Biodiversity and the Ecology of Emerging Infectious Diseases

  • M. G. RobertsEmail author
  • J. A. P. Heesterbeek
Conference paper
Part of the Mathematics for Industry book series (MFI, volume 28)


The question of how biodiversity influences the emergence of infectious diseases is the subject of ongoing research. A set of nonlinear differential equations is been used to explore the interactions between ecology and epidemiology. The model allows for frequency-dependent transmission of infection within host species, and density-dependent transmission between species, via the environment or a vector. Three examples are discussed. It is shown that removing a pathogen may increase a consumer population, decreasing its resource. It is then shown that the presence of a pathogen could enable a predator and a prey species to coexist. Finally the dilution effect, by which increasing biodiversity reduces the transmission of an infectious disease, is investigated.


Biodiversity Ecology Epidemiology Infectious diseases 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, New Zealand Institute for Advanced Study, Infectious Disease Research CentreMassey UniversityAlbany, AucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Farm Animal HealthUniversity of UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands

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