Ecology and genetic variation of Aedes japonicus, an invasive mosquito in the Wooster, OH area

Tomoka Adams head shot

Name: Tomoka Adams
Majors: Biology, Spanish
Advisors: Ferdinand Nanfack-Minkeu, Hernan Medina

Research Supported by the Copeland Fund

Mosquitoes are vectors for diseases that are often implicated in major outbreaks. The Aedes japonicus mosquito is a particularly invasive species from Southeast Asia that has found footholds in Europe, Africa, and the Americas, and has been shown to be a competent vector for various diseases. My IS focused on characterizing the ecology and genetic variation of Ae. japonicus in the Wooster, Ohio area through field collection at four sites, DNA extraction, PCR amplification of four genetic markers, and sequencing. Through these techniques and more, I found that the population of Ae. japonicus in Wooster appears to be distinct from other populations in the Midwest and Canada, and that there are likely several distinct haplotypes present.

This IS excited me because it allowed me to do more work outside of the lab, as well as interact closely with mosquitoes and learn more about their morphology and taxonomy. Although I wasn’t able to sequence many samples, and the sequencing was unsuccessful for two of the markers I used, future work could build off of this and include more samples, sites, and sequencing. Additionally, my phylogenetic analyses indicated the presence of multiple haplotypes in the Wooster population, so future research could dive deeper into that subject and provide clearer insight into the genetic structure of Ae. japonicus.

Posted in Comments Enabled, Independent Study, Symposium 2023 on April 15, 2023.

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