Population dynamics of pathogens with multiple host species

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Pathogens that can infect multiple host species will have different dynamics than pathogens that are restricted to a single species of host. This article examines the conditions for establishment and long-term population dynamic behavior of pathogens that infect multiple species of hosts. The article attempts to address three major questions in this area: First, under which conditions will increases in the diversity of host species buffer infectious disease outbreaks, and under which conditions will host diversity amplify disease outbreaks? Second, under what conditions is it possible to control an infectious agent by focusing control against only one host species? Third, what role does host species diversity play in maintaining pathogen persistence? The answers to these questions supply some important general insights into the role that biodiversity plays in buffering humans and other species against new and emerging pathogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S64-S78
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Issue number5 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Nov 1 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


  • Mathematical model
  • Matrix
  • Multihost
  • Pathogen
  • R
  • Who acquires infection from whom (WAIFW)


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