(1/354) Altered environment and risk of malaria outbreak in South Andaman, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, India affected by tsunami disaster.

BACKGROUND: Pools of salt water and puddles created by giant waves from the sea due to the tsunami that occurred on 26th December 2004 would facilitate increased breeding of brackish water malaria vector, Anopheles sundaicus. Land uplifts in North Andaman and subsidence in South Andaman have been reported and subsidence may lead to environmental disturbances and vector proliferation. This warrants a situation analysis and vector surveillance in the tsunami hit areas endemic for malaria transmitted by brackish water mosquito, An. sundaicus to predict the risk of outbreak. METHODS: An extensive survey was carried out in the tsunami-affected areas in Andaman district of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India to assess the extent of breeding of malaria vectors in the habitats created by seawater flooding. Types of habitats in relation to source of seawater inundation and frequency were identified. The salinity of the water samples and the mosquito species present in the larval samples collected from these habitats were recorded. The malaria situation in the area was also analysed. RESULTS: South Andaman, covering Port Blair and Ferrargunj sub districts, is still under the recurring phenomenon of seawater intrusion either directly from the sea or through a network of creeks. Both daily cycles of high tides and periodical spring tides continue to cause flooding. Low-lying paddy fields and fallow land, with a salinity ranging from 3,000 to 42,505 ppm, were found to support profuse breeding of An. sundaicus, the local malaria vector, and Anopheles subpictus, a vector implicated elsewhere. This area is endemic for both vivax and falciparum malaria. Malaria slide positivity rate has started increasing during post-tsunami period, which can be considered as an indication of risk of malaria outbreak. CONCLUSION: Paddy fields and fallow land with freshwater, hitherto not considered as potential sites for An. sundaicus, are now major breeding sites due to saline water. Consequently, there is a risk of vector abundance with enhanced malaria transmission potential, due to the vastness of these tsunami-created breeding grounds and likelihood of them becoming permanent due to continued flooding in view of land subsidence. The close proximity of the houses and paucity of cattle may lead to a higher degree of man/vector contact causing a threat of malaria outbreak in this densely populated area. Measures to prevent the possible outbreak of malaria in this tsunami-affected area are discussed.  (+info)

(2/354) The Farmer Field School: a method for enhancing the role of rural communities in malaria control ?

Malaria has strong linkages with agriculture, and farmers in malarious regions have a central position in creating or controlling the conditions that favour disease transmission. An interdisciplinary and integrated approach is needed to involve farmers and more than one sector in control efforts. It is suggested that malaria control can benefit from a complementary intervention in rural development, the Farmer Field School (FFS) on Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This is a form of education that uses experiential learning methods to build farmers' expertise, and has proven farm-level and empowerment effects. The benefits of incorporating malaria control into the IPM curriculum are discussed. An example of a combined health-agriculture curriculum, labeled Integrated Pest and Vector Management (IPVM), developed in Sri Lanka is presented. Institutional ownership and support for IPVM could potentially be spread over several public sectors requiring a process for institutional learning and reform.  (+info)

(3/354) Analysing ethnobotanical and fishery-related importance of mangroves of the East-Godavari Delta (Andhra Pradesh, India) for conservation and management purposes.

Mangrove forests, though essentially common and wide-spread, are highly threatened. Local societies along with their knowledge about the mangrove also are endangered, while they are still underrepresented as scientific research topics. With the present study we document local utilization patterns, and perception of ecosystem change. We illustrate how information generated by ethnobiological research can be used to strengthen the management of the ecosystem. This study was conducted in the Godavari mangrove forest located in the East-Godavari District of the state Andhra Pradesh in India, where mangroves have been degrading due to over-exploitation, extensive development of aquaculture, and pollution from rural and urbanized areas (Kakinada).One hundred interviews were carried out among the fisherfolk population present in two mangrove zones in the study area, a wildlife sanctuary with strong conservation status and an adjacent zone. Results from the interviews indicated that Avicennia marina (Forsk.) Vierh., a dominant species in the Godavari mangroves, is used most frequently as firewood and for construction. Multiple products of the mangrove included the bark of Ceriops decandra (Griff.) Ding Hou to dye the fishing nets and improve their durability, the bark of Aegiceras corniculatum (L.) Blanco to poison and catch fish, and the leaves of Avicennia spp. and Excoecaria agallocha L. as fodder for cattle. No medicinal uses of true mangrove species were reported, but there were a few traditional uses for mangrove associates. Utilization patterns varied in the two zones that we investigated, most likely due to differences in their ecology and legal status. The findings are discussed in relation with the demographic and socio-economic traits of the fisherfolk communities of the Godavari mangroves and indicate a clear dependency of their livelihood on the mangrove forest.Reported changes in the Godavari mangrove cover also differed in the two zones, with significantly less perceptions of a decrease in the protected area, as compared to the adjacent non-protected area. A posteriori comparisons between sequential satellite imagery (retrospective till 1977) and respondents that were at least 15 years back then, revealed a mangrove decrease which was however perceived to different extents depending on the area with which the fishermen were familiar. While local needs had not been incorporated in the existing policy, we created a framework on how data on ethnobotanical traditions, fishery-related activities and local people's perceptions of change can be incorporated into management strategies.  (+info)

(4/354) A preliminary survey of ectoparasites of small mammals in Kuala Selangor Nature Park.

