If you haven’t seen it yet, there’s a recent Science paper by Johnson et al. (2015) entitled, “Why infectious disease research needs community ecology.” If you’re a disease ecologist, it probably won’t come as a surprise to you that infectious disease research needs community ecology. If you’re not a disease ecologist, check out this paper for a quick, informative read!
I was happy to see that Johnson et al. (2015) emphasized the importance of looking at symbiont communities as well as host communities when considering the spread of parasites and pathogens. The importance of symbiont communities is still not as widely recognized as I think it should be, and this paper does a great job of giving concrete examples of systems where coinfection by parasites/pathogens or the presence of non-pathogenic symbionts influence the spread of a single parasite within a host population or community.
If you’re looking for more examples where understanding the spread of parasites and pathogens required a detailed understanding of community ecology, check out some of these previous blog posts:
Considering symbiont communities is important:
Considering host communities is important:
Considering heterogeneity among individuals and species is important:
Johnson, P.T.J., J.C. de Roode, and A. Fenton. 2015. Why infectious disease research needs community ecology. Science 349(6252): 1259504.