Impacts of deforestation on mosquito community dynamics

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Title: Impacts of deforestation on mosquito community dynamics
Author(s): Brant, Hayley
Item Type: Thesis or dissertation
Abstract: Human-induced land use changes, including deforestation, agricultural encroachment and urbanisation, have caused widespread change in the global distribution of organisms and caused considerable declines in biodiversity through loss of habitat. Oil palm is one of the most rapidly expanding crops in Southeast Asia, but the impact of this crop on mosquito distribution, behaviour and exposure potential has been poorly explored. Understanding these factors is essential for developing, optimising and evaluating novel control measures aimed at reducing disease-transmission. This thesis explored the effect of land use change along an anthropogenic disturbance gradient (primary forest, disturbed forest, highly disturbed forest, oil palm plantations and rural housing estates) in Sabah, Malaysia. The community composition of anthropogenic mosquitoes was separated across land use, with the biggest difference seen between primary forest and oil palm plantations. This was largely driven by medically important mosquitoes attracted to oil palm plantations. Differences in community composition were also seen in areas of rural housing in comparison to primary and disturbed forest sites, due to a high presence of the dengue vector, Stegomyia albopicta, in housing areas. A higher abundance of anopheline vectors were found landing on humans in the disturbed forest and oil palm plantations then primary forest. This thesis found no difference between highly disturbed forest and oil palm plantation sites. This thesis also investigated the host-seeking behaviour of simian malaria vectors, by carrying out human landing catches at ground and canopy level across land use. Results demonstrated the potential ability of one of the vectors, Anopheles balabacensis, to transmit the simian malaria (Plasmodium knowlesi) between canopy-dwelling simian hosts and ground-dwelling humans, and that anthropogenic disturbance increases the abundance of the disease vector. Finally, this thesis investigated the use of different marking methods and the need for an improved dispersal experiment to be carried out.
Content Version: Open Access
Publication Date: Sep-2015
Date Awarded: Mar-2016
Advisor: Mumford, John
Ewers, Robert
Sponsor/Funder: Natural Environment Research Council (Great Britain)
Funder's Grant Number: NE/I527902/1
Department: Centre for Environmental Policy
Publisher: Imperial College London
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Qualification Name: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Appears in Collections:Centre for Environmental Policy PhD theses

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