Spatial And Temporal Heterogeneity Explain Disease Dynamics In A Spatially Explicit Network Model
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There is an increasing recognition that individual-level spatial and temporal heterogeneity may play an important role in metapopulation dynamics and persistence. In particular, the patterns of contact within and between aggregates (e. g., demes) at different spatial and temporal scales may reveal important mechanisms governing metapopulation dynamics. Using 7 years of data on the interaction between the anther smut fungus (Microbotryum violaceum) and fire pink (Silene virginica), we show how the application of spatially explicit and implicit network models can be used to make accurate predictions of infection dynamics in spatially structured populations. Explicit consideration of both spatial and temporal organization reveals the role of each in spreading risk for both the host and the pathogen. This work suggests that the application of spatially explicit network models can yield important insights into how heterogeneous structure can promote the persistence of species in natural landscapes.