Trapping of small mammals was conducted at 5 study sites in Kuala Selangor Nature Park (KSNP) from 20-24 June 2005. A total of 11 animals comprising 2 species of rodents, Maxomys whiteheadi and Rattus exulans were caught from 3 sites, i.e from an area of mixed secondary forest and mangrove swamp; an area of mangrove swamp, and from an area of lalang fringing mangrove swamp. From these animals, the following 7 species of ectoparasites were found: Laelaps echidninus, Laelaps nuttalli, Ascoschoengastia indica, Leptotrombidium deliense, Hoplopleura pectinata, Hoplopleura pacifica and Polyplax spinulosa. One of the ectoparasites found, L. deliense is a known vector of scrub typhus and thus may pose potential health risks to visitors to KSNP.  (+info)

(5/354) Atmospheric nitrogen deposition promotes carbon loss from peat bogs.

Peat bogs have historically represented exceptional carbon (C) sinks because of their extremely low decomposition rates and consequent accumulation of plant remnants as peat. Among the factors favoring that peat accumulation, a major role is played by the chemical quality of plant litter itself, which is poor in nutrients and characterized by polyphenols with a strong inhibitory effect on microbial breakdown. Because bogs receive their nutrient supply solely from atmospheric deposition, the global increase of atmospheric nitrogen (N) inputs as a consequence of human activities could potentially alter the litter chemistry with important, but still unknown, effects on their C balance. Here we present data showing the decomposition rates of recently formed litter peat samples collected in nine European countries under a natural gradient of atmospheric N deposition from approximately 0.2 to 2 g.m(-2).yr(-1). We found that enhanced decomposition rates for material accumulated under higher atmospheric N supplies resulted in higher carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and dissolved organic carbon release. The increased N availability favored microbial decomposition (i) by removing N constraints on microbial metabolism and (ii) through a chemical amelioration of litter peat quality with a positive feedback on microbial enzymatic activity. Although some uncertainty remains about whether decay-resistant Sphagnum will continue to dominate litter peat, our data indicate that, even without such changes, increased N deposition poses a serious risk to our valuable peatland C sinks.  (+info)

(6/354) Isolation of aerobic, gliding, xylanolytic and laminarinolytic bacteria from acidic Sphagnum peatlands and emended description of Chitinophaga arvensicola Kampfer et al. 2006.

Four aerobic, heterotrophic, yellow-pigmented and flexirubin-producing bacterial strains with gliding motility were isolated from acidic Sphagnum-dominated wetlands of Northern Russia. These bacteria are capable of degrading xylan, laminarin and some other polysaccharides, but not cellulose, pectin or chitin. The four strains possess almost identical 16S rRNA gene sequences and are most closely related (98.9-99.5 % sequence similarity) to the recently reclassified species of the phylum Bacteroidetes, Chitinophaga arvensicola Kampfer et al. 2006, formerly known as [Cytophaga] arvensicola Oyaizu et al. 1983. However, the novel isolates from Sphagnum peat differed from C. arvensicola DSM 3695(T) in their ability to degrade xylan and starch, by greater tolerance of acidic pH and by their inability to reduce nitrate. An emended description of this species is proposed.  (+info)

(7/354) Pharmaceutical compounds in wastewater: wetland treatment as a potential solution.

Pharmaceutical compounds are being released into the aquatic environment through wastewater discharge around the globe. While there is limited removal of these compounds within wastewater treatment plants, wetland treatment might prove to be an effective means to reduce the discharge of the compounds into the environment. Wetlands can promote removal of these pharmaceutical compounds through a number of mechanisms including photolysis, plant uptake, microbial degradation, and sorption to the soil. We review relevant laboratory research on these various mechanisms and provide data on the few studies that have examined wetland removal. There is a need to document the degree to which various pharmaceutical compounds are removed in full-scale treatment wetlands, as there is a paucity of data on overall pharmaceutical removal rates.  (+info)

(8/354) A comparison of fungal communities from four salt marsh plants using automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA).

Fungal decomposers are important contributors to the detritus-based food webs of salt marsh ecosystems. Knowing the composition of salt marsh fungal communities is essential in understanding how detritus processing is affected by changes in community dynamics. Automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) was used to examine the composition of fungal communities associated with four temperate salt marsh plants, Spartina alterniflora (short and tall forms), Juncus roemerianus, Distichlis spicata and Sarcocornia perennis. Plant tissues were homogenized and subjected to a particle-filtration protocol that yielded 106 microm particulate fractions, which were used as a source of fungal isolates and fungal DNA. Genera identified from sporulating cultures demonstrated that the 106 microm particles from each host plant were reliable sources of fungal DNA for ARISA. Analysis of ARISA data by principal component analysis (PCA), principal coordinate analysis (PCO) and species diversity comparisons indicated that the fungal communities from the two grasses, S. alterniflora and D. spicata were more similar to each other than they were to the distinct communities associated with J. roemerianus and S. perennis. Principal component analysis also showed no consistent, seasonal pattern in the composition of these fungal communities. Comparisons of ARISA fingerprints from the different fungal communities and those from pure cultures of selected Spartina ascomycetes supported the host/substrate specificity observed for the fungal communities.  (+info)