The Role of Complex Vector Movement and Behavior in Disease Dynamics
Vectored disease systems are ideal for connecting complex systems and ecological dynamics. At minimum, they require understanding the dynamics of and interplay between three agents: the host, vector, and pathogen. Combining mathematical modeling with experiments, I explore how incorporating vector behavior, movement dynamics, and preference fundamentally alters our expectations of disease systems. In collaboration with Allison Shaw, Eric Seabloom, and Elizabeth Borer, I use the Barley yellow dwarf virus system to examine these questions and, additionally, to understand how vectored-disease alters the underlying host community. The Barely yellow dwarf virus is commonly found in California grasslands, and may play a key role in allowing Eurasian annual grasses to invade a previously perennial grassland ecosystem.