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INTECOL Update

Dear all,

I’m writing to update you on our latest event, the Ecology of Infectious Diseases double symposium we held at INTECOL last week. I would also like to welcome all our new members who have joined in the wake of the INTECOL event. 

intercol

Do please continue to spread the word to your colleagues and students and let’s continue to strengthen the great community that’s being forged here. 

Below Prof Mike Begon (Liverpool University) our SIG scientific advisor gives his thoughts on the symposium

Our SIG hosted an extremely successful symposium on the Community Ecology of Infectious Diseases at the INTECOL meeting. There were fifteen speakers in all, over two long sessions, and despite the inevitable unfortunate clashes with other sessions (notably the Bob May roadshow) attendance was excellent throughout. Speakers varied in their scale of focus – some concentrated on the role of infectious agents in ‘conventional’ communities, some on guilds of hosts and their parasites and pathogens, and some on the communities of parasites within individual hosts – and they varied too, as of course our discipline does, in their approaches: theory, laboratory experiments, field observations and experiments and meta-analyses. We had research students, a couple of old stagers, and everything in between. Of the invited speakers, Robert Poulin kicked the whole thing off with a masterly overview of parasite community structure. Armand Kuris demonstrated how important parasites are to the functioning and dynamics of whole ecosystems. Serge Morand gave us a glimpse into a future of molecular complexity in multi-host-multi-pathogen systems. And Andy Dobson and I complemented each other in emphasising  how much conventional community ecologists can learn from parasite ecologists, and how intra-host communities differ from more conventional communities. Perhaps as important, the international nature of INTECOL made the symposium an effective recruiting sergeant for the SIG as it goes from strength to strength.

Of course in addition to the scientific sessions there was our now ubiquitous social event and this time it managed to stretch itself out for the whole event and you could be guaranteed to see a friendly parasite face (not just mine) at the bar every night. These were also great opportunities to chat about ideas and simply to bond socially as a group. If you haven’t managed to attend any of our events as yet then please let me encourage you to do so, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. 

The next formal event in our calendar will be the promised Early Career event which will focus on getting that all important funding. News on this to follow very soon and watch this space for future events and information.

All the best

Dr Joanne Lello

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