|Fischer, D; Thomas, S M; Neteler, M; Tjaden, N; Beierkuhnlein, C: Climatic suitability of Aedes albopictus in Europe referring to climate change projections: Comparison of mechanistic and correlative niche modelling approaches, Eurosurveillance, 19(6/4) (2014)|
The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is capable of transmitting a broad range of viruses to humans. Since its introduction at the end of the 20th century, this disease vector has become well established in large parts of Southern Europe. Future range expansions in the light of climate change can be expected. Thus, determining the current and projected future climatic suitability of this invasive mosquito for the European continent is of special interest. Consequently, several studies exist which aim to detect the potential habitats for this species. However, deviating data sources and modelling approaches must be considered, when interpreting findings of specific studies. Here, different modelling methodologies are compared with special emphasis on model set up and study design. Basic approaches and model algorithms for the projection of spatio-temporal trends within the 21st century differ substantially. Applied methods range from mechanistic models (e.g. GIS-based overlay of climatic constraints or rather process-based approaches) to correlative niche models. Benefits and drawbacks of individual approaches are discussed in order to provide guidance for future studies. We conclude that spatial characteristics such as introduction gateways and dispersal pathways need to be considered. Laboratory experiments addressing the climatic constraints of the mosquito are required for improved modelling results. However, the main source of uncertainty remains the insufficient knowledge about the species´ ability to adapt to novel environments.