Discipline: Ecology Environmental and Earth Sciences
Taylor McClanahan - University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Co-Author(s): Cristina Huertas-Diaz and Courtney Murdock, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito) has successfully colonized several countries in North and South America. Ae. albopictus is a highly efficient vector, capable of transmitting at least 27 different arboviruses, and is contributing to the global expansion of both dengue and Chikungunya. However, whether or not dengue or Chikungunya emerges in a given area will depend on its interaction with local mosquito populations and local environmental conditions. The goal of our study was to characterize variation in local climate conditions and describe how this variation impacts Ae. albopictus traits important for transmission. A map of impervious surfaces in Athens-Clarke County was used to select three urban, suburban, and rural sites (30 m2). Six pots were placed (>10 m apart) at each site in full shade, filled with 200 mL leaf infusion, seeded with 30 Ae. albopictus larvae, and paired with a data logger on the inside and outside of the pot. All pots were checked daily for emerging adults, and any adults were counted and removed. Compared to suburban and rural areas, urban sites had the following: warmer daily mean and minimum temperatures, decreased daily diurnal temperature variation, earlier adult emergence, and lower numbers of emerging adults. Weather station temperature data were not good predictors of mosquito microclimate across the three land uses. This cautions against the use of imprecise global climate patterns in predicting how vector-borne diseases may respond to current and future climate change. We found that microclimate data generate a more precise representation of the environments these mosquitoes inhabit. In the future, a complete replica of this experiment will be generated and compared with the microclimate data previously collected.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates Program, University of Georgia, Odum School of Ecology, Dr. John Drake
Faculty Advisor: Jim Winter,