The Restoration of Parasites, Parasitoids, and Pathogens to Heathland Communities

Henson, K.S.E., P.G. Craze and J. Memmott

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Higher trophic level species such as parasites, parasitoids, and pathogens are frequently ignored in community studies, despite playing key roles in the structure, function, and stability of ecological communities. Furthermore, such species are typically among the last in a community to reestablish due to their reliance upon lower trophic level resources and a requirement for persistent, stable ecological conditions. Consequently their presence alone can be indicative of healthy ecosystems. Using replicated, quantitative food webs we studied the impacts of a restoration treatment upon the interactions of a tri-trophic community consisting of plants, their bumble bee pollinators, and the parasites, parasitoids, and pathogens of the bumble bees at heathland sites.

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Peer-reviewed Article