Complex dynamics in an eco-epidemiological model

Andrew M. Bate, Frank M. Hilker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (SciVal)


The presence of infectious diseases can dramatically change the dynamics of ecological systems. By studying an SI-type disease in the predator population of a Rosenzweig-MacArthur model, we find a wealth of complex dynamics that do not exist in the absence of the disease. Numerical solutions indicate the existence of saddle-node and subcritical Hopf bifurcations, turning points and branching in periodic solutions, and a period-doubling cascade into chaos. This means that there are regions of bistability, in which the disease can have both a stabilising and destabilising effect. We also find tristability, which involves an endemic torus (or limit cycle), an endemic equilibrium and a disease-free limit cycle. The endemic torus seems to disappear via a homoclinic orbit. Notably, some of these dynamics occur when the basic reproduction number is less than one, and endemic situations would not be expected at all. The multistable regimes render the eco-epidemic system very sensitive to perturbations and facilitate a number of regime shifts, some of which we find to be irreversible.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2059-2078
Number of pages20
JournalBulletin of Mathematical Biology
Issue number11
Early online date18 Sept 2013
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


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