parasites and diseases, which according to Thieltges could have far-reaching repercussions for conservation and management. With the appointment, he complements the existing diverse marine research activities at the RUG on the ecology and conservation of marine ecosystems.