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Female tiger mosquitoes, vectors of the chikungunya virus and of dengue fever, had been thought to mate only once during their short few weeks of life. They are apparently much less faithful than imagined, however. A team representing the IRD and its partners( 1) has discovered that they may in fact mate with several males during their short lives. What is more, the same clutch of eggs can be engendered by different fathers! For their part, the males can mate with over 10 different females.
These recent studies, conducted on the island of Reunion and published notably in the journal PLOS ONE , will make it possible to perfect the "sterile insect technique". This innovative approach to fighting against vectors of disease consists of fooling females into mating with infertile males so as to reduce the population of mosquitoes in the wild. Researchers will, in particular, be able to establish what quantity of sterilised males to release in order to compensate for the infidelities of the females.
Dengue fever and the chikungunya virus continue to take their toll all over the world. In the absence of either a vaccine or effective treatment, attacking the vector remains the sole course of action. If this new method proves promising, it will offer an ecologically acceptable alternative to the use of insecticides.
The once splendid colours are dulled, algae growing everywhere and the biodiversity is impoverished Who would believe that this forlorn picture depicts Réunion Island’s coral reef, known for its beauty and rich living communities? Since the 1980s, these corals have lost much of their splendour, victims of high visitor pressure, waste water outflow and runoff, coastline development and deforestation which provokes ground erosion. Ten years’ monitoring of the coral reef has led to a report for the Réunion Marine Nature Reserve authority, co-published by an IRD research scientist( 1). It gives a stark warning. Water quality in the lagoon is deteriorating and the corals are dying. The authors recommend restricted-access measures for the reef, with the aid for example of waymarked pathways, special wildlife refuge areas and intensified surveillance of fishing and leisure activities. Such an approach is vital if human activities and ecosystem conservation, all essential for the island’s economic development, are to be reconciled.
Research work reported on recently by an international research team1, including an IRD scientist, brought out evidence of the impact on the fish communities of a mass bleaching event resulting from the 1997-1998 El Niño climatic episode. The investigation was wide in scope, focusing on more ...
By 2030 Reunion Island will be home to one million people and the predicted population growth will come with deep structural changes. The Reunion population is destined to experience rapid aging and considerable modification to the age pyramid. Potential effects on the migration flows, ...
More scientific knowledge is still needed about the origin of hot spots. When this type of volcanism is present right at the centre of oceanic tectonic plates, it gives rise to volcanic constructions such as the Hawaii archipelago or Reunion Island. Although it is already known that classical ...