Biophysics and Soft Matter Seminar

Eco-evolutionary dynamics and the parasitism-mutualism continuum

Ben Ashby, SFU Mathematics
Location: P8445.2

Monday, 03 April 2023 01:30PM PDT


Animals and plants host diverse microbial communities consisting of both harmful (parasitic) and beneficial (mutualistic) species. However, these roles are not fixed; roles may depend on which other species are present in the host microbiome, and parasitic and mutualistic traits are subject to natural selection. Microbes exist along a continuum between parasitism and mutualism, but we know very little about what drives some to be parasitic and others to be mutualistic. Crucially, we do not know how microbial interactions within a host combine with transmission between hosts to drive selection along the parasitism-mutualism continuum. This is especially important in the context of biocontrol, where we may seek to introduce biological agents to manage infectious diseases. In this seminar, I will first discuss the importance of the relationship between ecological and evolutionary dynamics, before discussing some of my recent research in the context of the host microbiome.