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BayCEER - Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research

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Biogeographical analysis of health-relevant species and prediction of their spreading tendencies under changing climatic conditions in Bavaria


From 07/2008 to 10/2011

Principal Investigator: Carl Beierkuhnlein
Staff: Stephanie Thomas, Dominik Fischer

Climate change is characterised by rising temperatures and fluctuating precipitation regimes and will consequently alter the distribution of species that are harmful for human health.

Especially insects which are considered as disease vectors react to climatic change promptly. Therefore mosquitoes and sandflies are expected to threaten Central Europe in the future.

In this context, we focus on aedine species like the invasive Asian tiger mosquito (Ae. albopictus), Asian bush mosquito (Ae. japonicus) and yellow fever mosquito (Ae. aegypti), which are competent vectors for several viral infectious diseases such as chikungunya, dengue and West Nile fever.

 Furthermore, the expected northward spread of European sandflies (e.g. Phlebotomus perniciosus or Ph. mascittii) is supposed to cause increasing cases of autochthonous leishmaniasis in Germany.

 The current distribution of selected vectors is analysed and correlated with climatic data. So the preferred climatic envelope of the species is detected. The climatic envelope can then be transferred to future climatic change scenarios   by using geographically explicit regional climate models. Hence, projections of the climatic suitability for the disease vectors can be deduced.

 Basically for further studies, literature on disease vectors will be analysed with special respect to occurrence data, climatic requirements and constraints, invasion pathways, preferred hosts and potential breeding sides. GIS applications, multivariate algorithms and regional climate models enable to combine biological, biogeographical, climatic and geostatistical knowledge.

 The study aims are to identify vectors with high dispersal capacity and detect future risk zones, which provide suitable conditions for an establishment. Thus, surveillance activities for the potential risk zones can be developed in time.


Thomas, SM; Obermayr, U;  Fischer, D; Kreyling, J; Beierkuhnlein, C: Low-temperature threshold for egg survival of a post-diapause and non-diapause European aedine strain, Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae), Parasites & Vectors, 5(100) (2012)


Fischer, D; Moeller, P; Thomas, S; Naucke, TJ; Beierkuhnlein, C: Combining climatic projections and dispersal ability: a method for estimating the responses of sandfly vector species to climate change, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 5(11), e1407 (2011)


Fischer, D; Thomas, S; Niemitz, F; Reineking, B; Beierkuhnlein, C: Projection of climatic suitability for Aedes albopictus Skuse (Culicidae) in Europe under climate change conditions, Global and Planetary Change, 78(1-2), 54-64 (2011)

Thomas, S; Fischer, D; Fleischmann, S; Bittner, T; Beierkuhnlein, C: Risk assessment of dengue virus amplification in Europe based on spatio-temporal high resolution climate change projections, Erdkunde, 65(2), 137-150 (2011)

Fischer, D; Thomas, S; Beierkuhnlein, C: Temperature-derived potential for the establishment of phlebotomine sandflies and visceral leishmaniasis in Germany, Geospatial Health, 5(1), 59-69 (2010) pdf

Fischer, D; Thomas, S; Beierkuhnlein, C: Climate Change Effects on Vector-Borne Diseases in Europe, Nova Acta Leopoldina, 112(384), 99-107 (2010)

Fischer, D; Stahlmann, R; Thomas, S; Beierkuhnlein, C: Global warming and exotic insect borne diseases in Germany - Novel threats and scenarios, Geographische Rundschau (international edition), 5(2), 32-38 (2009)

Fischer, D; Thomas, S; Beierkuhnlein, C: Modelling climatic suitability and dispersal for disease vectors: the example of a phlebotomine sandfly in Europe, Procedia Environmental Sciences, in press (2011)

Fischer, D; Thomas, S; Stahlmann, R; Beierkuhnlein, C: The propagation of exotic insect-borne diseases in Bavaria as a consequence of global warming, Forum der Geoökologie, 20(1), 51-53 (2009)

Fischer, D; Thomas, S; Beierkuhnlein, C: Einsatz regionaler Klimasimulationen in der Medizinischen Geographie: Möglichkeiten und Grenzen am Beispiel einer vektor-übertragenen Infektionskrankheit in Strobl, Blaschke, Griesebner: Angewandte Geoinformatik: Beiträge zum 22. AGIT-Symposium Salzburg, Wichmann, 248-257 (2010)

Fischer, D; Thomas, S; Stahlmann, R; Beierkuhnlein, C: Der Klimawandel als Herausforderung für biogeographische Analysen von Krankheitsvektoren - Szenarien für Bayern in Strobl, Blaschke, Griesebner: Angewandte Geoinformatik: Beiträge zum 21. AGIT-Symposium Salzburg, Wichmann, 208-217 (2009)

Beierkuhnlein, C; Thomas, S: Regionale Aspekte des Klimawandels - Entwicklungen und gesundheitlichen Konsequenzen in Bayern in Landeszentrale für Gesundheit: Schriftenreihe der Landeszentrale für Gesundheit in Bayern, 19, 35-46 (2008)

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