The new supplemental issue of the American Naturalist contains a paper by former postdoc Stuart Auld et al. that focuses on how predation and patterns of within-host growth by parasites can influence competition and evolution of parasites. Predation by the “sloppy predator” Chaoborus creates a niche for a common fungal parasite, Metschnikowia bicuspidata, allowing it to outcompete the slower bacterium Pasteuria ramosa. A selection experiment showed that the bacterium can evolve to grow more quickly, but that this comes at a cost in terms of reduced maximal spore yield. We are currently following up on these findings that suggest that parasite life history and predation can interact to influence the ecology, evolution, and epidemiology of infectious diseases. Coauthors on this study include long-term collaborator Spencer Hall, former Duffy Lab technician Jessie Ochs, former Duffy Lab REU Mat Sebastian, and Meghan.
The supplement opens with a paper highlighting some of the interesting open questions in disease ecology and evolution. Curt Lively is the lead author on this paper; Meghan is one of four co-authors.