August 24 (Thu) at 16:00 - 17:00, 2023 (JST)
  • Jhelam Deshpande (Ph.D. Student, Biodiversity: dynamics, interactions and conservation team, Institute of Evolutionary Science of Montpellier, France)
  • via Zoom
Thomas Hitchcock

As all biological and many artificial systems, hosts and their parasites are most often spatially structured. Besides this highly relevant spatial context, parasites may change through time due to to evolutionary processes, including mutation and selection. These facts imply that we must study host-parasite systems taking into account space and evolution. Past work has mainly focused on simple spatial structures, but how parasites evolve in realistically complex landscapes remains unclear, hampering the translation of theoretical predictions to real ecological systems.Therefore, we here develop an eco-evolutionary metapopulation model of host-parasite interactions in which hosts and parasites disperse through realistically complex spatial graphs. Parasite virulence, a parasite life-history trait of central importance that here impacts host reproduction, is able to evolve. Our model therefore captures the eco-evolutionary feedback loop between host demography and parasite evolution in space. In order to gain a general understanding of parasite eco-evolution in space, we analyse our model for spatial networks that represent terrestrial (represented by random-geometric graphs; RGG) and riverine aquatic (represented by optimal channel networks; OCN) landscapes. We find that evolved virulence is generally a function of host dispersal, with a unimodal relationship in aquatic and a saturating relationship in terrestrial landscape, and this is driven by higher order network properies. Consistent with previous work, we show that our results are driven by kin selection, because dispersal and landscape structure impact both patterns of relatedness and availability of susceptible hosts. Our model yields readily testable predictions, including that terrestrial parasites should be more virulent than aquatic parasites are low dispersal rates and vice versa as dispersal increases. These differences in evolved virulence directly lead to differences in system stability, with more virulent parasites more often leading to host extinction. Thus, in this study we highlight the role of landscape structure in driving eco-evolutionary dynamics of parasites.

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