Date of Award

Fall 12-7-2023

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

School

Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences

Committee Chair

Donald Yee

Committee Chair School

Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences

Committee Member 2

Kevin Kuehn

Committee Member 2 School

Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences

Committee Member 3

Kevin Caillouet

Abstract

Eutrophication from wastewater can cause fluxes of nutrients like and carbon and nitrogen in urban waters. One source of nitrogen in freshwater is from untreated sewage discharging from septic tanks. This causes a variety of environmental issues including harmful algal blooms, harming natural predators, and increased production of mosquitoes. Culex quinquefasciatus is the vector of West Nile Virus in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. St. Tammany Parish has over 600 miles of septic ditches, which receive effluent directly from aerated treatment units. Culex quinquefasciatus oviposit in polluted waters, and larvae perform well in water with high levels of decomposing organic matter. The goal of my thesis was to investigate the effects of septic ditches on the stoichiometry of Cx. quinquefasciatus. I collected mosquitoes and larvae from septic and rainwater ditches in the parish and used that water to rear Cx. quinquefasciatus larvae to see how water type affects their life history strategies. I found that species composition and water quality differed significantly between ditch type, and nutrient composition differed significantly between Ae. albopictus and Cx. quinquefasciatus within ditches. My data show that Cx. quinquefasciatus are larger with higher survival, develop faster, and different nutrient signatures when reared in septic and rainwater when compared to RO water. This study shows the effect of sewage on Cx. quinquefasciatus, and more research needs to be conducted to know how different sewerage strategies can influence mosquito production. This is important for mosquito abatement districts and need for sewage reform in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana.

Included in

Entomology Commons

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