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Title: Gaps in modelling animal migration with evolutionary game theory: infection can favour the loss of migration
Ongoing environmental changes alter how natural selection shapes animal migration. Understanding how these changes play out theoretically can be done using evolutionary game theoretic (EGT) approaches, such as looking for evolutionarily stable strategies. Here, we first describe historical patterns of how EGT models have explored different drivers of migration. We find that there are substantial gaps in both the taxa (mammals, amphibians, reptiles, insects) and mechanisms (mutualism, interspecific competition) included in past EGT models of migration. Although enemy interactions, including parasites, are increasingly considered in models of animal migration, they remain the least studied of factors for migration considered to date. Furthermore, few papers look at changes in migration in response to perturbations (e.g. climate change, new species interactions). To address this gap, we present a new EGT model to understand how infection with a novel parasite changes host migration. We find three possible outcomes when migrants encounter novel parasites: maintenance of migration (despite the added infection cost), loss of migration (evolutionary shift to residency) or population collapse, depending on the risk and cost of getting infected, and the cost currency. Our work demonstrates how emerging infection can alter animal behaviour such as migration. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Half a century of evolutionary games: a synthesis of theory, application and future directions’.  more » « less
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Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
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National Science Foundation
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