Aedes albopictus, a highly invasive mosquito species and important transmission vector of dengue, zika, yellow fever, dirofilaria and chikungunya, has spread rapidly from Asia and is now established across Europe. It poses a serious public health threat and has recently led to the transmission of dengue fever in Europe. Ongoing UK-wide surveillance recently detected this species in Kent in 2016-2019 and London (2019), raising the possibility of A. albopictus establishing in the UK and posing a new, significant risk for disease transmission.
This PhD project is an exciting opportunity to utilise in-situ mosquito monitoring alongside satellite, drone and LiDAR earth observation datasets to model potential establishment of Aedes invasive Mosquito species (AIMs) under a range of climate change forecasts, advancing our knowledge of potential future mosquito-borne disease transmission in the UK. It will model relationships between key landscape characteristics and mosquito populations at multiple local to national scales to establish the key variables driving AIMs abundance and distribution, identify respective risk areas for AIMs establishment around UK ports-of-entry, and predicted UK-wide AIM distributions and identify at-risk populations under different climatic scenarios. This project provides opportunities for varied fieldwork and training in the acquisition of mosquito survey data, alongside satellite and drone data collection and analysis.
Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in subjects including (but not limited to) Environmental Science, Geography, Ecology or Epidemiology. MSc’s in relevant subjects such as Remote Sensing or Environmental Modelling would be advantageous, although not essential.
For further information, contact Dr Christopher Marston (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology) firstname.lastname@example.org.