Satellite Imaging and Long-Term Mosquito Surveillance Implicate the Influence of Rapid Urbanization on Culex Vector Populations
The ecology and environmental conditions of a habitat have profound influences on mosquito population abundance. As a result, mosquito species vary in their associations with particular habitat types, yet long-term studies showing how mosquito populations shift in a changing ecological landscape are lacking. To better understand how land use changes influence mosquito populations, we examined mosquito surveillance data over a thirty-four-year period for two contrasting sites in central Iowa. One site displayed increasing levels of urbanization over time and a dramatic decline in Culex pipiens group (an informal grouping of Culex restuans, Culex pipiens, and Culex salinarius, referred to as CPG), the primary vectors of West Nile virus in central Iowa. Similar effects were also shown for other mosquito vector populations, yet the abundance of Aedes vexans remained constant during the study period. This is in contrast to a second site, which reflected an established urban landscape. At this location, there were no significant changes in land use and CPG populations remained constant. Climate data (temperature, total precipitation) were compiled for each location to see if these changes could account for altered population dynamics, but neither significantly influence CPG abundance at the respective site locations. Taken together, our data suggest that increased landscape development can have negative impacts on Culex vector populations, and we argue that long-term surveillance paired with satellite imagery analysis are useful methods for measuring the impacts of rapid human development on mosquito vector communities. As a result, we believe that land use changes can have important implications for mosquito management practices, population modeling, and disease transmission dynamics.
This article is published as Field, Eleanor N., Ryan E. Tokarz, and Ryan C. Smith. "Satellite Imaging and Long-Term Mosquito Surveillance Implicate the Influence of Rapid Urbanization on Culex Vector Populations." Insects 10, no. 9 (2019): 269. doi: 10.3390/insects10090269.