Mathematical Biology Seminar: Hans Heesterbeek

  • Date: 09/22/2011
  • Time: 14:00
Hans Heesterbeek (Utrecht University)

University of British Columbia


Threshold behaviour and infection dynamics in spatial metapopulations of hosts




The inspiration for this work comes from wanting to understand more of infectious disease agents spreading in wildlife populations. Such populations often have a metapopulation structure, where groups of individuals living in suitable habitat patches are separated from each other in space, but linked through migration. A key example we have focussed on is the great gerbil, a rodent species from Kazakhstan forming vast metapopulations, and the spread of plague in this system. In the lecture I will use the plague-great gerbil system to illustrate various aspects of thresholds and spread, touching on both theoretical and biological insights. An example of the former is a non-linear relation between persistence time in a spatial metapopulation and migration, showing an optimum for intermediate migration activity. An example of the latter is using percolation to explain the spread of plague through a metapopulation landscape of great gerbils and threshold behaviour in that system from long-term data sets, including a possible threshold for zoonotic spread to humans.

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