Infectious disease influences the dynamics of host populations and the structure of species communities via impacts on host demography. Species that share infectious diseases are well-known to interact indirectly through the process of apparent competition, but there has been little attention given to the role of vectors in these indirect interactions. Here we explore how vector-borne disease and host-vector interactions can drive apparent competitive interactions. We show that different facets of the ecology associated with vector-host-host interactions affect the structure of the three-species assemblage. Crucially, the patterns associated with invasion of alternative hosts, the spread of the infectious disease by the vector, and the dynamics of the community interactions are influenced by the mode of transmission. We highlight the role of alternative hosts on disease amplification, dilution and magnification and discuss the results with reference to recent developments in apparent competition and community structure.
The control of insect vectors through conventional sterile insect or transgenic technologies (e.g., RIDL®) is an intense focus of research in the combat against vector-borne disease. While the population dynamic implications of these control strategies are reasonably well-established, the effects of interspecific competition between different vectors and control strategies have not previously been explored. Different control intervention methods can affect the interaction and potential coexistence of vector species. By altering the shape of the zero net growth isoclines, conventional and transgenic control can affect patterns of vector coexistence and/or exclusion through Allee effects and transient dynamics. Further, transgenic control methods can mediate coexistence between target and non-target species and this can have important consequences for the persistence of disease and community ecological interactions.