Variation in resource acquisition and use among host clones creates key epidemiological trade-offs

Spencer R. Hall, Claes R. Becker, Meghan A. Duffy, Carla E. Cáceres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parasites can certainly harm host fitness. Given such virulence hosts should evolve strategies to resist or tolerate infection. But what governs those strategies and the costs that they incur? This study illustrates how a fecundity-susceptibility trade-off among clonally reared genotypes of a zooplankton (Daphnia dentifera) infected by a fungal parasite (Metschnikowia) arises due to variation in resource acquisition and use by hosts. To make these connections we used lab experiments and theoretical models that link feeding with susceptibility energetics and fecundity of hosts. These feeding-based mechanisms also produced a fecundity-survivorship trade-off. Meanwhile a parasite spore yield-fecundity trade-off arose from variation in juvenile growth rate among host clones (another index of resource use) a result that was readily anticipated and explained by the models. Thus several key epidemiological trade-offs stem from variation in resource acquisition and use among clones. This connection should catalyze the creation of new theory that integrates resourceand gene-based responses of hosts to disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)557-565
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Consumer-resource
  • Control-fecundity trade-off
  • Daphnia
  • Host-parasite
  • Metschnikowia
  • Resistance-fecundity trade-off

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Variation in resource acquisition and use among host clones creates key epidemiological trade-offs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this