Vector-borne Infectious Diseases in Climate Change Investigations (VICCI):

Project 7: Biogeographical analysis of health-relevant species and projection of their spreading tendencies under changing climatic conditions in Bavaria

Project Director

Prof. Dr. Carl Beierkuhnlein, Stephanie Thomas, Dominik Fischer
Department of Biogeography, University of Bayreuth


Climate change is characterised by rising temperatures and fluctuating precipitation regimes and will consequently alter the distribution of species that are harmful for human health.

Especially insects which are considered as mobile disease vectors react to climatic change promptly. Therefore mosquitoes and sandflies are expected to threaten Central Europe in the future.

In this context, we focus on aedine species like the invasive Asian tiger mosquito (Ae. albopictus), yellow fever mosquito (Ae, aegypti) and Ae. japonicus, which are competent vectors for several viral infectious diseases such as Chikungunya, Dengue and West Nile Fever.

Furthermore, the northward spread of European sandflies (e.g. Phlebotomus perniciosus or Ph. mascittii) is supposed to cause increasing cases of autochthonous Leishmaniasis in Germany.

The current distribution of selected vectors is analysed and correlated with climatic data. So the preferred climatic envelope of the species can be detected. The climatic envelope can be transferred to future climatic change scenarios for Bavaria by using geographically explicit regional climate models. Hence, projections of the climatic suitability for the disease vectors can be deduced.

Basically for further studies, literature on disease vectors will be analysed with special respect to occurrence data, climatic requirements and constraints, invasion pathways, preferred hosts and potential breeding sides. The information will be collected in a database and completes the projections of the climatic suitability for the disease vectors. GIS applications, multivariate algorithms and regional climate models enable to combine biological, biogeographical, climatic and geostatistical knowledge.

The study aims are to identify vectors with high dispersal capacity and detect future Bavarian risk zones, which provide suitable conditions for an establishment. Thus, surveillance activities for the potential risk zones can be developed in time.