Parasites and personality
How do parasites affect host behavior across time?
In 2009 Parker and colleagues developed a model for the evolution of host manipulation by trophically transmitted parasites to predict when such parasites should evolve to manipulate hosts. They proposed two categories of manipulation by parasites, suppression and enhancement, which are predicted to occur at different stages of parasite development. For example, when parasites are immature and not infective to definitive hosts, they are predicted to suppress host susceptibility to predation. However, once parasites are mature and infective to definitive hosts, they should enhance host susceptibility to predation to achieve transmission. When conducting our studies, we use repeated sampling of host behavior across parasite development to determine 1) how behavior changes across parasite development, 2) effects of infection on host personality (personality being defined as behaviors that are consistent across time and various contexts).