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Contrasting parasite-mediated reductions in fitness within vs. between patches of a nematode host

Cite this dataset

Bubrig, Louis Thomas; Janisch, Anne Nicole; Tillet, Emily Marie; Gibson, Amanda (2022). Contrasting parasite-mediated reductions in fitness within vs. between patches of a nematode host [Dataset]. Dryad.


Host and parasites interact across spatial scales, but parasite-mediated fitness effects are often measured at local scales only. Recent work suggests that parasites can reduce host fitness during dispersal between patches, highlighting the potential for both within- and between-patch effects to contribute to the net fitness consequences of parasitism. Building on this work, we measured the contribution of the dispersal phase to parasite-mediated reductions in host fitness. We used the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and its natural microsporidian parasite Nematocida parisii to quantify the fitness consequences of parasitism at the individual, population, and metapopulation level. N. parisii reduced individual fecundity and population growth but had its greatest fitness impact at the dispersal stage: parasitism reduced the fitness of dispersing larvae by 63 – 100%. These results indicate that the cost of parasitism in this system is greatly underestimated if the metapopulation level is not taken into account. We also found that the effects of N. parisii vary with host genotype, and the relative advantage of the most resistant genotype increases with inclusion of the dispersal stage. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that host-parasite interactions at the dispersal stage magnify selection for parasite resistance.


There are six data sets measured the reduction in fitness of Caenorhabditis elegans when exposed to its natural parasite Nematocida parisii: these include assays of fecundity, survival, population growth, and dispersal success (three data sets). All data sets indicate the experiment (in title), genotypes involved, treatments, and doses where relevant.

Usage notes

README_Bubrig2022_Metadata includes descriptions of all the datasets with column identifiers. Bubrig2022_Scripts includes all scripts for analyses conducted for the paper. Tables S1 and S2 detail the design of the experiments with censored data points.


National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Award: R35 GM137975-01