Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Living Together – Parasites and Hosts


  • Title: Living Together – Parasites and Hosts
  • Air Date: May 19, 2016
  • Series: Smithsonian Science How webcasts, which are designed to connect natural history science and research to upper-elementary and middle-school students.

This video features Dr. Anna Phillips, a zoologist at the National Museum of Natural History. Did you know that parasites are some of the most abundant members of ecosystems? They make up as much as 60 percent of the biomass, and have complex relationships with the host organisms they depend on. See what Anna discovers from studying how parasites such as leeches and tapeworms relate to their hosts. Consider the significant roles parasites play in our lives and the ecosystems we inhabit. Gain a new perspective on parasites.

Teaching Resources

Parasites and Parasitism

National Middle School Standards

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Life Science

MS-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

  • MS-LS2-1: Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
  • MS-LS2-2: Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.
  • MS-LS2-4: Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.

Earth Science

MS-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity

  • MS-ESS3-4: Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
Resource Type
Videos and Webcasts
Grade Level
Life Science