A 20-year long dataset of weekly variation in mosquito species population numbers collected in Darwin will be analysed to understand changes in mosquito density and species composition in response to rainfall patterns, tides and landscape change (incl. engineering works designed to destroy mosquito habitats). The link between mosquito numbers and mosquito-borne diseases will be investigated using advanced statistics to evaluate the effectiveness of past control programs (spraying/engineering works) and predict the threat of mosquito populations and diseases in the future. At two currently unmanaged swamps we will test our findings experimentally to improve the protection of the population of northern Australia from mosquito borne diseases.
Management of mosquito populations is a high public health priority because these insects can spread diseases such as malaria, dengue, Ross River virus, Barmah Forest virus, Murray Valley encephalitis, Japanese encephalitis and Kunjin/West Nile virus. Global environmental change and increasing movements of people (particularly military personnel) from overseas regions where these diseases are endemic is increasing the vulnerability of northern Australia to the (re)establishment of mosquito borne diseases.Our research into the effectiveness of mosquito control programs in Darwin is of immediate national relevance and priority given the need to safeguard Australia from invasive diseases.
|External Collaborators / Partners||NT Bureau of Meteorology, NT Department of Health and Community Services Bureau of Meteorology, NT Department of the Chief Minister, NT Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Environment, Department of Defence, Corey Bradshaw (Adelaide University), Barry Brook (Adelaide University), Burt Currie (NT Department of Health and Community Services), Geoff Morgan (University of Sydney), Peter Whelan (NT Department of Health and Community Service)|
|Funding Source||ARC Linkage Grant|
Authorised by the Head of School, Plant Science
19 April, 2012