Immune response increases predation risk (2012) Otti et al., Evolution 66
Parasites and diseases cause a lot of problems for their hosts, stealing resources like blood, food and energy. But fighting off parasites is also a costly process, so hosts have to walk the thin line between using just enough resources to fight off the parasite and using too many, leaving them with nothing. The amount a host invests in their immune response will depend on the specific environment that they live in. For example, in an environment where resources are plentiful, a host may decide that it is worth shaking off a parasite or disease. In areas where resources aren’t, they may choose to save energy.
Introducing predation to a situation further complicates things. Having a lot of predators around naturally means energy conservation becomes even more important. This study examines the risk of predation for an organism that is fighting off an infection.