About this Research Topic
Disease ecology, as well as evolutionary parasitology, emphasize the importance of ecological interactions between microparasites (pathogenic microorganisms), macroparasites, and animal hosts in understanding disease and parasite transmission (“the epidemiological theater”). The role of diseases and parasites as ecological and evolution forces at all ecological levels from organisms, populations, communities, to ecosystems invites growing interest from the perspective of evolutionary ecology. Some of the challenging aspects are the integration of evolution and co-evolution (virulence, resistance) in disease ecology, competition between parasites, within-host pathogen and parasite dynamics , as well as the integration of disease transmission in a spatial context (landscape ecology). The ongoing global changes (climate change, biodiversity loss, land use changes), push research in disease and parasite ecology to be also more predictive. Disease and parasite ecologists use a wide range of tools and techniques including: (1) molecular approaches developed from pathogens screening, new trough-output technologies; (2) genetic approaches developed from population genetics, phylogenetics, and phylogeography; (3) quantitative approach developed from epidemiology and population ecology; (4) theoretical approach developed from mathematical epidemiological models; and (5) spatial analyses developed from remote sensing technologies, geographic information systems, and landscape ecology. Examples can include processes of phenotypic variations of microbes and parasites, adaptation of animals to a long-term exposure to pathogens, discovery of horizontally transmitted genetic material that can lead to increasing virulence or antibiotic resistance in microbial populations, and the size and connectivity of animal populations and metapopulations, which can contribute to pathogen and parasite persistence.
This Research Topic aims to investigate advances, but also identify gaps in the fields of disease ecology, transmission ecology, and evolutionary ecology of diseases, using mammals and their microbes (microparasites) and parasites (macroparasites) as models. A special challenge to interoperation of the complexity of pathogens and infectious diseases is associated with a wide application of genetic markers in the study of infectious agents and barcoding their arthropod vectors and vertebrate hosts. We welcome authors to contribute to this Research Topic by submitting original studies, both empirical and theoretical. In particular, we encourage the submission of studies that combine several disciplines and tools such as genetics and landscape ecology, genetics and epidemiology, remote sensing and epidemiology, community ecology and disease transmission, dynamics of transmission of multi-hosts multi-pathogens, coevolution and coadaptation in host-parasite interactions, and virulence evolution in changing landscape (among others).
Reviews are welcome in this challenging domain of evolutionary ecology of disease transmission, such as how integrated studies disease ecology may contribute effectively to disease surveillance or to emerging zoonotic diseases. We also encourage the submission of perspectives manuscript on the integration of disease ecology in several broad frameworks such as One Health, EcoHealth, or Planetary Health.
Keywords: Disease ecology, evolutionary epidemiology, mammals, host-parasite relations, microparasites, macroparasites
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.