We use models to develop general ecological theory and to address particular questions in specific wildlife disease.

For example we have developed a number of models that examine the potential role of squirrelpox virus in the invasion of the American grey squirrel into the UK. The disease is shared, brought with the greys and is highly pathogenic to the red. It’s role was in the invasion was often dismissed, mainly because relatively few infected red squirrels were seen, the modeling showed how this is a misconception. Highly pathogenic diseases have low prevalence but have important population dynamical implications.

The initial model is here:
Tompkins, D, White, A & Boots M (2003). Wildlife disease plays a key role in the replacement of red squirrels by greys in the UK. Ecology Letters, 6, 189-196.

And we continue to develop models on the implications of disease and competition.
Bell, S.S., A. White & M. Boots (in Press). Invading with biological weapons: the role of shared disease in ecological invasions. In press at Theoretical Ecology.

We are also currently developing models of Avian Malaria in Blue Tits and STD mites in the two spotted ladybird.

General ecological theory concentrates on the ecological role of spatial structure in host parasite interactions.
Boots, M. & A. Sasaki. (2002). Extinctions in spatially structured host-pathogen populations. The American Naturalist. 159, 706-713.

We have also addressed generally the issue of disease dynamics under density and frequency dependence.
Ryder, J.J., M Miller, A White, R. J. Knell & M Boots (2007). Disease dynamics under combined frequency- and density-dependent transmission. Oikos 116, 2017-2026.

And Developed resonance approaches to understand disease dynamics.
Greenman, J, M. Kamo & M. Boots (2004). External Forcing of Ecological and Epidemiological Systems: a resonance approach. Physica D, 190, 136-151.

And in particular looked at the role of sub-lethal effects of natural enemies. These non-lethal effects are often ignored, but can have significant effects on population dynamics in general.
Boots, M. & R. Norman (2000). Sublethal infection and the population dynamics of host-microparasite interactions. Journal of Animal Ecology, 69, 517-524.

And may have important conservation implications.
Beckerman, A.P., M. Boots & K. J. Gaston (2007). Urban bird declines and the fear of cats. Journal of Animal Conservation. 10, 320-325.