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Lehrstuhl für Biogeografie

Prof. Dr. Carl Beierkuhnlein

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Beierkuhnlein, C*; Thomas, S M; Fischer, D: Alien and native insect vectors in the light of global change - challenges for interdisciplinary research
Vortrag, Alien and native vectors - risks for human and animal health, Frankfurt - Senckenbergmuseum: 29.10.2009 - 31.10.2009

The increasing interchange between regions and ecosystems by human traffic and trade contributes to the spread of many species into areas that could not be reached by them so far. Among them are insect species that function as vectors for human diseases. Such species have dispersed over large areas. Aedes albopictus as potential vector of West Nile fever, Chikungunya fever and Dengue fever is an invasive alien species in North America, South America and Europe. Phlebotomine sandflies, vectors of leishmaniasis, are native in the Mediterranean and adjacent regions but are expected to move north as a consequence of global warming. Mosquitoes and sand flies cannot regulate their body temperature. Thus, they are closely connected to the thermal conditions of their environment. We briefly review the main effects of global change, namely climate and environmental changes, consequences of human transport systems as well as demographic population growth and socioeconomic discrepancies. Multi-factorial impacts, which determine the occurrence of vectors, require target-oriented interdisciplinary research activities. Hence, we emphasise the necessity to link approaches from biology, medicine and ecology and their sub-disciplines like entomology, microbiology, parasitology, and biogeography. A structured literature search analyses the existing connections between disciplines and points at deficits and research challenges. Ecological and especially biogeographical methods enable an estimation of potential vector habitats on different spatial and temporal scales. Species distribution models allow the detection of climatic envelopes of native vectors (e.g. Phlebotomine Sandflies) and alien vectors (e.g. Aedes albopictus) in Europe and the transfer of their requirements to future climate change scenarios. Alien and native vectors can react in a different way to climate change, but for both range shift tendencies and spreading tendencies respectively, will result in new challenges for the public health sector.
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