Host-parasite interactions and demography in space: dispersal and local interactions in arctic seabirds
The aim of this research project is to examine the response of animal populations to environmental variability at different spatial scales. The study system is a host-parasite system at three levels, involving arctic seabirds as hosts, the tick Ixodes uriae as their ectoparasite and microparasites such as Lyme disease agent Borrelia burgdorferi and arboviruses. The role of the variability in host phenotypic responses (immunology and behaviour) and of the coevolution between the hosts and the vector tick for the ecology and evolution of such interactions at different scales will continue to be studied. The long term data gathered in a spatial context enables us to address two particular challenges which are faced in Arctic areas where rapid changes occur: (1) how to monitor and understand the response of threatened populations to changes occurring at a hierarchy of scales, and (2) whether and how the study of infectious disease of wildlife is relevant in such contexts.