Graduation Year

2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.P.H.

Degree Name

MS in Public Health (M.S.P.H.)

Degree Granting Department

Global Health

Major Professor

Robert J. Novak, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas R. Unnasch, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Benjamin G. Jacob, Ph.D.

Keywords

abundance, Culicidae, environmental factors, seasonal variation, species composition, wetland

Abstract

Literature has not yet seen a contribution involving the description of successional patterns of mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) inhabiting discarded automobile tires in sylvan areas nor an investigation into the macro- and micro-environmental factors that may influence the seasonal shifts in species composition and abundance in that respective habitat. Waste tires in undeveloped forests are a hazard to human and animal health because they can support a population of vector mosquitoes. Locating productive waste tire mosquito habitats is problematic in wooded areas but is crucial for diminishing pathogen transfer in areas where humans have regular access to forests because of possible zoonotic disease transmission.

The intentions of this study were 1) to describe the ecological succession patterns of mosquitoes in waste tires in a subtropical wetland and upland forest and 2) to create a database on which regressive geo-spatiotemporal models locating unidentified productive waste tires in sylvan zones can be built.

The entomological research conducted here did not confirm the hypothesis that Aedes albopictus (Skuse) would be the dominant species in all the tires at all the study sites. There appeared to be seasonal trends in mosquito production despite the general constant warmth and rainfall levels year-round in subtropical Tampa, Florida. However, the findings of this research indicates that climatic conditions alone do not sufficiently explain spatiotemporal variation in mosquito populations. Rather, the effects of weather are heterogeneous at the microcosmic level, which has a more direct impact on ecological interactions between the different species found here and their abiotic environment.

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