Prospects for elucidating the phylogeny of the apicomplexa

The fast adaptation and evolution of the alewife to the freshwater environment has been shown to be a result of large regulatory modifications, rather than coding changes (Czesny et al., 2012), and phenotypic changes, such as reduction in gill-raker spacing to adapt to feeding on small plankton found in freshwater, occurred over a short time period (Palkovacs et al., 2014).The ecology of parasites is directly related to the host environment, and the fast adaptation of the landlocked alewife to a new ecological niche would likely impact the ecology of parasites in this species.These differences may either be attributed to differences in the host type or to the sporulation environment.Lastly, alewives from landlocked populations were frequently co-infected with a second coccidian species in the posterior intestine, which occurred at a lower prevalence.

Divergence of anadromous alewives into a solely freshwater niche led to major phenotypic changes that distinguish the derived landlocked form from the anadromous form, including earlier age and smaller size at maturity, slower adult growth, and reduced fecundity (Gross, 1951, Graham, 1956). (2013) have demonstrated that body form is different in landlocked and anadromous alewives, and is associated with population-level dietary patterns.However, little information is known about the impacts of infectious diseases, including parasites, in alewives, making it difficult to obtain a full picture of the factors involved in population declines or failed recovery of this species.The negative impacts of diseases and parasites of other clupeid species have been studied in more depth.The landlocked alewife evolved from ancestral anadromous populations, resulting in an exclusively freshwater and phenotypically unique form.The occurrence of parasites in a host is linked to the environment, making alewives an ideal model to compare parasitology within a single species with contrasting life histories.

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