Persistence, chaos and synchrony in ecology and epidemiology

D. J.D. Earn, P. Rohani, B. T. Grenfell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

207 Scopus citations


The decline of species in natural habitats concerns ecologists, who view extinction as a danger and conservation of biological diversity as a goal. In contrast, the proliferation of 'undesirable' species is the principal concern of epidemiologists, who view persistence as a problem and eradication as an achievement. While ecologists and epidemiologists have essentially opposite goals, the mathematical scructure of the population dynamics that they study is very similar. We briefly review the similarities and differences between these two fields, emphasizing recent work in both areas on the effects of spatial synchrony and dynamical chaos. We hope to stimulate further cross-fertilization of ideas between the disciplines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-10
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1390
StatePublished - Jan 7 1998
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


  • Biological control
  • Conservation
  • Dispersal
  • Eradication
  • Extinction
  • Metapopulation


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