How do parasites affect host foraging and antipredator behavior?
Infection with manipulative parasites is often associated with changes in neurotransmitters that are linked to activity, foraging, predator avoidance, and aggression. For example, F. parvipinnis infected with the manipulative Euhaplorchis californiensis trematode are known to become bolder and more active, and thus may have higher energy demands and increase foraging and other risk-taking behaviors. Hosts may also shift microhabitat preference, and spend more time higher in the water column. Manipulated killifish may additionally become more aggressive and compete more effectively for food and other resources. I am investigating how infection with E. californiensis affects killifish food competition and how parasite-associated behavioral changes influence killifish prey communities.