Date of Award

Summer 2007

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biological Sciences


Ecological Sciences

Committee Director

Robert K. Rose

Committee Director

Thomas R. Allen, Jr.

Committee Member

Alan Savitzky


The models I present in this dissertation were designed to enable mosquito control agencies in the mid-Atlantic region that oversee large jurisdictions to rapidly track the spatial and temporal distributions of mosquito species, especially those species known to be vectors of eastern equine encephalitis and West Nile virus. I was able to keep these models streamlined, user-friendly, and not cost-prohibitive using empirically based digital data to analyze mosquito-abundance patterns in real landscapes.

This research is presented in three major chapters: (II) a series of semi-static habitat suitability indices (HSI) grounded on well-documented associations between mosquito abundance and environmental variables, (III) a dynamic model for predicting both spatial and temporal mosquito abundance based on a topographic soil moisture index and recent weather patterns, and (IV) a set of protocols laid out to aid mosquito control agencies for the use of these models.

The HSIs (Chapter II) were based on relationships of mosquitoes to digital surrogates of soil moisture and vegetation characteristics. These models grouped mosquitoes species derived from similarities in habitat requirements, life-cycle type, and vector competence. Quantification of relationships was determined using multiple linear regression models.

As in Chapter II, relationships between mosquito abundance and environmental factors in Chapter III were quantified using regression models. However, because this model was, in part, a function of changes in weather patterns, it enables the prediction of both 'where' and 'when' mosquito outbreaks are likely to occur. This model is distinctive among similar studies in the literature because of my use of NOAA's NEXRAD Doppler radar (3-hr precipitation accumulation data) to quantify the spatial and temporal distributions in precipitation accumulation. \

Chapter IV is unique among the chapters in this dissertation because in lieu of presenting new research, it summarizes the preprocessing steps and analyses used in the HSIs and the dynamic, weather-based, model generated in Chapters II and III. The purpose of this chapter is to provide the reader and potential users with the necessary protocols for modeling the spatial and temporal abundances and distributions of mosquitoes, with emphasis on Culiseta melanura, in a real-world landscape of the mid-Atlantic region. This chapter also provides enhancements that could easily be incorporated into an environmentally sensitive integrated pest management program.


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