|Spatial sampling strategy (PowerPoint): 4.9MB|
|MODIRISK research partners and their institutions: 791kB|
|MODIRISK research and technical development goals: 355kB|
Mosquito vectors of disease: spatial biodiversity, drivers of change, and risk.
|Project type:||Long Term Research|
|Time frame:||2007 - 2010|
|Geographic keyword: The Netherlands | Belgium | BENELUX | Europe|
|General keyword: Remote sensing | Disease modeling | Biodiversity|
|Specific keyword: Invading species | Culicidae | Mosquitoes | Emerging diseases|
Ongoing eco-climatic changes create suitable conditions for the (re)emergence of vector-borne diseases in Europe. Of these, mosquito-borne diseases are prime candidates (e.g. recent West Nile Fever events, records of introduction/spread of exotic Aedes albopictus in Europe, outbreaks of Chikungunya and Dengue in Europe overseas territories). Knowledge of the taxonomic and functional biodiversity of both endemic and invading vector mosquito species as well as the factors driving change, is missing in Belgium. Acquiring this knowledge is an essential step towards understanding current risk and preparing for future treads. Therefore the objectives of the project MoDiRisk are (1) to inventorize endemic and invading mosquito species in Belgium considering environmental and taxonomic elements of biodiversity, (2) to assess the population dynamics of endemic and invasive mosquito species and their interrelationship (3) to model mosquito biodiversity distribution at a one km resolution in the Benelux, and (4) to disseminate project outputs to the scientific community, end users and the general public.
Cross-sectional field surveys will be conducted during the first phase of the project to inventorize Culicidae. A network of CO2-baited traps will be used throughout Belgium in a grid-based (10 x 10 km) sampling approach where different habitats in each grid will be sampled. This spatial data base for Belgium will be completed with existing records from The Netherlands.
Longitudinal population dynamics studies of endemic and invasive arbovirus vector species will be conducted in field sites in Belgium selected during the cross-sectional surveys. The aim is to assess the population status of these species i.e. to determine whether they are â€˜timely records of non established speciesâ€™, â€˜established species in confined fociâ€™ or â€˜established spreading speciesâ€™. Additional laboratory experiments will be set up to measure the impact of temperature on flight performance, oviposition and larval development. Winter survival and competition between invasive and endemic species will also be studied. The outcomes of the longitudinal field studies and the laboratory trials will serve as a basis for Pest Risk Assessment (PRA) and enable to identify a set of drivers for the development of â€˜what-ifâ€™ scenarios.
Based on the results of the cross sectional field surveys, distribution models predicting the probability of presence of each Culicidae species will be developed and maps will be produced at a one kilometre resolution. The models will be based on multivariate analysis techniques and use eco-climatic data as main predictor variables. Additional field surveys will be conducted in the second phase of the project in Belgium and in The Netherlands to validate and further fine tune the produced models. The model outputs will enable us to understand the factors (mainly eco-climatic, but also human driven such as land use, urbanisation) determining observed distribution patterns. When included in a GIS model, they will also enable to highlight Culicidae biodiversity hotspots which are of prime importance when addressing the issue of emergence of diseases. Documented â€˜what-ifâ€™ scenarios will be developed based on information extracted from the PRA, the spatial distribution models and published climate change patterns.
Whereas classical maps with a proper legend perfectly stand as paper sheets, this support does not enable to convey the complexity and interrelationships of spatial models and â€™what-ifâ€™ scenarios. Therefore a MoDiRisk spatial information system will be developed enabling all partners to access and analyse data and results online. It will enable the modelling team to easily convey outputs and progress made and to have on-line discussions on the way to proceed further. Once completed this multidisciplinary tool will also be of prime importance to disseminate results to the general public and the various users of MoDiRisk outputs.
Finally, based on the experience gained during MoDiRisk a cost-effective sampling strategy will be designed for use in follow-up and similar studies. Modelling will mainly assist in defining the minimal field sample needed to produce acceptable distribution maps, and how these samples are best distributed in space. The results of comparative trap trials of different trapping systems, operating on different attractants, and conducted to evaluate how trapping devices can be used for Culicidae monitoring in general and as sentinel monitoring system for invasive species in particular, will also be included in this integrated approach.
The activities of the different partners of this interdisciplinary network are complementary and strongly interlinked. For each work package a responsible is assigned, but all partners will contribute to the different work packages. The partner in the Netherlands initiated a mosquito mapping effort since 2 years. The integration of the project data with data from The Netherlands will improve the developed distribution models.
The project directly contributes to discovering biodiversity and monitoring/predicting its changes, and actively prepares to address issues such as the assessment of impacts of biodiversity change with particular reference to new invasive mosquito species and the risk to introduce new pathogens. An improved understanding of the biodiversity of mosquito vectors is an essential step towards an improved understanding of the ecology of the diseases they transmit. Furthermore it contributes to the development of state of the art scientific tools integrating collection-based information technology at various resolutions with geographic mapping efforts and remote sensing driven continuous distribution models. This enables to better describe the spatial distribution of mosquito biodiversity, and to understand how it is organized in communities and habitats. The filling up of an essential knowledge gap in Europe, and the expansion of model outputs through linking up with a project in The Netherlands, enables the project to produce more robust results and to prepare better for later expansion of activities in Europe.
Legend to the figures:
Figure 1: 10X10 km grid covering Belgium/Netherlands
Figure 2: Mosquito CO2 trap (source: www.mosquitocontrol.org)
Figure 3: Aedes albopictus, an invasive species (source: CDC, James Gathany)