Biodiversity and the Ecology of Emerging Infectious Diseases
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.
KeywordsBiodiversity Ecology Epidemiology Infectious diseases
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