Stochastic spatial models of host-pathogen and host-mutualist interactions

N. Lanchier, C. Neuhauser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Mutualists and pathogens, collectively called symbionts, are ubiquitous in plant communities. While some symbionts are highly host-specific, others associate with multiple hosts. The outcomes of multispecies host-symbiont interactions with different degrees of specificity are difficult to predict at this point due to a lack of a general conceptual framework. Complicating our predictive power is the fact that plant populations are spatially explicit, and we know from past research that explicit space can profoundly alter plant-plant interactions. We introduce a spatially explicit, stochastic model to investigate the role of explicit space and host-specificity in multispecies host-symbiont interactions. We find that in our model, pathogens can significantly alter the spatial structure of plant communities, promoting coexistence, whereas mutualists appear to have only a limited effect. Effects are more pronounced the more host-specific symbionts are.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)448-474
Number of pages27
JournalAnnals of Applied Probability
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Contact process
  • Epidemic models
  • Mutualist
  • Pathogen
  • Voter model


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