The relation between the number of parasites/host and host age: Population dynamic causes and maximum likelihood estimation

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Abstract

We examined dynamical factors that shape the distribution of the number of parasites/ host in constant or temporally varying environments, and with or without host-age dependent variation in host susceptibility and parasite mortality. We predict properties of the parasite distribution in the absence of density-dependent factors such as density-dependent mortality or recruitment and parasite-induced host mortality. These properties provide a criterion for the detection of density dependence in temporally variable systems with host-age dependent interactions. We have then introduced methods to estimate and statistically evaluate the effects of host age or size on the distribution of parasites/host. The methods are based on a maximum likelihood protocol for linear and non-linear regression when data are negatively binomially distributed. We have illustrated the use of the theoretical results and statistical methods by re-analysing the data of Halvorsen & Andersen (1984) on cestode infections in Norwegian arctic charr and by analysing new data on nematode infections in Caribbean Anolis lizards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-210
Number of pages14
JournalParasitology
Volume96
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Parasitology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Infectious Diseases

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