Using Landscape Connectivity to Control Deadly Mosquito-borne Viruses
Published:02 Mar.2021    Source:Yale School of the Environment

The yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) is a main vector of deadly diseases like dengue fever, chikungunya, and the Zika virus, which result in hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide each year. Because Ae. aegypti prefers to bite humans and there are no vaccines for many of these diseases they carry, developing methods to control these insects is imperative in the fight to control illness.

In a study recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a Yale-led research team developed a new method to track how Ae. aegyptimove through the environment. By combining genetic data from the mosquitoes and environmental data from satellites, the authors mapped "landscape connectivity" -- defined as how a landscape facilitates the movements of organisms and their genes across large areas. In particular, the researchers developed a new workflow that more effectively models how Ae. aegypti are moving through the landscape in the southern U.S.