Generalized stacked contact process with variable host fitness

Eric Foxall, Nicolas Lanchier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The stacked contact process is a three-state spin system that describes the co-evolution of a population of hosts together with their symbionts. In a nutshell, the hosts evolve according to a contact process while the symbionts evolve according to a contact process on the dynamic subset of the lattice occupied by the host population, indicating that the symbiont can only live within a host. This paper is concerned with a generalization of this system in which the symbionts may affect the fitness of the hosts by either decreasing (pathogen) or increasing (mutualist) their birth rate. Standard coupling arguments are first used to compare the process with other interacting particle systems and deduce the long-term behavior of the host-symbiont system in several parameter regions. The spatial model is also compared with its mean-field approximation as studied in detail by Foxall (2019). Our main result focuses on the case where unassociated hosts have a supercritical birth rate whereas hosts associated to a pathogen have a subcritical birth rate. In this case, the mean-field model predicts coexistence of the hosts and their pathogens provided the infection rate is large enough. For the spatial model, however, only the hosts survive on the one-dimensional integer lattice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-121
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Applied Probability
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Forest fire model
  • Host
  • Multitype contact process
  • Mutualist
  • Pathogen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • General Mathematics
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty


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