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Data from: Stochasticity and infectious disease dynamics: density and weather effects on a fungal insect pathogen

Citation

Kyle, Colin H. et al. (2019), Data from: Stochasticity and infectious disease dynamics: density and weather effects on a fungal insect pathogen, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3nv3ss2

Abstract

In deterministic models of epidemics, there is a host abundance threshold, above which the introduction of a few infected individuals leads to a severe epidemic. Studies of weather-driven animal pathogens often assume that abundance thresholds will be overwhelmed by weather-driven stochasticity, but tests of this assumption are lacking. We collected observational and experimental data for a fungal pathogen, {\it Entomophaga maimaiga}, that infects the gypsy moth, {\it Lymantria dispar}. We used an advanced statistical-computing algorithm to fit mechanistic models to our data, such that different models made different assumptions about the effects of host density and weather on {\it E. maimaiga} epizootics (epidemics in animals). We then used AIC analysis to choose the best model. In the best model, epizootics are driven by a combination of weather and host density, and the model does an excellent job of explaining the data, whereas models that allow only for weather effects, or only density-dependence effects, do a poor job of explaining the data. Density-dependent transmission in our best model produces a host-density threshold, but this threshold is strongly blurred by the stochastic effects of weather. Our work shows that host-abundance thresholds may be important even if weather strongly affects transmission, suggesting that epidemiological models that allow for weather have an important role to play in understanding animal pathogens. The success of our model means that it could be useful for managing the gypsy moth, an important pest of hardwood forests in North America.

Usage Notes

Location

USA
Michigan