Environmental and genetic basis of malaria transmitting behaviours in Anopheles arabiensis mosquitoes

Ferguson, Haydon

This project is a collaboration between the University of Glasgow, the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania, and the University of California, Davis.  Based within the Kilombero Valley, a highly-malaria endemic region of Tanzania, it will combine cutting-edge population genomics, ecological and behavioural studies to investigate the basis of the key mosquito behaviours that determine human exposure to malaria in an endemic region of sub-Saharan Africa.  Specifically research will focus on identifying the relative contribution of genetic versus ecological factors to determining the host species preference (human versus other non-susceptible animals) and resting habitat preference of the major African malaria vector Anopheles arabiensis.  By identifying the key determinants of these mosquito behavioural traits within natural populations, results have potential to inform decisions about where and when Indoor Residual Spraying control strategies can be most effectively applied, their expected impact on mosquito populations in different ecological settings, and the potential for mosquito to evolve behavioural avoidance mechanisms in response to malaria control measures.