Quantifying the influence of environmental temperature on transmission of vector-borne diseases

  • Thomas, Matthew Brian (PI)
  • Crane, Robert George (CoPI)
  • Mann, Michael (CoPI)
  • Scott, Thomas W. (CoPI)
  • Read, Andrew Fraser (CoPI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).

Climate change has the potential to affect the dynamics and distribution of vector-borne diseases that impact the lives of millions of people. However, our ability to quantify risk is limited due to the poorly-specified relationship between transmission and environmental parameters; at present neither the resolution of the climate models nor the parameterization of the disease models is sufficient to inform us what the actual situation will be on the ground. The central aim of this project, therefore, is to quantify how environmental temperature influences the transmission of vector-borne diseases, and how this in turn determines disease risk both now and under future climate change scenarios. To address this overall aim, the project will: (i) evaluate the effect of realistic temperature variation on the key entomological/epidemiological processes that determine disease transmission; (ii) down-scale state-of-the-art global climate model projections to the regional level; and (iii) take these biologically meaningful down-scaled climate model predictions and combine them with the novel empirically-derived biological data to develop mechanistic epidemiological models to quantify the effects of environmental temperature on disease dynamics over time and space. Developing policies to prevent or reduce the impact of changing disease dynamics requires a much better understanding of both regional climate change and the nature of the climate controls on the disease, as well as how these intersect with other environmental and socio-economic factors. This project will set the foundations of a wider program in climate and environmental change integrating the social, physical and natural sciences. These outputs can then be used to better inform society of the links between climate and disease and to develop appropriate practices for prevention, control, and adaptation.

Broader impacts. This project includes outreach to both the general public and to stakeholders, and includes continued participation in the activities of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The training and mentoring proposed are at the undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral levels, and participation of women and minorities will be maximized through participation in Women in Science and Engineering Research (WISE) and Minority Undergraduate Research Experience (MURE) programs.The fundamental issues addressed by this project are broad and scientists trained in this program will be well placed to transfer skills into many areas of social and economic interest (e.g. domestic animal and wildlife diseases, agriculture, fisheries and conservation).

Effective start/end date6/15/099/30/13


  • National Science Foundation: $1,884,991.00


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