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Land use changes, such as deforestation and urbanization, can influence interactions between vectors, hosts, and pathogens. The consequences may result in the appearance and rise of mosquito-borne diseases, especially in remote tropical regions. Tropical regions can be the hotspots for the emergence of diseases due to high biological diversity and complex species interactions. Furthermore, frontier areas are often haphazardly surveyed as a result of inadequate or expensive sampling techniques, which limit early detection and medical intervention. We trialed a novel sampling technique of nonpowered traps and a carbon dioxide attractant derived from yeast and sugar to explore how land use influences mosquito communities on four remote, tropical islands in the Australian Torres Strait. Using this technique, we collected > 11,000 mosquitoes from urban and sylvan habitats. We found that human land use significantly affected mosquito communities. Mosquito abundances and diversity were higher in sylvan habitats compared with urban areas, resulting in significantly different community compositions between the two habitats. An important outcome of our study was determining that there were greater numbers of disease-vectoring species associated with human habitations. On the basis of these findings, we believe that our novel sampling technique is a realistic tool for assessing mosquito communities in remote regions.
Financial support: This research was supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award to DBM, and grants to SGWL from the Torres Strait Regional Authority, National Environmental Research Program, James Cook University, Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, and the Australian Research Council Future Fellowship.
Authors' addresses: Dagmar B. Meyer Steiger and Susan G. W. Laurance, , College of Marine and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland , Australia, E-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Scott Alex Ritchie, School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences, James Cook University, Queensland, Australia, and Tropical Population Health Network, Queensland Health, Cairns, Australia, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.