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Modelling contact spread of infection in host-parasitoid systems: Vertical transmission of pathogens can cause chaos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Katharine F. Preedy, Pieta G. Schofield, Sijia Liu, Anastasios Matzavinos, Mark A. J. Chaplain, Stephen F. Hubbard

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All animals and plants are, to some extent, susceptible to disease caused by varying combinations of parasites, viruses and bacteria. In this paper, we develop a mathematical model of contact spread infection to investigate the effect of introducing a parasitoid-vectored infection into a one-host-two-parasitoid competition model. We use a system of ordinary differential equations to investigate the separate influences of horizontal and vertical pathogen transmission on a model system appropriate for a variety of competitive situations. Computational simulations and steady-state analysis show that the transient and long-term dynamics exhibited under contact spread infection are highly complex. Horizontal pathogen transmission has a stabilising effect on the system whilst vertical transmission can destabilise it to the point of chaotic fluctuations in population levels. This has implications when considering the introduction of host pathogens for the control of insect vectored diseases such as bovine tuberculosis or yellow fever. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-451
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2010

    Research areas

  • Insect-pathogen interactions, Population dynamics, Infection, Horizontal transmission, Vertical transmission, Vectored diseases, Competition, Chaotic dynamics, POPULATION-DYNAMICS, PATTERN-FORMATION, PERSISTENCE, HYMENOPTERA, BRACONIDAE, COMMUNITY, INVASION, DISEASE, MATLAB

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