Journal article

Parasites and pathogens lag behind their host during periods of host range advance

Ben L Phillips, Crystal Kelehear, Ligia Pizzatto, Gregory P Brown, Di Barton, Richard Shine



The process of rapid range expansion (as seen in many invasive species, and in taxa responding to climate change) may substantially disrupt host-parasite dynamics. Parasites and pathogens can have strong regulatory effects on their host population and, in doing so, exert selection pressure on host life history. We construct a simple individual-based model of host-parasite dynamics during range expansion. This model shows that the parasites and pathogens of a range-expanding host are likely to be absent from the host's invasion front, because stochastic events (serial founder events) in low-density frontal populations result in local extinctions or transmission failure of the parasite/pathoge..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

We thank Stuart Baird, Justin Travis, and Olivia Burton for useful discussion around spatial modeling during an Environmental Futures Network sponsored workshop in 2008. Two anonymous reviewers made many useful suggestions that improved the manuscript. Michelle Franklin patiently gave over her computer for running simulations. The Australian Research Council and Environmental Futures Network provided funding through grants to R. Shine and B. L. Phillips. Last, we also thank the Northern Territory Land Corporation and Department of Primary Industries staff at Beatrice Hill Farm, who provided important logistical assistance.