Put the parasite on scale

Posted by Hamed Shateri Najafabadi

For the hardcore molecular biologists and those of us who used to look for protein names in articles, this is going to be a boring post; but to those who like surprises I should say this will be thrilling.

How much do you think the parasites weigh in an ecosystem? A team of researchers from 10 institutes, eight from USA, one from Mexico and one from Republic of Panama have spent five years as a part of a two million-dollar project to find out that parasites can even outweigh the top predators including birds and fish. The biomass of the transmission stage of trematodes all by itself exceeds the biomass of all birds. Their paper which was published a week ago in Nature accentuates the energetic implications of this finding. It is definitely a worthy paper to take a look at. Next time I’m thinking of something huge, I will think of the pile that all parasites from California would make!