The effect of resource limitation on the temperature dependence of
mosquito population fitness
Laboratory-derived temperature dependencies of life history traits are
increasingly being used to make mechanistic predictions for how climatic
warming will affect disease vector abundance. However, laboratory data
are typically from vector populations reared on optimal resource supply,
even though natural populations experience fluctuations in resource
availability. Here, using laboratory experiments on Aedes
aegypti, a principal arbovirus vector, we show that low-resource supply
significantly depresses its maximal population growth rate
(rmax) and causes it to decrease from 22 to 32°C.
In contrast, at high-resource supply, rmax is not
just higher, but also increases across the same temperatures. This
striking difference is driven by the fact that resource-limitation
significantly increases juvenile mortality, slows development, and
reduces lifespan and size at maturity (which then decreases fecundity).
Our results suggest that future studies need to account for the effects
of resource-limitation when using Ecological Metabolic Theory to predict
climatic warming effects on disease vectors.