Evol Ecol Res 19: 215-226 (2018) Full PDF if your library subscribes.
How will climate change affect the temporal and spatial distributions of a reservoir host, the Indian gerbil (Tatera indica), and the spread of zoonotic diseases that it carries?
Kordiyeh Hamidi1, Saeed Mohammadi2 and Naeimeh Eskandarzadeh3
1Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran, 2Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Zabol, Zabol, Iran and 3Young Researchers and Elite Club, Islamic Azad University, Shirvan Branch, Shirvan, Iran
Correspondence: K. Hamidi, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran. email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Background: The Indian gerbil (Tatera indica) is a main reservoir host of cutaneous leishmaniasis, a great public health problem in many rural areas of Iran.
Questions: How do climatic variables affect the habitat suitability and distribution of T. indica? How will changes in climatic variables affect the spatial distribution of T. indica across Iran? Will those changes influence the outbreak regions of zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis?
Organism: The Indian gerbil, T. indica, a rodent.
Analytical methods: Maximum entropy modelling (MaxEnt) to predict suitable regions and the potential distribution of this gerbil in the present and future in Iran.
Results: Species distribution models revealed the four variables most effective in determining Indian gerbil occurrence: the mean precipitation of the year’s driest month; the seasonality of precipitation; the mean temperature of the warmest quarter of the year; and the mean temperature of the wettest quarter. According to our model, the southern parts of Iran have the most suitable habitat for T. indica. With global climate change, suitable habitats for the gerbil will increase considerably in Iran spreading outwards toward the southwest, centrally, and the northeast.
Conclusions: Our results may be used to estimate outbreaks and prevalence of cutaneous leishmaniasis (as well as other infectious diseases which this gerbil carries).
Keywords: climate change, ectoparasites, Indian gerbil, leishmaniasis, species distribution projections.
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