Should parasites stabilize or destabilize their host populations?
Theory predicts that parasites can stabilize their host populations by increasing host mortality and preventing hosts from overgrazing their resources. My research tests these theoretical predictions by incorporating:
(1) Changes in host-stage structure (which in the absence of disease can strongly influence population stability), combined with parasites that asymmetrically affect juvenile and adult hosts (e.g., via ontogenetic differences in exposure and susceptibility to parasites).
(2) Cross-scale interactions that drive the evolution of parasite transmission virulence.
Hite J.L. and C.E. Cressler. Resource-driven changes to host population stability alter the evolution of virulence and transmission. 2018. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, B. .pdf
Shocket, M. S., D., Vergara, A. Sickbert, J. Walsman, A.T., Strauss, J.L. Hite, M.A., Duffy, C.E., Cáceres, S.R., Hall. 2018. Parasite-rearing and infection temperatures jointly influence disease transmission and shape seasonality of epidemic. Ecology 99:1975-1987. .pdf
Orlando, P.A., Hite. J.L., and Spencer R. Hall. Disease as a cause of cohort cycles: theory for disease in a physiologically structured host population. In revision