During this thesis, I will study the role of spatial structuring in epidemiology and in the (co)evolution of host-parasite relationships. Within experimental metapopulations of a unicellular model system (a species of paramecium (Paramecia caudatum) and a bacterial parasite species (Holospora undulata and/or Holospora obtusa), I will manipulate network structures and extinction/recolonization dynamics, track epidemic spread, and measure the concurrent evolution of traits related to dispersion and those involved in antagonistic interaction (resistance, infectivity, virulence, etc.).
Simultaneously, employing a modeling approach with system-specific parameterization, I will assess the predictability of outcomes based on different spatial/ecological scenarios. These models will need to consider the impact of potential trade-offs between different traits.
The originality or novelty of this work lies in its integration of metapopulation dynamics with eco-evolutionary processes that determine local transmission and global dispersion of infections.