A world of parasites
Our research focuses on host-microbial parasite systems (e.g., nematode hosts pictured here), which are excellent for examining the consequences of strong selection and coevolution in the lab and in the field. Increasingly, we are also examining symbiotic interactions across the mutualist-parasite continuum.
Parasites are amazing creatures, and their antagonism with hosts can drive some of the fastest evolutionary change observed. We have tracked such rapid evolution in host-parasite relationships and examined its consequences. We have also investigated effects of host-parasite interactions on biodiversity, across environments and amidst community complexity.
A major research focus involves using experimental evolution to study beneficial (protective) microbes that contribute to host defence against parasitic infection. Our discoveries have sparked a re-think of the ways in which hosts and parasites might interact over evolutionary time.
With all of our work, we set out to test evolutionary theory and investigate the processes and patterns arising from species interactions. The concepts we study are often generally applicable across nature. However, there is often additional value in our research for applied contexts. Parasites can be of significant medical and conservation relevance as they can cause devastating infectious diseases in humans and wildlife.