Project proposal details

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Project title
The effects of climate on the population dynamics of disease vectors
Contact name
Samraat Pawar
Project based at
Silwood Park (Imperial)
Imperial contact email
Project description
The vast majority of disease vectors are ectotherms (think mosquitoes, think ticks). Therefore, to understand the effects of climate change on disease transmission, we need models and data to develop a predictive framework for how climatic temperature drives vector population dynamics. Yet, the vast majority of epidemiological models ignore the population dynamics of disease vectors, focusing instead on transmission dynamics only. In this project, you will either:
(a) develop models based on Metabolic Theory for the temperature dependence of population size and dynamics and test the predictions using data on the spatial and temporal distribution of natural vector populations (see
(b) test existing models using such data
(c) perform data analyses (e.g., using machine learning to find best-fitting time-series models)

Project will be co-supervised by Dr. Lauren Cator.

Relevant references:

Dell, A. I., Pawar, S., & Savage, V. M. (2011). Systematic variation in the temperature dependence of physiological and ecological traits. PNAS, 108(26), 10591–10596.
Mordecai, E. et al (2013). Optimal temperature for malaria transmission is dramatically lower than previously predicted. Ecology Letters, 16(1), 22–30.
Johnson, L. et al. Understanding uncertainty in temperature effects on vector-borne disease: A Bayesian approach. Ecology 96, 203–213 (2015).
Additional requirements
Programming in R, Python, or equivalent
Available support
Computer, Desk space
Date uploaded

Project proposal limitations

The project proposer has indicated that there are some limitations to the availability of this project. It may only be available at certain times of year or suit a specific project length. It may also need skills taught to students on a particular course or courses.

Research project proposals are usually part of an active research programme. If supervisors have stated limitations to a proposal, then they are unlikely to have any flexibility. If you are very interested in the topic but have problems with the stated limitations, the supervisor may still be happy to talk to you about other options around the proposal, but you should not expect that any alternative arrangements can be made.

Project length limitations
5 months, 9 months
Available date limitations
Winter (January), Spring (April-May)
Suitable for
Ecology Evolution and Conservation, Conservation Science, Computational Methods in Ecology and Evolution (MSc), Computational Methods in Ecology and Evolution (MRes), Ecological Applications, Ecosystem and Environmental Change MRes