- Influence of the environment on immunity and host-parasite interactions
- Evolutionary ecology of trans-generational immunity
- Defence ensemble evolution and consequences
Influence of the environment on immunity and host-parasite interactions
The world that we live in is a very changeable one, with environments varying over both space and time. How host-parasite interactions are influenced by this environmental variation will have important consequences fro understanding diversity, host-parasite dynamics, and a number of linked phenomenon. The research in this area addresses how naturally relevant variation in the abiotic and biotic environments of both host and parasites influences the outcome of infections.
Evolutionary ecology of trans-generational immunity
Under certain circumstances it is beneficial for mothers to transmit levels of immunity to their offspring appropriate to their own experience of parasites. Previous work has shown this to be the case for antibacterial immunity in bumblebees and beetles. The research in this area looks closer at the mechanisms that underlie this phenomenon in insects, and further place trans-generational immune priming into an evolutionary ecology framework, including considerations of costs and benefits.
Defence ensemble evolution and consequences
Components of host immune defence (which make up the defence ensemble) will have coevolved not only with parasites and pathogens, but with each other. Interactions within these defence ensembles may enable a greater efficiency of immune defence to be achieved and also have the potential to reduce the prospect of resistance evolution in parasites and pathogens. The research in this area investigates the evolution of these defence communities, their interactions, and the consequences for parasites and pathogens.