Pathogens that spread by contact between hosts are highly dependent on the social and spatial contact network of the host population. For human societies, this contact network has dramatically changed over the last century, for instance because of long-distance air travel. In this project, the effects of changes in host mobility patterns on pathogen dynamics will be explored. In particular, the effect of increased host mobility on pathogen virulence (i.e. pathogen-induced loss of host fitness) will be investigated. This project will use innovative mathematical modelling techniques that merge ecological and evolutionary questions into a common framework. Specifically, the project will consider scenarios where the movements of hosts takes place at several spatial scales, and where changes in host movement patterns can occur. The project thus fits into the current growing interest for the evolutionary impact of spatial and social structure in ecology. Ultimately, the project aims at generating testable predictions that can be used to uncover strategies of virulence management that are adapted to the increased mobility of human populations. The results and methods will be applied to meningococcal disease and to an experimental host-parasite system.
Field of science
- /natural sciences/biological sciences/ecology
Call for proposal
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