In this PDPC frontrunner project we aim to answer the overall research question:
“How will mosquito and bird and pathogen populations be affected by climate change, changes in water management and increasing salinization in a densely populated delta, and how will this ultimately impact on disease risk?”
This will be done by connecting the fields of climate change modelling, landscape ecology, animal ecology, insect ecology, virology and public health.
These findings will require new mitigation measures for the delta, from building with nature solutions to hard infrastructure such as locks and gates to mitigate the anticipated increase in salt intrusion.
This frontrunner project will consist of 4 working packages.
WP1 (lead TU Delft) will build upon the scenario’s for water management and land use change as developed within the NWA OneHealth PACT project (One Health PACT) and in the NWO Perspective Program Salt intrusion through urbanising deltas: solutions (‘SALTISolutions’) and coupled them with climate change scenarios.
In WP2 (lead LU, co-lead WUR & EMC), we will focus on past, present and future impacts of salinization and climate on four globally important, locally present mosquito species, each of them acting as a vector for a range of pathogens.
In WP3 (lead ErasmusMC, co-lead UvA), the effect of wetland development on bird species distribution and potential transmission of viruses to urban areas will be explored. This will be done by modelling historical data on landscape changes (wetland development) and bird species abundance data (SOVON).
WP4 (All Partners) is the synthesis work package that aims to combine key data streams and information from WP 1, 2 and 3, which will be validated and combined. This will result in an assessment of the risk of vector borne disease outbreaks in humans, using data generated in WP2 and 3, under the scenarios as developed under WP1 and the OH-PACT project.
Figure 1. The projected changes in salinization of water bodies are expected to impact on disease risk (red box) via changes in birds and mosquitoes. The yellow box indicates the abiotic changes, and the human interventions in the landscape; the green box indicates the biotic consequences and the ultimate impact on disease risk. Each of the work packages focuses on a subset of the cascade of effects, as shown on the right side of the figure.
Figure 2. The ultimate aim of the current proposal is to use the knowledge on the Rhine delta in other parts of the world. Examples above show deltas that share a number of similar characteristics to the Rhine delta, in terms of population density, size and vulnerability to salinization and vector borne disease outbreaks.