Models for multi-species parasite-host communities

  • A. P. Dobson


The last ten years have seen an enormous increase in the understanding of the role that parasites and pathogens play in the regulation of host abundance. Primarily, this progression has been stimulated by the theoretical framework developed to examine the population dynamics of parasite—host relationships by Anderson and May (1978, 1979, 1982) and May and Anderson (1978, 1979). These models have been extended to examine the dynamics and control of a wide range of parasites from schistosomiasis (Crombie and Anderson, 1985) and other parasitic helminths of man (Anderson 1982; Anderson and May 1985), through to the parasitic helminths of domestic livestock (Smith 1984; Grenfell et al., 1987). Although considerable empirical data has accumulated from studies of free-living host—parasite communities, there have been few attempts to interpret this mass of data in terms of the models developed for simple one host, one parasite ‘communities’. In part, this enigmatic divergence between empirical data and theoretical understanding may stem from hierarchical differences in the levels of complexity between the majority of empirical data and that of the models (Table 10.1). This chapter attempts to partly redress this balance by showing how the Anderson and May models can be extended to consider the dynamics of more complex parasite—host communities.


Host Species Brown Trout Host Population Definitive Host Parasite Population 
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© Chapman and Hall 1990

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  • A. P. Dobson

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