The potential for arms race and Red Queen coevolution in a protist host-parasite system.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The dynamics and consequences of host-parasite coevolution depend on the nature of host genotype-by-parasite genotype interactions (G × G) for host and parasite fitness. G × G with crossing reaction norms can yield cyclic dynamics of allele frequencies ("Red Queen" dynamics) while G × G where the variance among host genotypes differs between parasite genotypes results in selective sweeps ("arms race" dynamics). Here, we investigate the relative potential for arms race and Red Queen coevolution in a protist host-parasite system, the dinoflagellate Alexandrium minutum and its parasite Parvilucifera sinerae. We challenged nine different clones of A. minutum with 10 clones of P. sinerae in a fully factorial design and measured infection success and host and parasite fitness. Each host genotype was successfully infected by four to ten of the parasite genotypes. There were strong G × Gs for infection success, as well as both host and parasite fitness. About three quarters of the G × G variance components for host and parasite fitness were due to crossing reaction norms. There were no general costs of resistance or infectivity. We conclude that there is high potential for Red Queen dynamics in this host-parasite system.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Zoology
  • Ecology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4775-4785
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch