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Extreme Competence: Keystone Hosts of Infections

Martin, Lynn B., Addison, BriAnne, Bean, Andrew G.D., Buchanan, Katherine L., Crino, Ondi L., Eastwood, Justin R., Flies, Andrew S., Hamede, Rodrigo, Hill, Geoffrey E., Klaassen, Marcel, Koch, Rebecca E., Martens, Johanne M., Napolitano, Constanza, Narayan, Edward J., Peacock, Lee, Peel, Alison J., Peters, Anne, Raven, Nynke, Risely, Alice, Roast, Michael J., Rollins, Lee A., Ruiz-Aravena, Manuel, Selechnik, Dan, Stokes, Helena S., Ujvari, Beata, Grogan, Laura F.
Trends in ecology & evolution 2019 v.34 no.4 pp. 303-314
host-parasite relationships, hosts, models, parasites
Individual hosts differ extensively in their competence for parasites, but traditional research has discounted this variation, partly because modeling such heterogeneity is difficult. This discounting has diminished as tools have improved and recognition has grown that some hosts, the extremely competent, can have exceptional impacts on disease dynamics. Most prominent among these hosts are the superspreaders, but other forms of extreme competence (EC) exist and others await discovery; each with potentially strong but distinct implications for disease emergence and spread. Here, we propose a framework for the study and discovery of EC, suitable for different host–parasite systems, which we hope enhances our understanding of how parasites circulate and evolve in host communities.