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Data from: Virulent disease epidemics can increase host density by depressing foraging of hosts

Citation

Penczykowski, Rachel et al. (2021), Data from: Virulent disease epidemics can increase host density by depressing foraging of hosts, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.np5hqbzsd

Abstract

All else equal, parasites that harm host fitness should depress densities of their hosts. However, parasites that alter host traits may increase host density via indirect ecological interactions. Here, we show how depression of foraging rate of infected hosts can produce such a hydra effect. Using a foraging assay, we quantified reduced foraging rates of a zooplankton host infected with a virulent fungal parasite. We then parameterized a dynamical model of hosts, parasites, and resources with this foraging function, showing how foraging depression can create a hydra effect. Mathematically, the hydra arose when increased resource productivity exceeded any increase in resource consumption per host. Therefore, the foraging-mediated hydra effect more likely emerged (1) for hosts that strongly control logistic-like resources and (2) during larger epidemics of moderately virulent parasites. We then analyzed epidemics from 13 fungal epidemics in nature. We found evidence for a foraging-mediated hydra effect: large outbreaks depressed foraging rate and correlated with increased densities of both algal resources and Daphnia hosts. Therefore, depression of foraging rate of infected hosts can produce higher host densities even during epidemics of parasites that increase host mortality. Such hydras might prevent collapse of host populations but also could produce higher densities of infected hosts.

Methods

This dataset contains data and code (MATLAB and R) for producing figures 1, 3, 4, 6, A1, and A3. Details of data collection can be found in the online supplementary materials published with this article in American Naturalist.

Usage Notes

A README text file can be found in the .zip folder associated with each figure. Figures 3, A3, 4, and 6 are plotted in MATLAB. To make Figures 1 and A1, foraging functions are fit to feeding rate data in MATLAB, and then plots are created in R.

Funding

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-0841679

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-0841817

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1120316