Fine-scale modelling finds that breeding site fragmentation can reduce mosquito population persistence.
ABSTRACT: Fine-scale geographic variation in the transmission intensity of mosquito-borne diseases is primarily caused by variation in the density of female adult mosquitoes. Therefore, an understanding of fine-scale mosquito population dynamics is critical to understanding spatial heterogeneity in disease transmission and persistence at those scales. However, mathematical models of dengue and malaria transmission, which consider the dynamics of mosquito larvae, generally do not account for the fragmented structure of larval breeding sites. Here, we develop a stochastic metapopulation model of mosquito population dynamics and explore the impact of accounting for breeding site fragmentation when modelling fine-scale mosquito population dynamics. We find that, when mosquito population densities are low, fragmentation can lead to a reduction in population size, with population persistence dependent on mosquito dispersal and features of the underlying landscape. We conclude that using non-spatial models to represent fine-scale mosquito population dynamics may substantially underestimate the stochastic volatility of those populations.
Project description:Use of the bacterium Wolbachia is an innovative new strategy designed to break the cycle of dengue transmission. There are two main mechanisms by which Wolbachia could achieve this: by reducing the level of dengue virus in the mosquito and/or by shortening the host mosquito's lifespan. However, although Wolbachia shortens the lifespan, it also gives a breeding advantage which results in complex population dynamics. This study focuses on the development of a mathematical model to quantify the effect on human dengue cases of introducing Wolbachia into the mosquito population. The model consists of a compartment-based system of first-order differential equations; seasonal forcing in the mosquito population is introduced through the adult mosquito death rate. The analysis focuses on a single dengue outbreak typical of a region with a strong seasonally-varying mosquito population. We found that a significant reduction in human dengue cases can be obtained provided that Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes persist when competing with mosquitoes without Wolbachia. Furthermore, using the Wolbachia strain WMel reduces the mosquito lifespan by at most 10% and allows them to persist in competition with non-Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes. Mosquitoes carrying the WMelPop strain, however, are not likely to persist as it reduces the mosquito lifespan by up to 50%. When all other effects of Wolbachia on the mosquito physiology are ignored, cytoplasmic incompatibility alone results in a reduction in the number of human dengue cases. A sensitivity analysis of the parameters in the model shows that the transmission probability, the biting rate and the average adult mosquito death rate are the most important parameters for the outcome of the cumulative proportion of human individuals infected with dengue.
Project description:The Ross-Macdonald model has dominated theory for mosquito-borne pathogen transmission dynamics and control for over a century. The model, like many other basic population models, makes the mathematically convenient assumption that populations are well mixed; i.e., that each mosquito is equally likely to bite any vertebrate host. This assumption raises questions about the validity and utility of current theory because it is in conflict with preponderant empirical evidence that transmission is heterogeneous. Here, we propose a new dynamic framework that is realistic enough to describe biological causes of heterogeneous transmission of mosquito-borne pathogens of humans, yet tractable enough to provide a basis for developing and improving general theory. The framework is based on the ecological context of mosquito blood meals and the fine-scale movements of individual mosquitoes and human hosts that give rise to heterogeneous transmission. Using this framework, we describe pathogen dispersion in terms of individual-level analogues of two classical quantities: vectorial capacity and the basic reproductive number, R0. Importantly, this framework explicitly accounts for three key components of overall heterogeneity in transmission: heterogeneous exposure, poor mixing, and finite host numbers. Using these tools, we propose two ways of characterizing the spatial scales of transmission--pathogen dispersion kernels and the evenness of mixing across scales of aggregation--and demonstrate the consequences of a model's choice of spatial scale for epidemic dynamics and for estimation of R0, both by a priori model formulas and by inference of the force of infection from time-series data.
Project description:Filoviruses Ebolavirus (EBOV) and Marburgvirus (MARV) cause haemorrhagic fevers with high mortality rates, posing significant threats to public health. To understand transmission into human populations, filovirus dynamics within reservoir host populations must be understood. Studies have directly linked filoviruses to bats, but the mechanisms allowing viral persistence within bat populations are poorly understood. Theory suggests seasonal birthing may decrease the probability of pathogen persistence within populations, but data suggest MARV may persist within colonies of seasonally breeding Egyptian fruit bats, Rousettus aegyptiacus. I synthesize available filovirus and bat data in a stochastic compartmental model to explore fundamental questions relating to filovirus ecology: can filoviruses persist within isolated bat colonies; do critical community sizes exist; and how do host-pathogen relationships affect spillover transmission potential? Synchronous annual breeding and shorter incubation periods did not allow filovirus persistence, whereas bi-annual breeding and longer incubation periods, such as reported for Egyptian fruit bats and EBOV in experimental studies, allowed persistence in colony sizes often found in nature. Serological data support the findings, with bats from species with two annual birth pulses more likely to be seropositive (odds ratio (OR) 4.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.5-8.7) than those with one, suggesting that biannual birthing is necessary for filovirus persistence.
