Track: 1, Citizen science for mosquito surveillance
Prof. dr. M. Dicke
dr. C.J.M. Koenraadt
dr. M.J.J. Schrama, Prof. dr. F. Bartumeus
Laboratory of Entomolgy, Plant Sciences Group, Wageningen University & Research
+31 (0)639 234 75 8
Europe is at increased risk of (re-)emerging mosquito-borne diseases. It is expected that changes in climate, land use and anthropogenic activity will induce shifts in the abundance and density of invasive and endemic mosquito- and host species. The majority of mosquito-borne diseases is zoonotic. Therefore, it is of key importance to study mosquito-host interactions. The use of novel techniques (molasses-fermentation based trapping and citizen science) provides promising results in the capture of blood-fed mosquitoes, but these have not yet been deployed to investigate host preference based on blood meal identification. This thesis will therefore focus on optimization of blood-fed mosquito capture techniques, identification of host-preferences and studying the effects of environmental conditions and host availability on these host-preferences. Firstly, the efficacy of molasses-based fermentation will be assessed in the lab as well as in the field. Secondly, the host preferences of mosquitoes found throughout The Netherlands will be identified via molecular blood-meal analysis. Thirdly, on a smaller scale, mosquitoes will be sampled at four different land-use types in and around Wageningen, The Netherlands. At the same locations, the vertebrate host community will be studied and compared to vertebrate communities detected in mosquito blood meals. Finally, a citizen science study will be conducted in which ‘Muggenradar’ will be used to collect mosquitoes in order to identify human exposure to mosquito bites on a large spatiotemporal scale. Collected blood-engorged mosquitoes will be used to identify the host preferences of mosquitoes collected indoors. In conclusion, these studies are expected to provide valuable insights in mosquito host preferences and the effects of environmental conditions thereon.
Research questions / objectives
Please note: The objectives mentioned above are as they are described in my research proposal. In the meantime, my objectives have shifted more towards citizen-science related work. For instance, spatiotemporal field captures will be compared to citizen science nuisance reports. In addition, objective IV will focus on more than just host-preferences, but will also include other biological parameters. Some work will be done on activity patterns, for which BG Counters will be used.