Ali_PepperI am a CNRS researcher based at the University of Montpellier. My work looks mostly at the evolutionary ecology of host-parasite interactions across a variety of model systems. Recently I have also been dabbling in sex allocation.

Epidemiology and evolution in variable environments

This project, which began during a post-doc with Oliver Kaltz, investigates how fluctuations between stressful and permissive environments influences parasite epidemiology and evolution. This work is mostly done using the Paramecium-bacteria system, but also included some experiments using Pseudomonas and phage.

Coinfection and parasite evolution

Coinfection can have very different consequences for parasite transmission and host traits compared to corresponding single infections. During a post-doc with Yannis Michalakis we investigated how parasite transmission and host traits were impacted by coinfection in a mosquito-microsporidian system.

A current project is looking at parasite evolution in coinfections, comprising different spider mite species and plant viruses, on tomato host plants. The interactions between these different parasite species in the within-host environment are either competitive or facilitative. These different types of interactions may have different consequences for parasite evolution and levels of parasite induced harm inflicted on the host.

Sex allocation

Local mate competition (LMC), when mating occurs between the offspring of one or a few females, can select for female biased offspring sex ratios to reduce competition between brothers for mates, and increase the number of mates. A project that started as a post-doc with Isabelle Olivieri and Sara Magalhaes aims to investigate how females predict levels of LMC that will be experienced by their sons and adjust their sex allocation (investment in female versus male offspring) accordingly.

  • Science Stuff…