Impacts of climate change on tsetse (Diptera: Glossinidae) : water balance physiology and mechanistic modelling

Kleynhans, Elizabeth (2011-12)

Thesis (MScAgric (Conservation Ecology and Entomology))--Stellenbosch University, 2011

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Climate change will alter both temperature and moisture availability in the future and therefore will likely affect vector borne disease prevalence. Organisms faced with changes in weather can respond in a variety of ways and this complicates any predictions and inferences for these organisms with climate change. Cause-and-effect links between climate change, insect vector responses, and changes in risk of disease transmission are poorly established for most vector borne diseases. Tsetse (Diptera, Glossinidae) are important vectors of trypanosome parasites posing a major threat to human health and socio-economic welfare in Africa. Water balance plays an important role in determining activity patterns, energy budgets, survival and population dynamics and, hence, geographic distribution and abundance of insects. Glossina species occupy a wide range of habitats in Africa and are notable for their desiccation resistance in xeric environments. Yet, whether or not the different species, subgroups or ecotype groups differ in susceptibility to changes in weather remain undetermined. The first main focus of my thesis was to test the effects of climate change on water balance traits (water loss rate, body water content and body lipid content) of adult tsetse flies. Four species from xeric and mesic habitats were exposed to a range of temperature (20 – 30 °C) and relative humidity (0 – 99 %) combinations. Water loss rates were significantly affected by measurement treatments, while body water content, body lipid content and mass were less affected and less variable across treatment combinations. The results provide support for mass-independent inter- and intra-specific variation in water loss rate and survival times. Therefore, water balance responses to variation in temperature and relative humidity are complex in Glossina, and this response varies within and among species, sub-groups and ecotypes in terms of magnitude and the direction of effect change. Secondly, I apply a mechanistic distribution model for G. pallidipes to predict potential population responses to climate change. I validate the mechanistic model (NicheMapperTM) results spatially and temporally using two methods. Both tests of the model showed that NicheMapper‟s predicted resting metabolic rate has great potential to capture various aspects of population dynamics and biogeography in G. pallidipes. Furthermore, I simulate the effect of phenotypic plasticity under different climate change scenarios and solve for the basic reproductive number of the trypanosomiasis disease (R0) under a future climate scenario. This integrated thesis provides strong evidence for a general decrease in optimal habitat for G. pallidipes under future climate change scenarios. However, it also provides strong support for a 1.85 fold increase in R0 based on changes in biting frequency as a result of higher predicted metabolic rates in the future. This might suggest that the reduction in optimal habitat could be outweighed by the increase in R0. The results demonstrate that an understanding of the physiological mechanism(s) influencing vectors of disease with climate change can provide insight into forecasting variation in vector abundance and disease risk.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die invloed van klimaatsverandering op die temperatuur en vog beskikbaarheid mag moontlik insek-oordraagbare siektes in the toekoms beïnvloed. Organismes wat verandering in klimaat ervaar kan op verskillende maniere reageer en daarom is voorspelling en afleidings van die reaksies op klimaatsverandering nie eenvoudig nie. Boonop is die verband tussen klimaatsverandering, insek reaksies en veranderinge in die oordragsrisiko van siektes onbekend vir die meeste insekoordraagbare siektes. Tsetse (Diptera: Glossinidae) is belangrike draers van trypanosoom parasiete wat 'n bedreiging inhou vir mensegesondheid en sosio-ekonomiese welsyn in Afrika. Waterbalans speel 'n belangrike rol in die energiebondel samestelling, aktiwiteitspatrone, oorlewing en populasie dinamika van insekte en, dus, die geografiese voorkoms en verspreiding van insekte. Glossina spesies kom in 'n verskeidenheid habitatte in Afrika voor en is bekend daarvoor dat hulle weerstand bied teen uitdroging in droё habitatte. Maar, die mate waartoe die verskillende subgroepe, ekotiepegroepe en spesies kwesbaar is vir klimaatsverandering, is steeds onbekend. Die eerste hooffokus van my tesis was om die uitwerking van klimaatsverandering op waterbalansrelevante uitkomste (tempo van waterverlies, waterinhoud en vetinhoud) van volwasse tsetse vlieё te bestudeer. Vier spesies van droë en klam habitatte is aan verskillende kombinasies van temperatuur (20 – 30 °C) en relatiewe humiditeit (0 – 99 %) blootgestel. Die tempo van waterverlies is betekenisvol deur die verskillende toetskombinasies beïnvloed, terwyl die waterinhoud, vetinhoud en liggaamsmassa tot 'n minder mate beïnvloed is en minder gevarieer het tussen die toetskombinasies. Die resultate toon bewyse vir gewigs-onafhanklike inter- en intraspesie variasie in waterverlies tempo‟s en oorlewingstyd. Die waterbalans uitkomste op variasie in temperatuur en relatiewe humiditeit is dus ingewikkeld in Glossina, en dit varieer binne en tussen spesies, subgroepe en ekotiepe in terme van die graad en rigting van effek verandering. Tweedens pas ek 'n meganistiese verspreidingsmodel toe vir G. pallidipes om die moontlike populasiereaksies met klimaatsverandering te voorspel. Ek toets die antwoorde van die model (NicheMapperTM) oor tyd en skaal op twee verskillende maniere. Beide toetse het aangedui dat die NicheMapper voorspelde rustende metaboliese tempo die verskillende aspekte van G. pallidipes populasie dinamika en biogeografie goed beskryf. Ek simuleer die uitkomste van die fenotipiese veranderbaarheid van G. pallidipes onder „n verskeidenheid klimaatsverandering-uitkomste, en los „n model van die basiese ommekeer van trypanosomiasis (R0) op onder 'n klimatsverandering situasie in die toekoms. Hierdie geïntegreerde tesis toon sterk bewyse dat die optimale habitat van G. pallidipes verminder met klimaatsverandering. Dit toon egter ook bewyse vir 'n 1.85 keer toename in R0 gebasseer op 'n verhoging in die frekwensie van bytgeleenthede weens die hoër voorspelde metaboliese tempo van die vlieë in die toekoms. Laasgenoemde stel voor dat die afname in optimale habitat moontlik deur 'n toename in R0 oorheers sal word. Die resultate demonstreer dat beter begrip van die fisiologiese meganisme(s) wat parasiet-draers beïnvloed verdere insig kan voorsien in die toekomstige voorspelling van draer teenwoordigheid en siekte waarskynlikheid.

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