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Theoretical Ecology

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 163–179 | Cite as

Infectious disease in consumer populations: dynamic consequences of resource-mediated transmission and infectiousness

  • Paul J. Hurtado
  • Spencer R. Hall
  • Stephen P. Ellner
ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

Nonhost species can strongly affect the timing and progression of epidemics. One central interaction—between hosts, their resources, and parasites—remains surprisingly underdeveloped from a theoretical perspective. Furthermore, key epidemiological traits that govern disease spread are known to depend on resource density. We tackle both issues here using models that fuse consumer–resource and epidemiological theory. Motivated by recent studies of a phytoplankton–zooplankton–fungus system, we derive and analyze a family of dynamic models for parasite spread among consumers in which transmission depends on consumer (host) and resource densities. These models yield four key insights. First, host–resource cycling can lower mean host density and inhibit parasite invasion. Second, host–resource cycling can create Allee effects (bistability) if parasites increase mean host density by reducing the amplitude of host–resource cycles. Third, parasites can stabilize host–resource cycles; however, host–resource cycling can also cause disease cycling. Fourth, resource dependence of epidemiological traits helps to govern the relative dominance of these different behaviors. However, these resource dependencies largely have quantitative rather than qualitative effects on these three-species dynamics. Given the extent of these results, host–resource–parasite interactions should become more fundamental components of the burgeoning theory for the community ecology of infectious diseases.

Keywords

Host–parasite Predator–prey Transmission rate Oscillations Hydra effect Daphnia 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This article is based on the work in the lead author’s doctoral dissertation (Hurtado 2012) submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a PhD in Applied Mathematics at Cornell University. Paul J. Hurtado thanks the Mathematical Biosciences Institute at The Ohio State University (NSF DMS 06-35561, 09-31642) for hosting him during the writing of this manuscript. Spencer R. Hall was supported by NSF grants DEB 06-13510 and DEB 06-14316. Stephen P. Ellner was supported by grant 220020137 from the James S. McDonnell Foundation and US National Science Foundation grant DEB 08-13743.

Supplementary material

12080_2013_208_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (611 kb)
(PDF 610 KB)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul J. Hurtado
    • 1
  • Spencer R. Hall
    • 2
  • Stephen P. Ellner
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Applied MathematicsCornell UniversityNYUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyIndiana UniversityINUSA
  3. 3.Center for Applied Mathematics, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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