Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Biomedical Sciences

Content Description

1 online resource (xii, 201 pages) : color illustrations, color maps

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Jan E Conn

Committee Members

Laura D Kramer, Kathleen McDonough, Robert Glaser, Jose Loaiza


Anopheles, landscape, malaria, neotropics, Plasmodium, vector biology, Malaria, Mosquitoes as carriers of disease

Subject Categories

Entomology | Epidemiology | Public Health


Worldwide malaria control efforts have had varying degrees of success, leaving many countries either eliminating malaria or controlling malaria. In order to maintain forward momentum toward malaria elimination, malaria-eliminating and –controlling countries require different information regarding risk factors, spatial distributions of cases and vectors, vector biology metrics, and vector population genetics. The goal of this dissertation work was to provide information that addresses the knowledge gaps preventing the creation of effective vector and malaria control programs in one malaria-eliminating country (Panama) and two malaria-controlling countries (Peru and Brazil). Case data from Panama were analyzed to assess differences in risk factors between epidemic (2002 – 2005) and non-epidemic years (2000 – 2001, 2006 – 2014). These analyses highlighted disparitites between indigenous and non-indigenous Panamanians. Additionally, foci of increased malaria transmission were identified. Comparison of the location of these foci and the species distribution models for Anopheles albimanus and Anopheles punctimacula s.l. showed that An. albimanus likely plays an important role in malaria transmission in Panama, though testing of many anopheline specimens collected throughout Panama (2008 – 2013) for Plasmodium infection did not identify any infected specimens. The Loreto department of Amazonian Peru, where Anopheles darlingi is the major malaria vector, reports nearly 100% of the national malaria cases. Population genetic analyses of An. darlingi specimens from this region demonstrated both a population replacement event and evidence for subsequent ecological adaptation. In addition, important vector biology metrics revealed spatial heterogeneity in risk of malaria transmission. Anopheline species abundance and composition patterns, and distributions of infected vectors in two ecoregions of the Amazon Basin were examined in Brazil. This study was conducted prior to the intensification of vector control and distribution of long lasting insecticidal nets in these areas. An. darlingi was the most important vector in both regions, with other vectors playing important local and regional roles (An. janconnae and An. marajoara). Multi-year anopheline collections along transects in both ecoregions showed great variation in species abundance and composition spatially (within and between transects) and temporally. Results from each study provides a framework for the evaluation of current and development of new vector and malaria control strategies.