Eric Payne, PhD



Former graduate student (Graduate Group in Ecology) and post-doctoral scholar (Environmental Science and Policy)
Eric in the Forest

Prior Education

B.S. in Biological Sciences, UC Davis

Ph.D. in Ecology, UC Davis

Research Interests

Parasites are ubiquitous within natural ecosystems. In some systems, for example, the biomass of parasites can equal that of top predators (Kuris et al. 2008), and parasites may constitute the plurality of food web links (Lafferty et al. 2006). Given the important role that parasites often occupy within ecosystems, understanding their interactions with hosts represents an important goal.

My research interests lie at this juncture, but from the perspective of host behavior. Specifically, I am interested in how hosts’ behavior, especially movement, affects their acquisition and transmission of parasites. I study this issue through the lens of consistent individual differences. Individuals within a species do not all behave the same; species across the animal kingdom (e.g., humans, spiders, birds, lizards) exhibit these consistent among-individual differences in behavior. I investigate these differences and their implications for parasite acquisition, such as whether hosts exhibit consistent among-individual differences in parasitism.