Effect of diseases on symbiotic systems

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Research Article

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There are many species living in symbiotic communities. In this study, we analyzed models in which populations are in the mutualism symbiotic relations subject to a disease spreading among one of the species. The main goal is the characterization of symbiotic relations of coexisting species through their mutual influences on their respective carrying capacities, taking into account that this influence can be quite strong. The functional dependence of the carrying capacities reflects the fact that the correlations between populations cannot be realized merely through direct interactions, as in the usual predator-prey Lotka-Volterra model, but also through the influence of each species on the carrying capacities of the other one. Equilibria are analyzed for feasibility and stability, substantiated via numerical simulations, and global sensitivity analysis identifies the important parameters having a significant impact on the model dynamics. The infective growth rate and the disease-related mortality rate may alter the stability behavior of the system. Our results show that introducing a symbiotic species is a plausible way to control the disease in the population.

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