Host heterogeneities to infection shape the impact of climate change

Seminar Details
Thursday, November 2, 2017 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm


Isabella Cattadori, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
Penn State University


1210 Chemistry Dow Lab

Predictive models and experimental manipulations on climate changes and infectious diseases have primarily focused on how climate change can affect host exposure, such as the risk of infection and disease spread. However, host immunity to infections is an important source of variation among individuals and we need to take into account how this alters the way climate affects host-parasite interactions. Using a combination of long-term field observations, field and laboratory manipulations and mathematical modeling of a rabbit-helminth system, I explore whether heterogeneities in the host immune response exacerbate or suppress the impact of climate warming on the dynamics and persistence of two gastrointestinal helminths. Experimental trials and modelling simulations suggest that non-linearities in the system create complex interactions where climate impacts more heavily some hosts than others and at a specific time of the year.