Alexandre Mestre Pérez , PhD, Postdoctoral fellow
I am interested in ecology and evolution of symbiont-host systems, and the application of metapopulation theory to symbionts. During my MS and PhD, I investigated spatial segregation as a mechanism of coexistence in feather mites. I also examined which factors influence geographical distribution, prevalence, abundance and genetic patterns of symbiont-host co-invaders, based on crayfish and their commensal ostracods (Entocytheridae). Hosts can be viewed as ephemeral patches containing local populations of symbionts, connected by dispersal between hosts. Now, my research is focused on applying a metapopulation view to symbiont-host systems. Among my current topics, I am working on a novel conceptual perspective to investigate range dynamics of symbionts by combining both metapopulation and niche theories. I am also investigating evolution of dispersal in metapopulations with ephemeral patches. In this case, my question of interest is: What is the role of dispersal when the metapopulation approaches extinction? The next step in my current project will be to investigate metacommunity dynamics in ephemeral patches.