Date of Award

Fall 2018

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

School

Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences

Committee Chair

Dr. Donald A. Yee

Committee Chair School

Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences

Committee Member 2

Dr. Kevin A. Kuehn

Committee Member 2 School

Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences

Committee Member 3

Dr. Carl P. Qualls

Committee Member 3 School

Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences

Abstract

Ecological stoichiometry is the balance of chemical substances within animal bodies through interactions and processes within their ecosystem. Though relatively underexplored, it provides a wealth of information linking interactions across different levels of organization. Detritus is the base of the food web within the small aquatic ecosystems occupied by the mosquitoes Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti. Nutrient content of detritus varies, but it can have a negative effect on mosquito growth and survival if nutrient thresholds are not met. I investigated nutrient environments and species abundance in cemetery vases in New Orleans, LA to assess detrital heterogeneity and its effect on coexistence patterns between Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti. Vases were found to contain a wide array of detrital environments, but I did not find support to suggest that it affects mosquito coexistence patterns. Under a laboratory experiment I also investigated whether Aedes albopictus would show greater survivorship in lower nutrient environments compared to Aedes aegypti, and whether coexistence would occur in higher nutrient environments. This hypothesis was supported which showed Aedes aegypti stoichiometry and survival to be negatively affected within the lowest nutrient environments in the presence of Aedes albopictus, but in the highest nutrient environments both species showed high survival rates. My findings contribute to our understanding of the process that affects potential coexistence and exclusion for Ae. albopictus and Ae. aegypti.

Included in

Entomology Commons

Share

COinS