Varying effects of global warming on schistosomiasis and intermediate host snails species.

Anna-Sofie Steensgaard

Little is currently known about the exact outcome of climate change effects on schistosomiasis, a disease caused by a snail-borne blood fluke that affects more than 250 million people mainly in tropical and subtropical countries. Many different species of parasites and snail host are involved in the disease transmission, and the effects of warming will vary with each the snail-parasite species’ specific ecologies and the spatio-temporal scale of investigation. A systematic review revealed that there has been a considerable growth in the attention given to the impacts of climate change on schistosomiasis in the peer-reviewed literature over the last two decades, but while there has been considerable growth in schistosomiasis research output related to the human part of the life cycle, the research output related to the intermediate host snail – the most climate sensitive part of the parasite life-cycle – has at best been stagnant. Overall, little consensus about the direction of outcomes currently exist: Studies from the northern and southern range margins for schistosomiasis indicate an increase in transmission as the most likely outcome, whereas contractions or status quo scenarios emerged from the central parts of the disease distribution. The current lack of consensus suggests that climate change is more likely to shift than to expand the geographic ranges of schistosomiasis. A comparison between the current geographical distributions and the thermo-physiological limitations of the main African schistosome species offered additional insights, and showed that they already exist near their thermo-physiological niche boundaries. As such, both species stand to move considerably out of their “thermal comfort zone” in a future, warmer Africa, but their invasive potential appear to be increasing at the northern range margins.

Biography: To be confirmed

Species on the Move

An International Conference Series

The conference brings together scientists and natural resource managers working in the disciplines of global change, biogeography and evolution, and relevant in contexts of natural resource management, biodiversity management and conservation, and theoretical ecology.

Species responses to climate change is a rapidly evolving research field, however, much of our progress is being made in independent research areas: e.g. understanding the process vs responding to the implications, terrestrial vs marine ecosystems, global meta-analyses vs in depth species-specific approaches. This interdisciplinary conference develops connections between these parallel streams, and across temporal and spatial scales.

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.
© 2015 - 2019 Conference Design Pty Ltd