Red King

Hosts and parasites co-evolve against each other - as hosts become more resistant, parasites become better at infecting their hosts - but resistance and infectivity come at a cost, as they take energy away from other vital aspects of survival. The 'Red Queen' is an evolutionary hypothesis which says that organisms need to constantly adapt to survive while pitted against other opposing evolving organisms - it's a term borrowed from Lewis Carroll's book Through the Looking Glass: 'Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place'. The 'Red King' is a relatively recent bit of theory, which says that slower evolution might be better sometimes.

We worked with researchers at the University of Exeter to understand the Red King. When hosts and parasites are pitted against each other in simulations - and certain parameters are changed - what happens? Under what circumstances can hosts and parasites reach an evolutionary compromise?

Turning information into sound can be a way to experience patterns in data differently in order to gain new insights. We experimented with different ways of doing this, combining rhythmic and pitch changes to focus on what we are interested in. The project resulted in a tool for university epidemiology teaching.