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

Abstract

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.Comment: Published at http://dx.doi.org/10.1214/105051605000000782 in the Annals of Applied Probability (http://www.imstat.org/aap/) by the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (http://www.imstat.org

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    Last time updated on 03/12/2019