Metrics matter: The effect of parasite richness, intensity and prevalence on the evolution of host migration

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Abstract

Parasites have long been thought to influence the evolution of migration, but precisely determining the conditions under which this occurs by quantifying costs of infection remains a challenge. Here we developed a model that demonstrates how the metric used to describe infection (richness/diversity, prevalence or intensity) shapes the prediction of whether migration will evolve. The model shows that predictions based on minimizing richness yield opposite results compared to those based on minimizing prevalence, with migration only selected for when minimizing prevalence. Consistent with these findings, empirical studies that measure parasite diversity typically find that migrants are worse off than residents, while those measuring prevalence or intensity find the opposite. Our own empirical analysis of fish parasite data finds that migrants (of all types) have higher parasite richness than residents, but with no significant difference in either prevalence or intensity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20182147
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume285
Issue number1891
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 21 2018

Keywords

  • Comparative analysis
  • Disease ecology
  • Evolutionarily stable strategy
  • Host–parasite interaction
  • Mathematical model
  • Movement ecology

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