1. We describe the dynamics of host–parasite interactions over a period of more than 30 years between the freshwater diatom Asterionella formosa and two highly virulent chytrid parasites (Rhizophydium planktonicum and Zygorhizidium planktonicum) in Lake Maarsseveen, The Netherlands. This period is characterised by a significant warming trend which is strongest in spring.
2. The key spring event in lakes, the diatom bloom, was in many years dominated by Asterionella. We examine whether and how climate warming has affected the prevalence of infection in Asterionella by chytrids.
3. In years with cold winters/early springs, a dense Asterionella bloom is followed by epidemic development of disease as high Asterionella densities greatly facilitate transmission of chytrid zoospores. This sequence of events is absent in milder winters.
4. Earlier experimental studies have shown that the parasite is almost non-infective at water temperatures below 3 °C, offering a disease-free window of opportunity for growth of Asterionella. Climate warming has reduced periods in which water temperature remains