LTREB: Effects of Environmental Change on the Long Term Dynamics of Parasites in an Age Structured Host Population

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

Levels of parasite infection are influenced by variations in host susceptibility and exposure which in turn are determined by environmental conditions. A major challenge for disease workers is to predict how climate change will influence infection risk. This proposal aims to identify both the role of long-term climate change and seasonal variation in relation to changes in the abundance of parasite species in a community of parasites that inhabit a free living host population. The study is based on a unique long term dataset where rabbits have been sampled every month for 29 years. Details are collected on rabbits demography, parasite community structure and environmental data to test the hypothesis that climate warming has increased level of parasitism in species not regulated by immunity but not in species regulated by immunity. Insights will be integrated into seasonal models of increased complexity to provide a working explanation of how climate affects parasite and host ecology, predict future changes and identify means of making control effective. This detailed interdisciplinary scientific program has some very important broader impacts for our understanding of disease emergence and persistence. Not only will it provide one of the most comprehensive and insightful descriptions of how climate change can affect parasite community in different ways but will represent an ideal condition for training students in a broad range of lab/field techniques and data analyses and teach them how to operate within a dynamic and productive research team and have an international working experience.

StatusFinished
Effective start/end date12/15/0711/30/12

Funding

  • National Science Foundation: $472,975.00

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