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Presented By: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

EEB Thursday Seminar Series - Hosts on the run: disease and the evolution of dispersal

with Amanda Gibson, Assistant Professor, University of Virginia

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This event is part of our ongoing Thursday Seminar Series.

Abstract: Much of our empirical and theoretical understanding of host-parasite interaction begins with an assumption of engagement, in which host meets parasite and battle ensues. Hosts may, however, prevent engagement in the first place, by actively or passively avoiding parasites. As the front line of defense, avoidance may dictate patterns of disease spread, the strength and nature of parasite-mediated selection, and the potential for coevolution. My lab’s work specifically evaluates dispersal as a mechanism of parasite avoidance using the model nematode C. elegans and its natural microsporidian parasites. I’ll present theoretical and empirical results suggesting that 1) dispersal can sharply limit the spread of disease in metapopulations, and 2) parasites favors individuals that are prone to disperse. Together, our work supports avoidance strategies as architects of disease spread and defense evolution.

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