Pathogen exclusion from eco-epidemiological systems


Greenman J & Hoyle A (2010) Pathogen exclusion from eco-epidemiological systems. American Naturalist, 176 (2), pp. 149-158.

Increasing concerns about the changing environment and the emergence of pathogens that cross species boundaries have added to the urgency of understanding the dynamics of complex ecological systems infected by pathogens. Of particular interest is the often counterintuitive way in which infection and predation interact and the consequent difficulties in designing control strategies to manage the system. To understand the mechanisms involved, we focus on the pathogen exclusion problem, using control maps (on which the network of exclusion thresholds are plotted) in order to readily identify which exclusion strategies will work and why others will not. We apply this approach to the analysis of parasite exclusion in two game bird ecologies. For higher dimensions, we propose a computational scheme that will generate the optimal exclusion strategy, taking into account all operational constraints on the pathogen invasion matrix, populations, and controls. The situation is further complicated when external forcing distorts pathogen thresholds. This distortion is highly sensitive to the lags between forcing components, a sensitivity that can be exploited by management using correctly lagged cyclically varying controls to reduce the effort involved in pathogen exclusion.

Ecological control; Red grouse; Apparent competition; Nonlinear optimization; Environmental forcing; Resonance

American Naturalist: Volume 176, Issue 2

Publication date31/08/2010
PublisherUniversity of Chicago Press for The American Society of Naturalists