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Parasites as Biological Tags of Fish Populations: Advantages and Limitations

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The aim of this article is to review the existing field data on the potential use of parasites as biological tags of fish populations. Parasites that invade and persist in the host population are shown to be the best potential indicators of the movements of fish, or for stock identification. However, more virulent parasites can also be used as biological markers, if the coexistence between hosts and parasites is much longer than the migration time of the hosts. The advantages and limitations of parasites as biological tags are highlighted by using a basic mathematical model for macroparasite-host interactions. By allowing the parameters to vary around a standard value, the model has proved to be a useful tool for stock identification, with dispersion smaller than 3% when a single parameter is allowed to fluctuate. When more parameters are allowed to vary simultaneously, the fluctuations in the parameters must be kept within 50% of the mean value.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: IMAG, Mestbehandeling en Emissies, Wageningen, The Netherlands 2: Departamento de Física Aplicada, Facultad de Ciencias, Campus de Ourense, Universidad de Vigo, Ourense, Spain

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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