Spatiotemporal patterns in models of biological invasion and epidemic spread
Frank M. Hilker
173 pages, year of publication: 2005
price: 40.50 €
Biological invasions are a severe ecological problem threatening biodiversity and causing substantial economic damages. Mathematical models of spatiotemporal spread have proven to be powerful tools in identifying the underlying mechanisms, thus contributing to the understanding of the factors that determine invasion processes and to the assessment of possible control methods. In this thesis, classical models are extended to combine spatial spread, population growth, disease transmission and community interactions. Applications are exemplarily found in the circulation of the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) - an HIV-similar lentivirus that induces AIDS in cat populations - and in viral infections in phytoplankton that forms the basis for all food chains and webs in the sea. The joint interplay of epidemics, predation and environmental stochasticity in invasion models is shown to generate rich and novel patterns of spatiotemporal spread such as the blocking and reversal of invasion fronts or the spatial `trapping' of infection as well as its noise-induced escape. The results of this thesis can explain real-world phenomena and have important implications for understanding and controlling invasion processes in ecosystems and epidemiology.