- Modelling the potential spatial distribution of mosquito species using three different techniques
- International Journal of Health Geographics
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- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Background: Models for the spatial distribution of vector species are important tools in the assessment of the risk of establishment and subsequent spread of vector-borne diseases. The aims of this study are to define the environmental conditions suitable for several mosquito species through species distribution modelling techniques, and to compare the results produced with the different techniques.
Methods: Three different modelling techniques, i.e., non-linear discriminant analysis, random forest and generalised linear model, were used to investigate the environmental suitability in the Netherlands for three indigenous mosquito species (Culiseta annulata, Anopheles claviger and Ochlerotatus punctor). Results obtained with the three statistical models were compared with regard to: (i) environmental suitability maps, (ii) environmental variables associated with occurrence, (iii) model evaluation.
Results: The models indicated that precipitation, temperature and population density were associated with the occurrence of Cs. annulata and An. claviger, whereas land surface temperature and vegetation indices were associated with the presence of Oc. punctor. The maps produced with the three different modelling techniques showed consistent spatial patterns for each species, but differences in the ranges of the predictions. Non-linear discriminant analysis had lower predictions than other methods. The model with the best classification skills for all the species was the random forest model, with specificity values ranging from 0.89 to 0.91, and sensitivity values ranging from 0.64 to 0.95.
Conclusions: We mapped the environmental suitability for three mosquito species with three different modelling techniques. For each species, the maps showed consistent spatial patterns, but the level of predicted environmental suitability differed; NLDA gave lower predicted probabilities of presence than the other two methods. The variables selected as important in the models were in agreement with the existing knowledge about these species. All model predictions had a satisfactory to excellent accuracy; best accuracy was obtained with random forest. The insights obtained can be used to gain more knowledge on vector and non-vector mosquito species. The output of this type of distribution modelling methods can, for example, be used as input for epidemiological models of vector-borne diseases.
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