Defining the roles of local precipitation and anthropogenic water sources in driving the abundance of Aedes aegypti, an emerging disease vector in urban, arid landscapes

Erica A. Newman, Xiao Feng, Jesse D. Onland, Kathleen R. Walker, Steven Young, Kirk Smith, John Townsend, Dan Damian, Kacey Ernst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Understanding drivers of disease vectors’ population dynamics is a pressing challenge. For short-lived organisms like mosquitoes, landscape-scale models must account for their highly local and rapid life cycles. Aedes aegypti, a vector of multiple emerging diseases, has become abundant in desert population centers where water from precipitation could be a limiting factor. To explain this apparent paradox, we examined Ae. aegypti abundances at > 660 trapping locations per year for 3 years in the urbanized Maricopa County (metropolitan Phoenix), Arizona, USA. We created daily precipitation layers from weather station data using a kriging algorithm, and connected localized daily precipitation to numbers of mosquitoes trapped at each location on subsequent days. Precipitation events occurring in either of two critical developmental periods for mosquitoes were correlated to suppressed subsequent adult female presence and abundance. LASSO models supported these analyses for female presence but not abundance. Precipitation may explain 72% of Ae. aegypti presence and 90% of abundance, with anthropogenic water sources supporting mosquitoes during long, precipitation-free periods. The method of using kriging and weather station data may be generally applicable to the study of various ecological processes and patterns, and lead to insights into microclimates associated with a variety of organisms’ life cycles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2058
JournalScientific reports
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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