Our ultimate goal in proposed study is to model the degree to which malaria and other diseases have invaded the southern Pacific Islands and an assessment of future risk to the remote Melanesian avifauna based on host colonization histories and current genetic diversity. Lack of epidemiological surveys makes it difficult to understand the wider distribution of the parasites and how it has been transmitted among islands. Members of the silvereye complex (Zosterops lateralis) provide a unique opportunity to study these questions.
The Zosteropidae family contains more successful island colonizers than any other passerine group and in the southwestern Pacific members of the silvereye species complex have repeatedly invaded islands from the Australian mainland. The sequence and dates of colonization of islands have been historically documented and information in general dynamics of the population is also available.
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