Wednesday, 25 January 2012: 4:15 PM
Climate-Based Dynamic Modeling of Disease Vectors
Room 333 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Climate is a fundamental component of vector and vector-borne disease ecology. Mosquito reproductive and feeding behaviors as well as survival and development rates are largely controlled by temperature. Precipitation is also frequently essential for the creation and maintenance of larva and pupa habitats. Recognizing and quantifying the link between climate and vector is therefore critical for understanding the ecology of vector-borne diseases. Using a climate-driven dynamic model, we simulate the population dynamics of Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes across the southern United States under baseline and projected future climate regimes. This study reveals the complex relationship between climate change/variability and vector ecology. The spatial heterogeneity of climate and projected climate change causes spatially and temporally diverse effects on vector populations. Increasing temperatures may prolong the mosquito season during spring and fall but it can also increase evaporation rates during summer, limiting larva and pupa habitats. Additionally, decreased rainfall can limit population development in areas where containers and impermeable surfaces are the main habitats for immature mosquitoes. The interdependence of temperature, precipitation, and land cover create a multitude of scenarios in which mosquito populations can increase, decrease, remain the same, or alter their patterns and dynamics. These results indicate that the effects of climate change on vector populations will not be uniform in space or time and instead are location and season specific.