Project description:Forest fragmentation may negatively affect plants through reduced genetic diversity and increased population structure due to habitat isolation, decreased population size, and disturbance of pollen-seed dispersal mechanisms. However, in the case of tree species, effective pollen-seed dispersal, mating system, and ecological dynamics may help the species overcome the negative effect of forest fragmentation. A fine-scale population genetics study can shed light on the postfragmentation genetic diversity and structure of a species. Here, we present the genetic diversity and population structure of Cercis?canadensis L. (eastern redbud) wild populations on a fine scale within fragmented areas centered around the borders of Georgia-Tennessee, USA. We hypothesized high genetic diversity among the collections of C. canadensis distributed across smaller geographical ranges. Fifteen microsatellite loci were used to genotype 172 individuals from 18 unmanaged and naturally occurring collection sites. Our results indicated presence of population structure, overall high genetic diversity (H E = 0.63, H O = 0.34), and moderate genetic differentiation (F ST = 0.14) among the collection sites. Two major genetic clusters within the smaller geographical distribution were revealed by STRUCTURE. Our data suggest that native C. canadensis populations in the fragmented area around the Georgia-Tennessee border were able to maintain high levels of genetic diversity, despite the presence of considerable spatial genetic structure. As habitat isolation may negatively affect gene flow of outcrossing species across time, consequences of habitat fragmentation should be regularly monitored for this and other forest species. This study also has important implications for habitat management efforts and future breeding programs.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The transmission of malaria is highly variable and depends on a range of climatic and anthropogenic factors. This study investigates the combined, i.e. direct and indirect, impacts of climate change on the dynamics of malaria through modifications in: (i) the sporogonic cycle of Plasmodium induced by air temperature increase, and (ii) the life cycle of Anopheles vector triggered by changes in natural breeding habitat arising from the altered moisture dynamics resulting from acclimation responses of vegetation under climate change. The study is performed for a rural region in Kilifi county, Kenya. METHODS AND FINDINGS:We use a stochastic lattice-based malaria (SLIM) model to make predictions of changes in Anopheles vector abundance, the life cycle of Plasmodium parasites, and thus malaria transmission under projected climate change in the study region. SLIM incorporates a nonlinear temperature-dependence of malaria parasite development to estimate the extrinsic incubation period of Plasmodium. It is also linked with a spatially distributed eco-hydrologic modeling framework to capture the impacts of climate change on soil moisture dynamics, which served as a key determinant for the formation and persistence of mosquito larval habitats on the land surface. Malaria incidence data collected from 2008 to 2013 is used for SLIM model validation. Projections of climate change and human population for the region are used to run the models for prediction scenarios. Under elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration ([CO2]) only, modeled results reveal wetter soil moisture in the root zone due to the suppression of transpiration from vegetation acclimation, which increases the abundance of Anopheles vectors and the risk of malaria. When air temperature increases are also considered along with elevated [CO2], the life cycle of Anopheles vector and the extrinsic incubation period of Plasmodium parasites are shortened nonlinearly. However, the reduction of soil moisture resulting from higher evapotranspiration due to air temperature increase also reduces the larval habitats of the vector. Our findings show the complicated role of vegetation acclimation under elevated [CO2] on malaria dynamics and indicate an indirect but ignored impact of air temperature increase on malaria transmission through reduction in larval habitats and vector density. CONCLUSIONS:Vegetation acclimation triggered by elevated [CO2] under climate change increases the risk of malaria. In addition, air temperature increase under climate change has opposing effects on mosquito larval habitats and the life cycles of both Anopheles vectors and Plasmodium parasites. The indirect impacts of temperature change on soil moisture dynamics are significant and should be weighed together with the direct effects of temperature change on the life cycles of mosquitoes and parasites for future malaria prediction and control.
Project description:Dengue virus (DENV) is currently the most prevalent mosquito-borne viral pathogen. DENVs naturally exist as highly heterogeneous populations. Even though the descriptions on DENV diversity are plentiful, only a few studies have narrated the dynamics of intra-epidemic virus diversity at a fine scale. Such accounts are important to decipher the reciprocal relationship between viral evolutionary dynamics and disease transmission that shape dengue epidemiology. In the current study, we present a micro-scale genetic analysis of a monophyletic lineage of DENV-1 genotype III (epidemic lineage) detected from November 2012 to May 2014. The lineage was involved in an unprecedented dengue epidemic in Singapore during 2013-2014. Our findings showed that the epidemic lineage was an ensemble of mutants (variants) originated from an initial mixed viral population. The composition of mutant spectrum was dynamic and positively correlated with case load. The close interaction between viral evolution and transmission intensity indicated that tracking genetic diversity through time is potentially a useful tool to infer DENV transmission dynamics and thereby, to assess the epidemic risk in a disease control perspective. Moreover, such information is salient to understand the viral basis of clinical outcome and immune response variations that is imperative to effective vaccine design.
