The temporal spectrum of adult mosquito population fluctuations: conceptual and modeling implications.

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An improved understanding of mosquito population dynamics under natural environmental forcing requires adequate field observations spanning the full range of temporal scales over which mosquito abundance fluctuates in natural conditions. Here we analyze a 9-year daily time series of uninterrupted observations of adult mosquito abundance for multiple mosquito species in North Carolina to identify characteristic scales of temporal variability, the processes generating them, and the representativeness of observations at different sampling resolutions. We focus in particular on Aedes vexans and Culiseta melanura and, using a combination of spectral analysis and modeling, we find significant population fluctuations with characteristic periodicity between 2 days and several years. Population dynamical modelling suggests that the observed fast fluctuations scales (2 days-weeks) are importantly affected by a varying mosquito activity in response to rapid changes in meteorological conditions, a process neglected in most representations of mosquito population dynamics. We further suggest that the range of time scales over which adult mosquito population variability takes place can be divided into three main parts. At small time scales (indicatively 2 days-1 month) observed population fluctuations are mainly driven by behavioral responses to rapid changes in weather conditions. At intermediate scales (1 to several month) environmentally-forced fluctuations in generation times, mortality rates, and density dependence determine the population characteristic response times. At longer scales (annual to multi-annual) mosquito populations follow seasonal and inter-annual environmental changes. We conclude that observations of adult mosquito populations should be based on a sub-weekly sampling frequency and that predictive models of mosquito abundance must include behavioral dynamics to separate the effects of a varying mosquito activity from actual changes in the abundance of the underlying population.





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Jian, Yun, Sonia Silvestri, Jeff Brown, Rick Hickman and Marco Marani (2014). The temporal spectrum of adult mosquito population fluctuations: conceptual and modeling implications. PLoS One, 9(12). p. e114301. 10.1371/journal.pone.0114301 Retrieved from

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