Department of Biology IUB

Ecolunch: "Cascade-fueled epidemics: Predators spread infectious disease by enhancing within-host parasite production." Maja Sljivar (Hall lab).

Event series runs weekly on Monday from Jan 23 to May 8, 2017.

Predators may strongly suppress or spread epidemics, so it is important to understand when and how each outcome arises. For example, predators can suppress epidemics by culling prey populations and hence inhibiting their density-dependent transmission of parasites. Then again, predators can also spread disease through several other mechanisms which need to be evaluated to prevent major mistakes in disease control efforts (i.e., manipulation of predators). Here, I evaluate a ‘cascade fueling’ hypothesis for disease spread by predators. In this hypothesis, predators fuel disease, despite depressing host density, because the resource release (via trophic cascade) increases parasite production per host.  First, I detect signatures of cascade fueling in multi-year field survey of Midwestern freshwater lakes. Then, I evaluate predictions of a simple mathematical model with a mesocosm experiment completed in fall of 2016. I use all three modes of inference to introduce a general mechanism for predator-mediated disease spread through trophic cascades.​

Monday March 20, 2017 12:00 PM
Monday March 20, 2017 01:00 PM
Jordan Hall 123 (Lieber Room)
Amelia Snyder
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