May 2015 - June 2018
Financed by the Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung
The relationship between mosquito development and temperature is of fundamental importance to understand current and future mosquito distribution patterns as well as the occurrence of vector-borne diseases. In contrast to conventional models using mean air temperature to estimate these patterns and the mosquito development; I will measure the microclimate within mosquito resting sites. Therefore, I will collect mosquitoes from artificial resting sites and investigate the mosquito community with regard to arboviruses and the microclimate.
My PhD thesis is integrated in the CuliMo-project, which investigates mosquito species distribution in Germany and mosquito-dependent arbovirus data collected over several years. This project provides information about seasonal fluctuations in arbovirus activity and the abundance of the mosquito vector species. Such surveillance programs become more and more important -particularly in the era of global warming and globalization.
Due to the medical relevance of mosquitoes as vectors, they are one of the most studied and well known insects. Since previous mosquito models accessed climate data from local weather stations or from satellites, a serious knowledge gap exists for the microclimate affecting mosquito ecology. As the gonotrophic cycle (after a blood meal) may take up to few weeks, the specific environmental conditions in these sites will affect their development and their investigation will provide important new information about mosquito ecology. In this real estate I will analyse mosquito microclimate preferences and generate models for a prediction of species distribution. Furthermore, I will investigate the microclimate within the resting sites at varying conditions e.g. season, landscape and environment.
Additionally, higher temperatures in the resting sites will shorten the extrinsic incubation period of arboviruses, which favor a fast replication of viruses in the resting sites. I will investigate the spread of arboviruses depending on the mosquito species, location and microclimate. Models based on these data will provide a reliable forecast of possible outbreaks and enables a better preparation of suitable counter-measures.