The impact of rapid CLIMate change on the Biodiversity-health interface

Project Details


Vector-borne diseases, and in particular dengue disease are a global threat. Dengue virus is transmitted by the mosquitoes Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus to humans. Global warming may significantly change the distribution and abundance of the dengue vectors and thus may alter the number of populations at risk. The mosquitoes seem to easily adapt to new thermal conditions. However, the climate adaptation in those vector species is far from well understood. In the project CLIMB, we aim to uncover the potential of the primary and secondary dengue vectors Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus for adaptation to climate change in Nepal, which serves as an exceptional Exploratorium of Global Change. We will examine i) where and how fast does mosquito and arboviral biodiversity shift their distribution range (entomological & arboviral biodiversity survey), ii) how the two vector species and their altitudinal populations survive to extreme heat events (ecophysiological field experiments), and thereby investigate the adaptive potential of the primary dengue vector Ae. aegypti under current (genome-wide association studies) and future climatic changes (genomic forecasting). In addition, we aim to predict iii) how fast phenotypic traits such as lifecycle parameters and vector competence manifest if crossing a heat-susceptible with heat-resistant population (adaptive introgression experiments combined with vector competence studies). This multi-faceted research plan will lead to a fundamental understanding of the impact of climate change on arbovirus-vector biodiversity and in particular on the climatic adaptation of dengue vectors. The gained fundamental knowledge in insect ecology and vector biology could be very useful for dengue risk assessment in countries with established or invading dengue vector populations.
Effective start/end date1/01/2331/12/26


  • Flemish Government - Department of Economy, Science & Innovation: €599,908.00