The effect of temperature on Anopheles mosquito population dynamics and the potential for malaria transmission

Lindsay M. Beck-Johnson, William A. Nelson, Krijn P. Paaijmans, Andrew F. Read, Matthew B. Thomas, Ottar N. Bjørnstad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

157 Scopus citations


The parasites that cause malaria depend on Anopheles mosquitoes for transmission; because of this, mosquito population dynamics are a key determinant of malaria risk. Development and survival rates of both the Anopheles mosquitoes and the Plasmodium parasites that cause malaria depend on temperature, making this a potential driver of mosquito population dynamics and malaria transmission. We developed a temperature-dependent, stage-structured delayed differential equation model to better understand how climate determines risk. Including the full mosquito life cycle in the model reveals that the mosquito population abundance is more sensitive to temperature than previously thought because it is strongly influenced by the dynamics of the juvenile mosquito stages whose vital rates are also temperature-dependent. Additionally, the model predicts a peak in abundance of mosquitoes old enough to vector malaria at more accurate temperatures than previous models. Our results point to the importance of incorporating detailed vector biology into models for predicting the risk for vector borne diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere79276
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 14 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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