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Use of the host individual as a boundary for parasite populations and communities provides an unambiguous spatial unit that is useful for pattern description, but this framework precludes consideration of the host landscape and within-host population dynamics. Recognizing host individuals as spatially and temporally complex landscapes requires modified concepts of parasite populations and communities. An outline of the currently accepted hierarchies of parasite populations and communities is provided on the basis of ecological neighborhoods that are delineated by discrete habitat patches or functional dynamics (or both), as opposed to host individuals. This parasite-based framework accommodates consideration of both within- and among-host dynamics and facilitates investigation into the mechanisms by which these 2 levels of investigation interact.

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