BACKGROUND: Sampling design is a key issue when establishing species inventories and characterizing habitats within highly heterogeneous landscapes. Sampling efforts in such environments may be constrained and many field studies only rely on subjective and/or qualitative approaches to design collection strategy. The region of Cacao, in French Guiana, provides an excellent study site to understand the presence and abundance of Anopheles mosquitoes, their species dynamics and the transmission risk of malaria across various environments. We propose an objective methodology to define a stratified sampling design. Following thorough environmental characterization, a factorial analysis of mixed groups allows the data to be reduced and non-collinear principal components to be identified while balancing the influences of the different environmental factors. Such components defined new variables which could then be used in a robust k-means clustering procedure. Then, we identified five clusters that corresponded to our sampling strata and selected sampling sites in each stratum. RESULTS: We validated our method by comparing the species overlap of entomological collections from selected sites and the environmental similarities of the same sites. The Morisita index was significantly correlated (Pearson linear correlation) with environmental similarity based on i) the balanced environmental variable groups considered jointly (p = 0.001) and ii) land cover/use (p-value
Authors and Publishers
Romaña, Christine A
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