Produced by Knowable Magazine with HunniMedia

Parasites do cause suffering, and even veterinarians and public health researchers are apt to view them as scourges to be eradicated. But Kevin Lafferty, a California scientist who’s spent three decades studying the parasites that infect sea otters, estuary snails, fish and other marine creatures, views them with an ecologist’s lens: They’re an integral part of marine ecosystems, that must be factored in to understand how those natural systems work. Even ecologists haven’t traditionally included them in the food webs — an issue that Lafferty worked hard to change.

For more information, check out our article “In praise of parasites.”