Behavioral Competence: How Host Behaviors Can Interact to Influence Parasite Transmission Risk
Hosts vary in their ability to transmit new parasite infections (i.e. competence). Although behavior is suggested as a source of individual-level variation, the contribution of host behavior to host-parasite dynamics at the population-level remains largely enigmatic. Here we advocate that behavioral competence be characterized as a syndrome of behaviors that interact to directly or indirectly influence transmission potential. These behaviors can be plastic in response to environmental conditions and/or infection state, and appear linked to immunological traits through shared physiological regulation. By integrating behavioral variation and covariation into a whole-organism view of host competence, disease ecologists might more realistically characterize an individual's role in host-parasite systems.
Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Barron, D. G., Gervasi, S. S., Pruitt, J. N., & Martin, L. B. (2015). Behavioral competence: How host behaviors can interact to influence parasite transmission risk. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences 6: 35-40. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cobeha.2015.08.002