A Geodatabase on Anophelines in the Afrotropics!

A research group funded by Wellcome Trust have just produced a newly updated geodatabase on anophelines in the Afrotropics (sub-Sarahan Africa, SSA). It updates the inventories produced by both the MAP and MARA groups, building on a long history of inventories, and includes both dominant and potential secondary malarial vectors. The final database comprises a total of >13,000 Anopheles survey locations. This is a wonderful new resource and is uploaded in entirety to the Harvard Dataverse for researchers to access and use (http://dx.doi.org/10.7910/DVN/NQ6CUN)

How to cite:

Kyalo D, Amratia P, Mundia CW et al. A geo-coded inventory of anophelines in the Afrotropical Region south of the Sahara: 1898-2016 [version 1; referees: awaiting peer review]. Wellcome Open Res 2017, 2:57 (doi: 10.12688/wellcomeopenres.12187.1)

The Dataverse information:

Snow, Robert W., 2017, “A geo-coded inventory of anophelines in the Afrotropical Region south of the Sahara: 1898-2016”, doi:10.7910/DVN/NQ6CUN, Harvard Dataverse, V1


By VectorBiTE member Sadie J. Ryan


We are now accepting applications for VectorBiTE 2017 new working groups!!

Hello VectorBiTE members,

We are preparing for VBite 2017 and are now accepting applications for new working groups. We have had an extremely strong response from the exiting groups and many of them have proposed Open meeting activities (meaning that if you apply to the meeting you could join one of these groups). We will therefore be accepting a very small number (1-2) of new working groups.  If you would like to propose a new working group please send a 1 page summary containing the following information.  We would like these by Feb 20th.

  • Proposed activities/objectives- Why do you need to meet? What do you hope to accomplish?
  • Proposed group members- What composition of group members do you need to accomplish these objectives?  This may be only one or two people at this stage.
  • Funding requirements of the group- Accommodation is covered for all attendees automatically. In order to ensure we can maximize the number of folks who can attend we are asking that if funding for alternative travel is available that people use this. Some attendees last year mentioned they would be willing to draw on these alternative sources for travel funding if it meant others could attend. However, it will not count against an application if all attendees need travel funds.
  • What if you are not funded? Even if proposals are not chosen we are open to creating a virtual working group through the VectorBiTE website to help develop community ideas. Let us know if you would like us to arrange for this in the event that you are not funded and who the admin should be for your group.
  • Open or Closed Enrollment? All new working groups must be Open to new members

Some additional notes: We want to balance participation across early stage and late stage career researchers, theoretical and empirical focus, and geographic region.  We would be especially interested in increasing participation from early career UK scientists. We are also specifically interested in a group to look at the effect of vector age on transmission.

Please submit your 1 page summary by emailing vectorbitercn@gmail.com

Vectorbite Board

VectorBiTE RCN SpIT! Group Blog Update

The Species Interaction in Transmission (SpIT!) group met virtually in mid-April to discuss and approve a timeline for group research.  As laid out in the document the group created at the RCN, SpIT! will investigate whether predation influences vector traits relevant to vector-borne disease (VBD) transmission.  The group will explore the following questions:

1. What evidence is there that vector populations of any stage are regulated by predators?

2. What are the direct and indirect effects of predators on vector traits and transmission?

3. What life history and vector traits determine whether vector population regulation by predators exists?

4. Do these predator prey interactions lead to selection on the vector trait?

The group selected the interaction of predation to focus on first out of the following list of interactions: Coinfections (vectored or not), Predation / parasitoids / vector pathogen (hosts, non hosts), Competition with other vectors, Microbiome, Endosymbiont / mutualisms, and Hosts.

The group will first carry out a literature search on the following traits with the questions above in mind: Survival (juvenile / adult), Fecundity, Development rate, Host preference (behavior), Biting rate (behavior), Dispersal, Phenology (seasonal / daily), Competence, Transmission mode, Immunology / Resistance / Susceptibility.

The review will feedback and inform a general model and develop a modeling framework for effects of predation on vector populations and vector traits influencing transmission of VBD.  The group plans to organize a SMASH to propose at the next RCN meeting.

To get everyone thinking about the process of developing a model framework, group member Fadoua El Moustaid presented her exploration of the model found in Moore et al 2010 (J. R. Soc. Interface (2010) 7, 161–176).  She explained the model and parameter sensitivities, collected feedback, and answered questions from the group.  The next directions are to get informed feedback on how to modify and apply this model to specific systems and incorporate vector traits into the model.  The group will meet again virtually in June.


By SpIT group leader: Catherine M. Herzog

‘Epidemics’ website looking for science blogs and forum content


Disseminating our work to the public is an important component of scientific research. Scientific findings in scientific journals have little impact until that information is shared through an accessible medium. One way to make our research more accessible is by publishing in open access journals and also by translating scientific jargon into language that can be understood by the public, either by teaching, blogging or doing outreach. Penn State’s newly launched website on infectious diseases is a venue where scientists can participate in all three. The website, Epidemics, is affiliated with Penn State’s massive online open course (MOOC) offered through Coursera. The MOOC has generated over 90,000 visitors in the past three years, from 190 countries. The success of the MOOC has motivated researchers at Penn State to create a website designed as a resource for the public to learn more about infectious disease research, either in conjunction with taking the online course or as a general online reference for infectious disease-related information. In order for the website to be successful, we are looking for scientists to contribute content. Content should be short and targeted to an audience of non-experts. We are looking for blog-style articles, videos and posts on the discussion forums. We can offer broad visibility and global reach for content generated and the benefit of having quantifiable impact for outreach (page views, downloads). If you are interested in writing for the Epidemics website, generating other forms of content or participating in the discussion forums, contact Matt Ferrari at mferrari@psu.edu. Have a broad reach with outreach.