The U.S. government-funded research, it is hoped, will result in the first Web-based, degree-day calculator that warns public health officials when, where and under which conditions infectious mosquitoes can either thrive or die. The information is expected to be on line by next summer.
"Scientists, whether they are climatologists or medical entomologists, have never fully examined the relationship between climate and the proliferation of the mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus," says Arthur T. DeGaetano, Cornell associate professor of climatology and director of the NRCC, is one of the principal investigators on the project. "Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is unique in that collaborations like this are very possible. Interaction between climatologists and medical entomologists can be at a level where information -- once it is gathered and processed -- can be readily employed in vector management schemes," he says.
The research, funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will occur in four stages. First, climatologists and entomologists will gather climate data and synchronize this with mosquito habitat observations. These data then will be related to mosquito-count information through statistical analysis for mapping and graphing. From this information, indices will be developed for moisture surpluses, degree day-based mosquito development and killing freezes. Finally, all this data will be put on the Web for public health officials' use.
Mosquitoes develop in microhabitats, according to Laura Harrington, Cornell assistant professor o
Contact: Blaine P. Friedlander Jr.
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