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Exploring the role of vertebrate host traits on the transmission of mosquito-borne parasites

Mathematical Biology

Speaker: Kyle Dahlin, University of Georgia
Location: 2112 MSB
Start time: Mon, Jan 31 2022, 2:10PM

For over a century, mathematical models have been used to improve our understanding of the transmission of mosquito-borne parasites (MBPs), both to predict their spread and to develop effective control methods for their elimination. Recently, the role of temperature in MBP transmission has become a major area of focus as researchers work to assess how climate change may shift global patterns of mosquito-borne disease risk. But such research has focused almost entirely on mosquitoes and their parasites while mostly neglecting the role of the vertebrate host in the transmission system. In this talk, we will explore the connections between vertebrate host traits and MBP transmission dynamics, especially as these connections relate to temperature.

In particular, we will use mathematical models to consider two questions:

1) Are vertebrate hosts that "live fast and die young" more likely to serve as reservoirs of MBPs?

2) Are system-level thermal characteristics of MBP transmission dependent on vertebrate host traits?

The answer to these questions is, of course, "it depends". But in seeking these answers, we will see how our assumptions about the mechanisms underlying mosquitoes and vertebrate host contact rates shape the relationship between host traits and the thermal characteristics of MBP transmission.

Seminar in hybrid format. Email organizer for Zoom link.