Date of Award

12-2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Biology/Environmental Biology

First Advisor

Douglas C. Woodhams

Second Advisor

Michael P. Shiaris

Third Advisor

Robert F. Chen

Abstract

The study of mosquito microbiomes promises a deeper understanding of factors influencing interactions between mosquito hosts, human pathogens, and the environment. While several studies have focused on tripartite interactions between host, pathogen, and microbiome, far fewer have analyzed the environmental factors that shape these interactions and provide the basis for the formation of microbial communities in the mosquito host. Additionally, the use of Wolbachia and similar anti-arboviral symbionts in mosquitoes to control pathogen transmission has emerged as a popular idea for mosquito control and requires further investigation. The works presented here address changes in mosquito microbiomes, including the abundance of anti-arboviral microbes, due to habitat and temperature differences. Mosquito microbiomes were found to be specific to a given location and larval habitat, and differed significantly between mosquito taxa in situ in Rwanda. The anti-arboviral microbes present in hosts also differed by generations at high temperatures. The results presented here cement the idea that environmental factors shape mosquito microbiomes and ultimately can alter transmission potential of mosquito-borne pathogens through changes to the microbiome. Future work should focus on better understanding additional environmental factors and utilizing our understanding of these environmental influences to inform mosquito control practices and arboviral transmission prevention.

Available for download on Friday, January 06, 2023

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