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Spatio-temporal statistical modelling of mosquito movement through urban landscapes

Study level

PhD

Master of Philosophy

Honours

Faculty/Lead unit

Science and Engineering Faculty

School of Mathematical Sciences

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.

Supervisors

Associate Professor Chris Drovandi
Position
Associate Professor
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty

External supervisors

  • Dr Dan Pagendam, CSIRO

Overview

The invasive mosquito 'Aedes aegypti' predominantly inhabits urban landscapes and is responsible for the spread of diseases such as Dengue, Zika and Chikungunya, but little is known about how this mosquito moves between houses and neighbourhood blocks in search of a mate and food.

Mark-release-recapture experiments have been used in the past to study the dispersal of female mosquitoes in north Queensland and to estimate important movement parameters. These experiments involve marking mosquitoes with coloured dust, releasing them into a landscape that contains mosquito traps and then recording the dates and locations of trapped individuals.

One way to model mosquito dispersal in these landscapes is using a network model where houses blocks are represented as the nodes in a graph and these are connected to adjacent nodes via links.

The links may differentially allow the passage of mosquitoes between nodes as a result of features that lie along the link between them.

For example, there is a belief amongst entomologists that mosquitoes are reluctant to cross roads and may be more likely to travel between houses connected by vegetated corridors.

Research activities

In this project, you will develop a spatio-temporal, network model for mosquito dispersal in urban environments.

Using this model, you will apply Bayesian statistical methods to make inferences about  mosquito movement dynamics and estimate parameters that may have important implications for future biological control programs undertaken in Australia.

Some of the activities involved in this project include:

  • stochastic modelling
  • developing Bayesian algorithms for parameter estimation
  • writing up results as journal articles.

Outcomes

We expect the results of this topic to include:

  • better understanding of mosquito movement that may have important implications for future biological control programs undertaken in Australia
  • results written as journal articles.

Skills and experience

We expect you to have the following skills:

  • stochastic modelling
  • mathematical modelling
  • programming

A strong understanding of statistical inference is also desirable.

This project is most suitable for students who have an interest in applied statistical modelling, computational statistics and ecology.

Scholarships

You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round

Keywords

Contact

Contact the supervisor for more information.