Caroline R. Amoroso

Caroline R. Amoroso
University of Virginia | UVa · Department of Biology

Doctor of Philosophy

About

14
Publications
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Introduction
I am a postdoc at the University of Virginia studying the ecology and evolution of parasite avoidance. My research spans diverse topics at the intersection of behavioral and disease ecology, with a focus on parasite avoidance behavior in animals. Past research focused on captive and wild lemur behavior, and current projects use experiments in C. elegans and theoretical modeling approaches.

Publications

Publications (14)
Article
Full-text available
Background and objectives In absolute terms, humans are extremely highly parasitized compared to other primates. This may reflect that humans are outliers in traits correlated with parasite richness: population density, geographic range area, and study effort. The high degree of parasitism could also reflect amplified disease risk associated with a...
Article
Full-text available
Conceptual parallels between physiological and behavioral forms of resistance to parasites have led to the development of terminology like “the behavioral immune system” to refer to behaviors that combat parasites. I extend this metaphor by applying findings from research on physiological resistance to generate predictions for the ecology and evolu...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: The ability of animals and their microbiomes to adapt to starvation and then restore homeostasis after refeeding is fundamental to their continued survival and symbiosis. The intestine is the primary site of nutrient absorption and microbiome interaction, however our understanding of intestinal adaptations in host transcriptional progra...
Article
Full-text available
Behavioural resistance to parasites is widespread in animals, yet little is known about the evolutionary dynamics that have shaped these strategies. We show that theory developed for the evolution of physiological parasite resistance can only be applied to behavioural resistance under limited circumstances. We find that accounting explicitly for th...
Article
Full-text available
Previous primate research has demonstrated social learning related to accepting novel foods, but little evidence suggests social learning of food avoidance. Ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta)have been observed to shake their heads rapidly in response to sour and bitter stimuli. This study investigated whether this head-shaking behavior may have a soc...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the drivers of biodiversity is important for forecasting changes in the distribution of life on earth. However, most studies of biodiversity are limited by uneven sampling effort, with some regions or taxa better sampled than others. Numerous methods have been developed to account for differences in sampling effort, but most methods w...
Preprint
Behavioral resistance to parasites is widespread in animals, yet little is known about the evolutionary dynamics that have shaped these strategies. Theory developed for the evolution of physiological parasite resistance can only be applied to behavioral resistance under limited circumstances. We find that accounting explicitly for the behavioral pr...
Article
Animals that depend on water sources in dry environments must balance their water demands with predation risk. In settings of water scarcity, predators may strategically exploit prey's dependence on water; prey may adjust their use of water sources either spatially or temporally to avoid overlapping with predators. To examine the spatiotemporal dyn...
Article
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With the predicted increase in extreme weather events as a result of global climate change, animals living in dry or seasonally dry habitats are likely to experience dramatic fluctuations in water availability from season to season and year to year. Understanding how animals respond to short-term changes in water availability is paramount for futur...
Article
Full-text available
Waterholes are critically important to animal survival in dry habitats but are also a potential source of parasite exposure. Avoiding feces may effectively reduce parasite transmission risk, but may also impose costs, including greater travel distances to locate less contaminated resources. We studied factors influencing wild, water-dependent red-f...
Article
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The elicitors of disgust are heterogeneous, which makes attributing one function to disgust challenging. Theorists have proposed that disgust solves multiple adaptive problems and comprises multiple functional domains. However, theories conflict with regard to what the domains are and how they should be delineated. In this article, we examine clini...
Article
Many parasites and pathogens are transmitted via water, including through faecal contamination of water sources. Yet water is essential for survival, and some species gain nutritional and other benefits from coprophagy. We investigated how primates balance the risks of faecal pathogen transmission with potential benefits of faeces ingestion in thei...
Article
Recent decades have seen rapid development of new analytical methods to investigate patterns of interspecific variation. Yet these cutting-edge statistical analyses often rely on data of questionable origin, varying accuracy, and weak comparability, which seem to have reduced the reproducibility of studies. It is time to improve the transparency of...
Article
Full-text available
Cooperative breeding is generally associated with increased philopatry and sedentariness, presumably because short-distance dispersal facilitates the maintenance of kin groups. There are, however, few data on long-distance dispersal in cooperative breeders-the variable likely to be important for genetic diversification and speciation. We tested the...

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Project (1)
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Because water is essential for life, when it is scarce, it may be one of the most important drivers of animal behavior. Despite its clear importance, water is relatively poorly studied in terms of its impact on primate behavior, and previous research has been limited to observational studies. My dissertation took a combined experimental and observational approach to study behavior related to water acquisition in captive and wild lemurs. Specifically, I investigated how several dimensions of water sources influence lemur behavior, including their parasite transmission risk, spatial distribution, and predation risk.