Predator-prey/host-parasite: A fragile ecoepidemic system under homogeneous infection incidence

Alex P. Farrell, Horst R. Thieme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To underpin the concern that environmental change can ip an ecosystem from stable persistence to sudden total collapse, we consider a class of so-called ecoepidemic models, predator - prey/host - parasite systems, in which a base species is prey to a predator species and host to a micro-parasite species. Our model uses generalized frequency-dependent incidence for the disease transmission and mass action kinetics for predation. We show that a large variety of dynamics can arise, ranging from dynamic persistence of all three species to either total ecosystem collapse caused by high transmissibility of the parasite on the one hand or to parasite extinction and prey-predator survival due to low parasite transmissibility on the other hand. We identify a threshold parameter (tipping number) for the transition of the ecosystem from uniform prey/host persistence to total extinction under suitable initial conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-267
Number of pages51
JournalDiscrete and Continuous Dynamical Systems - Series B
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Bistability
  • Climate change
  • Coexistence
  • Ecology
  • Environmental change
  • Epidemiology
  • Homogeneous in- cidence
  • Infection ratio
  • Multiple interior equilibria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Discrete Mathematics and Combinatorics
  • Applied Mathematics


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