Global change is expected to have complex effects on the distribution and transmission patterns of zoonotic parasites. Modelling habitat suitability for parasites with complex life cycles is essential to further our understanding of how disease systems respond to environmental changes, and to make spatial predictions of their future distributions. However, the limited availability of high-quality occurrence data with high spatial resolution often constrains these investigations. Using 449 reliable occurrence records for Echinococcus multilocularis from across Europe published over the last 35 years, we modelled habitat suitability for this parasite, the aetiological agent of alveolar echinococcosis, in order to describe its environmental niche, predict its current and future distribution under three global change scenarios, and quantify the probability of occurrence for each European country. Using a machine learning approach, we developed large-scale (25x25 km) species distribution models based on seven sets of predictors, each set representing a distinct biological hypothesis supported by current knowledge of the autecology of the parasite. The best-supported hypothesis included climatic, orographic and land-use/land-cover variables such as the temperature of the coldest quarter, forest cover, urban cover and the precipitation seasonality. Future projections suggested the appearance of highly suitable areas for E. multilocularis towards northern latitudes and in the whole Alpine region under all scenarios, while decreases in habitat suitability were predicted for central Europe. Our spatially explicit predictions of habitat suitability shed light on the complex responses of parasites to ongoing global changes.

Current and future distribution of a parasite with complex life cycle under global change scenarios: Echinococcus multilocularis in Europe.

Lucia Cenni;Alessandro Massolo
Ultimo
Conceptualization
2023-01-01

Abstract

Global change is expected to have complex effects on the distribution and transmission patterns of zoonotic parasites. Modelling habitat suitability for parasites with complex life cycles is essential to further our understanding of how disease systems respond to environmental changes, and to make spatial predictions of their future distributions. However, the limited availability of high-quality occurrence data with high spatial resolution often constrains these investigations. Using 449 reliable occurrence records for Echinococcus multilocularis from across Europe published over the last 35 years, we modelled habitat suitability for this parasite, the aetiological agent of alveolar echinococcosis, in order to describe its environmental niche, predict its current and future distribution under three global change scenarios, and quantify the probability of occurrence for each European country. Using a machine learning approach, we developed large-scale (25x25 km) species distribution models based on seven sets of predictors, each set representing a distinct biological hypothesis supported by current knowledge of the autecology of the parasite. The best-supported hypothesis included climatic, orographic and land-use/land-cover variables such as the temperature of the coldest quarter, forest cover, urban cover and the precipitation seasonality. Future projections suggested the appearance of highly suitable areas for E. multilocularis towards northern latitudes and in the whole Alpine region under all scenarios, while decreases in habitat suitability were predicted for central Europe. Our spatially explicit predictions of habitat suitability shed light on the complex responses of parasites to ongoing global changes.
2023
Cenni, Lucia; Simoncini, Andrea; Massetti, Luciano; Rizzoli, Annapaola; Hauffe, Heidi C.; Massolo, Alessandro
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/1165786
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