Space and disease
Viral sharing macroecology
Life history and fitness
Spatial variation is often thought of as an unfortunate truth that needs to be controlled for in ecoimmunology/disease ecology, rather than something that is interesting in its own right.
I take the opposite perspective: investigating spatial behaviour can provide a wealth of information, increases statistical power, and looks great.
Using individual deer’s movements we demonstrated that individuals living in different parts of the study area have very different immune and parasite phenotypes - even within the scale of a few kilometres! Therefore,
Next, Dan Becker and I are investigating landscape-scale variation in immune phenotypes in a forthcoming review paper and potential meta-analyses.
P.S. My wonderful friends also made these spatial fields into some cakes for my viva:
Changes in one area of an organism’s life can lead to changes in immunity and parasitism which later come back to bite them, altering fitness outcomes. This can all become incredibly complex when taking into account multiple aspects of an organism’s phenotype including reproduction, physiology, immunity, parasitism, and survival.
I’ve written a few papers on the topic:
A review paper with a fantastic diverse team of collaborators, explaining how to study immunity-parasitism-fitness interrelationships in an organismal context (Albery et al., in review).
The second chapter of my PhD, demonstrating using the Isle of Rum red deer that reproduction can have different costs for immunity and parasitism (Albery et al., in review)
The third chapter of my PhD, showing that reproduction-induced increases in parasitism can have knock-on consequences for multiple different fitness outcomes (Albery et al., not yet submitted)
You can read more about the Isle of Rum red deer population here.