Published: Oct. 24, 2018

EBIO Graduate Student, Angela Hansen and Amanda Hund, Ph.D. CU Boulder, 2017 are co-first authors on an important review paper recently published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, one of the premier journals in our field. The study, with Scott Taylor as a contributing author, examines the roles of parasites in hybrid zones of animals. The paper titled Parasites and Host Species Barriers in Animal Hybrid Zones is availble online.

Abstract: Species barriers are tested in hybrid zones when gene flow occurs between hybridizing species. Hybridization can erode species barriers, lead to the introgression of adaptive traits, or remain stable through time. Outcomes in hybrid zones are influenced by divergence between the hybridizing taxa, behavior, ecology, and geography. Parasites and pathogens play a major role in host fitness and appear to have varied impacts on species barriers in hybrid zones. We comprehensively reviewed the literature on parasitism in animal hybrid zones and present an evolutionary framework within which to consider parasite–hybrid interactions. Parasites most frequently show potential to contribute to species barrier breakdown in hybrid zones, but also frequently show potential to facilitate the maintenance of species barriers. Incorporating eco-immunology, parasite community theory, and spatiotemporal approaches will be important as genomic tools allow researchers to examine parasites and hybrid zones at greater resolution and in a diversity of natural habitats.

Congratulations to Angela, Amanda, and Scott!