Dita B. Vizoso

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Periods of low host density impose a constraint on parasites with direct transmission, challenging their permanence in the system. The microsporidium Octosporea bayeri faces such constraint in a metapopulation of its host, the cladoceran Daphnia magna, where ponds frequently lose their host population due to ponds drying out in summer and freezing in(More)
The fresh-water crustacean Daphnia magna may acquire an infection with the microsporidium Octosporea bayeri either by ingesting spores from the water (horizontally), or directly from its mother (vertically). Due to differences in the time and mechanisms of transmission, horizontal and vertical infections may lead to differences in the growth of the parasite(More)
The free-living flatworm, Macrostomum lignano has an impressive regenerative capacity. Following injury, it can regenerate almost an entirely new organism because of the presence of an abundant somatic stem cell population, the neoblasts. This set of unique properties makes many flatworms attractive organisms for studying the evolution of pathways involved(More)
Sex allocation theory for sequential hermaphrodites predicts the size at which an individual should change sex, given the different relationships between individual size and reproductive success in the two sexes. We studied a host-parasite system where the myxozoan Kudoa ovivora infects the ovaries of the reef fish Thalassoma bifasciatum, a protogynous(More)
The microsporidium Octosporea bayeri can infect its host, the planktonic crustacean Daphnia magna, vertically and horizontally. The two routes differ greatly in the way the parasite leaves the harbouring host (transmission) and in the way it enters a new, susceptible host (infection). Infections resulting from each route may thus vary in the way they affect(More)
Most sex allocation theory is based on the relationship between the resource investment into male and female reproduction and the consequent fitness returns (often called fitness-gain curves). Here we investigate the effects of resource availability on the sex allocation of a simultaneously hermaphroditic animal, the free-living flatworm Macrostomum(More)
Sexual selection operates through consecutive episodes of selection that ultimately contribute to the observed variance in reproductive success between individuals. Understanding the relative importance of these episodes is challenging, particularly because the relevant postcopulatory fitness components are often difficult to assess. Here, we investigate(More)
Evolutionary theory predicts that in the absence of outcrossing opportunities, simultaneously hermaphroditic organisms should eventually switch to self-fertilization as a form of reproductive assurance. Here, we report the existence of facultative self-fertilization in the free-living flatworm Macrostomum hystrix, a species in which outcrossing occurs via(More)
Estimates of phenoloxidase (PO) activity have been suggested as a useful indicator of immunocompetence in arthropods, with the idea that high PO activity would indicate high immunocompetence against parasites and pathogens. Here, we test for variation in PO activity among clones of the planktonic crustacean Daphnia magna and its covariation with(More)
Evolutionary theory predicts that males should produce more sperm when sperm competition is high. Because sperm production rate is difficult to measure in most organisms, comparative and experimental studies have typically used testis size instead, while assuming a good correspondence between testis size and sperm production rate. Here we evaluate this(More)