This article was originally published on Phys.org.


“A new study by scientists from the Smithsonian, the Panamanian government and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, among other institutions, concludes that conserving old-growth tropical rainforest is “highly recommended” to prevent new outbreaks of viral and parasitic mosquito-borne diseases.

“We found that fewer mosquito species known to carry disease-causing pathogens live in forested areas compared to disturbed ones,” said Jose Loaiza staff scientist at the Panamanian Institute of Scientific Research and High Technology Services (INDICASAT) and Research Associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama. “Mosquito species from altered  sites are more likely to transmit disease than  native to an area of mature tropical forest.”

Loaiza’s team used DNA barcoding to identify almost 8,000 mosquito larvae representing more than 50 species from water standing in natural or artificial containers or ground water at 245 sites where tropical lowland forest was highly disturbed (Las Pavas on the west bank of the Panama Canal), somewhat disturbed (Achiote, on the east bank of the canal) and undisturbed (at the Smithsonian’s research station on Barro Colorado Island)…”

Read on at: Phys.org.