The dynamics of disease mediated invasions by hosts with immune reproductive tradeoff.
The modern world involves both increasingly frequent introduction of novel invasive animals into new habitat ranges and novel epidemic-causing pathogens into new host populations. Both of these phenomena have been well studied. Less well explored, however, is how the success of species invasions may themselves be affected by the pathogens they bring with them. In this paper, we construct a simple, modified Susceptible-Infected-Recovered model for a vector-borne pathogen affecting two annually reproducing hosts. We consider an invasion scenario in which a susceptible native host species is invaded by a disease-resistant species carrying a vector-borne infection. We assume the presence of abundant, but previously disease-free, competent vectors. We find that the success of invasion is critically sensitive to the infectivity of the pathogen. The more the pathogen is able to spread, the more fit the invasive host is in competition with the more vulnerable native species; the pathogen acts as a 'wingman pathogen,' enhancing the probability of invader establishment. While not surprising, we provide a quantitative predictive framework for the long-term outcomes from these important coupled dynamics in a world in which compound invasions of hosts and pathogens are increasingly likely.