Evol Ecol Res 8: 1333-1347 (2006)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

The evolution of parasite dispersal, transmission, and virulence in spatial host populations

Masashi Kamo1* and Mike Boots2

1Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Research Centre for Chemical Risk Management, Onogawa 16-1, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8569, Japan and  2Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK

Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
e-mail: masashi-kamo@aist.go.jp


Questions: How does parasite dispersal evolve? What is the impact of the evolution of parasite dispersal on the evolution of transmission and virulence?

Mathematical methods: Spatially explicit host parasite models with local and global interactions, analysed by pair approximation and simulation. Pairwise invasibility plots.

Key assumptions: Infected and susceptible hosts are arranged on a regular lattice. Infection can occur locally or globally with some probability. The proportion of long-distance infection and parasite life-history traits evolve by small mutations between haploid strains. There is no explicit cost to long-distance dispersal.

Conclusions: An intermediate degree of long-distance infection always evolves. This is due to a balance between the advantages from long-distance dispersal (avoiding local competition for susceptible hosts) and costs to dispersal (that emerge from the spatial heterogeneity of the hosts). Evolution maximizes parasite transmission rate in a spatially structured host population when parasite dispersal can also evolve. The evolution of parasite dispersal may lead to the concurrent evolution of higher parasite transmission and virulence than found in completely mixed populations. Interactions between the completely local and global are therefore important.

Keywords: disease, dispersal, evolution, evolutionarily stable strategy, models, parasites, spatial.

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