Mosquito Microbiome Research at Lyon Arboretum

Researcher collects mosquitoes

Studying Mosquito Microbiomes to Fight Disease

Mosquitoes bear pathogens that cause diseases such as dengue fever. Continual increase of mosquito-borne disease worldwide requires the development of new and innovative prevention strategies.

One line of research involves the microbiomes of mosquitoes, the community of microorganisms like bacteria and fungi that live in mosquitoes’ guts. The mosquito microbiome is currently being used to suppress mosquito populations and create disease-free mosquitoes by infecting them with certain microbes that suppress pathogen replication.

This research project is being conducted to study the microbiome in mosquitoes found at Lyon Arboretum. To further understand the factors that influence the microbiome of mosquitoes, researchers will survey the microbiome of the tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, at distinct life-stages (egg, larvae, pupae, and adult) at Lyon Arboretum. This widespread mosquito readily transmits both dengue and chikungunya viruses. Neither of these mosquito-borne human diseases are present in Hawaiʻi, but pathogens that harm our native Hawaiian birds are carried by mosquitoes. This research project will serve to answer how the mosquitoes are influenced by the specific environments in which they live.

Investigators: Priscilla Seabourn, Dr. Matthew Medeiros, and Dr. Helen Spafford.

Project Title: Characterize how the microbiome in the environment influences the microbiome of Aedes albopictus mosquitoes at distinct life -stages: egg, larvae, pupae, adult

To learn more about this exciting project, email Priscilla Seabourn at pseabour@hawaii.edu