Density-dependent population dynamics in Aedes aegypti slow the spread of wMel Wolbachia

Hancock, Penelope A., White, Vanessa L., Callahan, Ashley G., Godfray, Charles H.J., Hoffmann, Ary A., and Ritchie, Scott A. (2016) Density-dependent population dynamics in Aedes aegypti slow the spread of wMel Wolbachia. Journal of Applied Ecology, 53. pp. 785-793.

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1. Field release of endosymbiotic Wolbachia bacteria into wild Aedes aegypti mosquito populations is a promising strategy for biocontrol of dengue. This strategy requires successful Wolbachia invasion through the mosquito vector population. Natural variation in mosquito fitness due to density-dependent competition for limited food resources may influence Wolbachia invasion. We know little about these effects, largely because our understanding of density-dependent dynamics in mosquito populations is limited.

2. We developed an empirical model of A. aegypti–Wolbachia dynamics where food resources available to the developing larvae are limited. We assessed the extent of density-dependent regulation in our A. aegypti population using a Bayesian statistical model that estimates the temporal variation in mosquito fitness components. We monitored the spread of Wolbachia and assessed the effect of the bacteria on larval fitness components.

3. We demonstrate that mosquito population growth is regulated by strong larval density-dependent variation in mosquito fitness components. Wolbachia spread was slowed by this heterogeneity in mosquito fitness, which reduces the capacity of the bacteria to invade. However, we found no evidence that Wolbachia affects larval fitness components.

4. Synthesis and applications. We demonstrate that the extent and form of density-dependent dynamics in the host population can have a major influence on Wolbachia invasion. These findings help explain slow Wolbachia invasion rates and indicate that the success of field release strategies for dengue control can depend on attaining high Wolbachia frequencies in the mosquito population.

Item ID: 47574
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2664
Keywords: Bayesian statistical model, biocontrol, demography, dengue, density dependence, fitness, invasion, population dynamics, vector-borne, Wolbachia
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© 2016 The Authors. Journal of Applied Ecology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Ecological Society. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

Funders: Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship (MCIOF)
Projects and Grants: MCIOF #326551-WOLBACHIA-MOD
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2017 04:46
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420315 One health @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920404 Disease Distribution and Transmission (incl. Surveillance and Response) @ 100%
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