Apr 3, 2020

Host-parasite dynamics set the ecological theatre for the evolution of state- and context-dependent dispersal in hosts

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
J. N. DeshpandeEmanuel A Fronhofer


While host-parasite interactions are ubiquitous, the large scale consequences of parasite infections are mainly driven by the spatial context. One trait of pivotal importance for the eco-evolutionary dynamics of such metapopulations is the spatial behaviour of hosts, that is, their dispersal. It is well established that dispersal is not a random process, rather dispersal is informed and may depend on internal and external factors. In host-parasite metapopulations, dispersal may be a function of a host's infection state, but also of the local context, such as host density or parasite prevalence. Using a dynamical host-parasite metapopulation model, we explore whether host dispersal evolves to be state- and context-dependent and what shapes the evolutionarily stable dispersal reaction norms have. We show that state-dependent dispersal readily evolves in the sense that hosts disperse more when infected. This dispersal bias evolves due to kin selection which is consistent with previous studies. Most importantly, we show that prevalence-dependent dispersal evolves, especially when virulence is high and epidemiological dynamics have predictable signatures. The observed evolutionary outcome, a negatively prevalence-dependent dispersal...Continue Reading

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Initial Segment of Axon
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