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Concerns over bioterrorism and emerging diseases have led to the widespread use of epidemic models for evaluating public health strategies. Partly because epidemic models often capture the dynamics of prior epidemics remarkably well, little attention has been paid to how uncertainty in parameter estimates might affect model predictions. To understand such(More)
The theory of insect population dynamics has shown that heterogeneity in natural-enemy attack rates is strongly stabilizing. We tested the usefulness of this theory for outbreaking insects, many of which are attacked by infectious pathogens. We measured heterogeneity among gypsy moth larvae in their risk of infection with a nucleopolyhedrovirus, which is(More)
1. Studies of variability in host resistance to disease generally emphasize variability in susceptibility given exposure, neglecting the possibility that hosts may vary in behaviours that affect the risk of exposure. 2. In many insects, horizontal transmission of baculoviruses occurs when larvae consume foliage contaminated by the cadavers of virus-infected(More)
Classical epidemic theory focuses on directly transmitted pathogens, but many pathogens are instead transmitted when hosts encounter infectious particles. Theory has shown that for such diseases pathogen persistence time in the environment can strongly affect disease dynamics, but estimates of persistence time, and consequently tests of the theory, are(More)
The NCEAS HCP working group consisted of 106 students participating in a nationwide graduate-level course led by the following faculty advisors: Opinions expressed by the authors of this publication are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and(More)
While rising global temperatures are increasingly affecting both species and their biotic interactions, the debate about whether global warming will increase or decrease disease transmission between individuals remains far from resolved. This may stem from the lack of empirical data. Using a tractable and easily manipulated insect host-pathogen system, we(More)
Cyclic outbreaks of defoliating insects devastate forests, but their causes are poorly understood. Outbreak cycles are often assumed to be driven by density-dependent mortality due to natural enemies, because pathogens and predators cause high mortality and because natural-enemy models reproduce fluctuations in defoliation data. The role of induced defenses(More)
Mathematical models of disease outbreaks play a crucial role in guiding public health policy [1–3] and have provided critical insights into the ecological dynamics of pathogen-regulated populations [4,5]. Remarkably, the models used to describe epidemics among human populations have been quite successful at describing epizootics in many animal populations,(More)