How parasitism affects critical patch-size in a host-parasitoid model: application to the forest tent caterpillar

Cobbold, C.A., Lewis, M.A., Lutscher, F. and Roland, J. (2005) How parasitism affects critical patch-size in a host-parasitoid model: application to the forest tent caterpillar. Theoretical Population Biology, 67(2), pp. 109-125. (doi: 10.1016/j.tpb.2004.09.004)

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Habitat structure has broad impacts on many biological systems. In particular, habitat fragmentation can increase the probability of species extinction and on the other hand it can lead to population outbreaks in responseto a decline in natural enemies. An extreme consequence of fragmentation is the isolation of small regions of suitable habitat surrounded by a large region of hostile matrix. This scenario can be interpreted as a critical patch-size problem, well studied in a continuous time framework, but relatively new to discrete time models. In this paper we present an integrodifference host-parasitoid model, discrete in time and continuous in space, to study how the critical habitat-size necessary for parasitoid survival changes in response to parasitoid life history traits, such as emergence time. We show that early emerging parasitoids may be able to persist in smaller habitats than late emerging species. The model predicts that these early emerging parasitoids lead to more severe host outbreaks. We hypothesise that promoting efficient late emerging parasitoids may be key in reducing outbreak severity, an approach requiring large continuous regions of suitable habitat. We parameterise the model for the host species of the forest tent caterpillar Malacosoma disstria Hbn., a pest insect for which fragmented landscape increases the severity of outbreaks. This host is known to have several parasitoids, due to paucity of data and as a first step in the modelling we consider a single generic perasitoid. The model findings are related to observations of the forest tent caterpillar offering insight into this host-parasitoid response to habitat structure.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cobbold, Professor Christina
Authors: Cobbold, C.A., Lewis, M.A., Lutscher, F., and Roland, J.
Subjects:Q Science > QH Natural history
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Mathematics and Statistics > Mathematics
Journal Name:Theoretical Population Biology
ISSN (Online):1096-0325

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