Project description:This is a coupled multiscale mathematical model of malaria control and elimination containing four submodels: mosquito-to-human transmission of the malaria parasite, human-to-mosquito transmission of the malaria parasite, a within-mosquito malaria parasite population dynamics sub-model and a within-human malaria parasite population dynamics sub-model.
Model is encoded by Johannes and submitted to BioModels by Ahmad Zyoud.
Project description:Once a pathogen is introduced in a population, key factors governing rate of spread include contact structure, supply of susceptible individuals and pathogen life-history. We examined the interplay of these factors on emergence dynamics and efficacy of disease prevention and response. We contrasted transmission dynamics of livestock viruses with different life-histories in hypothetical populations of feral swine with different contact structures (homogenous, metapopulation, spatial and network). Persistence probability was near 0 for the FMDV-like case under a wide range of parameter values and contact structures, while persistence was probable for the CSFV-like case. There were no sets of conditions where the FMDV-like pathogen persisted in every stochastic simulation. Even when population growth rates were up to 300% annually, the FMDV-like pathogen persisted in <25% of simulations regardless of transmission probabilities and contact structure. For networks and spatial contact structure, persistence probability of the FMDV-like pathogen was always <10%. Because of its low persistence probability, even very early response to the FMDV-like pathogen in feral swine was unwarranted while response to the CSFV-like pathogen was generally effective. When pre-emergence culling of feral swine caused population declines, it was effective at decreasing outbreak size of both diseases by ?80%.
Project description:New dam construction is known to exacerbate malaria transmission in Africa as the vectors of malaria-Anopheles mosquitoes-use bodies of water as breeding sites. Precise environmental mechanisms of how reservoirs exacerbate malaria transmission are yet to be identified. Understanding of these mechanisms should lead to a better assessment of the impacts of dam construction and to new prevention strategies. Combining extensive multiyear field surveys around the Koka Reservoir in Ethiopia and rigorous model development and simulation studies, environmental mechanisms of malaria transmission around the reservoir were examined. Most comprehensive and detailed malaria transmission model, Hydrology, Entomology, and Malaria Transmission Simulator, was applied to a village adjacent to the reservoir. Significant contributions to the dynamics of malaria transmission are shaped by wind profile, marginal pools, temperature, and shoreline locations. Wind speed and wind direction influence Anopheles populations and malaria transmission during the major and secondary mosquito seasons. During the secondary mosquito season, a noticeable influence was also attributed to marginal pools. Temperature was found to play an important role, not so much in Anopheles population dynamics, but in malaria transmission dynamics. Change in shoreline locations drives malaria transmission dynamics, with closer shoreline locations to the village making malaria transmission more likely. Identified environmental mechanisms help in predicting malaria transmission seasons and in developing village relocation strategies upon dam construction to minimize the risk of malaria.
Project description:Predicting the dynamics of animal populations with different life histories requires careful understanding of demographic responses to multifaceted aspects of global changes, such as climate and trophic interactions. Continent-scale dampening of vole population cycles, keystone herbivores in many ecosystems, has been recently documented across Europe. However, its impact on guilds of vole-eating predators remains unknown. To quantify this impact, we used a 27-year study of an avian predator (tawny owl) and its main prey (field vole) collected in Kielder Forest (UK) where vole dynamics shifted from a high- to a low-amplitude fluctuation regime in the mid-1990s. We measured the functional responses of four demographic rates to changes in prey dynamics and winter climate, characterized by wintertime North Atlantic Oscillation (wNAO). First-year and adult survival were positively affected by vole density in autumn but relatively insensitive to wNAO. The probability of breeding and number of fledglings were higher in years with high spring vole densities and negative wNAO (i.e. colder and drier winters). These functional responses were incorporated into a stochastic population model. The size of the predator population was projected under scenarios combining prey dynamics and winter climate to test whether climate buffers or alternatively magnifies the impact of changes in prey dynamics. We found the observed dampening vole cycles, characterized by low spring densities, drastically reduced the breeding probability of predators. Our results illustrate that (i) change in trophic interactions can override direct climate change effect; and (ii) the demographic resilience entailed by longevity and the occurrence of a floater stage may be insufficient to buffer hypothesized environmental changes. Ultimately, dampened prey cycles would drive our owl local population towards extinction, with winter climate regimes only altering persistence time. These results suggest that other vole-eating predators are likely to be threatened by dampening vole cycles throughout Europe.