Past Research

  1. Space and disease

  2. Viral sharing macroecology

  3. Life history and fitness

 
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 Space and Disease

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Spatial variation affects everything.

How does spatial behaviour determine individuals’ immunity and parasitism?

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.

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This is a spatial field from my paper on spatial distributions of immunity and parasitism in the Isle of Rum red deer.

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,

Spatial patterns can act even at very small scales, in well-mixed populations.

Next, Dan Becker and I are investigating landscape-scale variation in immune phenotypes in a forthcoming review paper and potential meta-analyses.

I’ve also done some work on time: different individuals show different seasonal fluctuations of parasitism, as shown in my first paper, and spatial patterns of immunity and infection vary seasonally.

P.S. My wonderful friends also made these spatial fields into some cakes for my viva:

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 Viral Sharing Macroecology

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This work was done in conjunction with Kevin Olival and Noam Ross at EcoHealth Alliance in New York, over 3 months in the last year of my PhD. The resulting paper exists as a preprint with all the code on my github.

Most previous analyses of wild mammal viruses have focussed on subsets of mammals, identifying specific taxa and phenotypic traits that are associated with high viral diversity. We took a different perspective by asking:

Which factors contribute to viral sharing among mammal species? Can we use these factors to predict viral sharing patterns at a global scale?

Using a previously constructed network of hosts and viruses (see the paper here and the data here), I looked at the factors contributing to viral sharing among pairs of mammals.

My poster, which I presented at EEID2019, is below to give some background. And if you’d like to see a 30-second limerick I performed to promote the poster, check out this link.

Watch this space for more on viral sharing across mammals in the future!

 
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The immune system and the parasites they fight have a unique place in an organism’s biology.

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.

 
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