We are examining how myxozoans have evolved to parasitise colonial hosts by considering the evolutionary history of the exploiter and exploited.
Host-parasite interactions are usually understood by looking at traditional systems, such as the malaria parasite infecting animal hosts. However, colonial animals such as bryozoans present a different model.
Bryozoans offer endoparasites a potentially unlimited, genetically homogenous resource to exploit.
We are researching:
- morphological simplification of myxozoans (eg from active worms to sacs and plasmodia)
- cycling between developmental stages depending on host condition
- local adaptation between parasites and hosts
- the origins of endoparasitism