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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Wyoming, Ohio, USA

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Wyoming, Ohio, USA

Kolan Livingston

Registered: March 2015
City/Town/Province: Wyoming
Posts: 1
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Apprentice Ecologist Project

My name is Kolan, I am a junior at Wyoming High School in Wyoming, Ohio (a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio). I am interested in pursuing a degree in agriculture/agribusiness with focus on environmental sustainability. I am a member of 4H and am a student member of NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers). I chose to conduct an Apprentice Ecologist program as way to expand my knowledge and to see if I could come up with a creative way to look at current issue facing the residents in my hometown. I conducted my research at home using material and resources available to me or purchased from external resources. By conducting research I observed that at the beginning of each summer there are alerts related to mosquito bites and the West Nile virus. I thus focused my research topic on this relevant topic. My analysis focuses on finding ways that can naturally be used to fight or control mosquito’s populations not through the use of chemicals and pesticides but natural means. My overarching goals of my study was to investigate a way to reduce the risk and harmful effects of aerial sprays that can affect people with asthma or respiratory problems as well as protect wildlife and the overall ecologist system. Pesticide impacts have found their way into streams and can be found in drinking water. My objective is to find less harmful ways to fight the WNV that also promotes a healthy ecosystem.
Project Title:
Comparison of Fish Types and Their Ability to Reduce Mosquito Larvae Population
Background and Importance of Research
West Nile virus (WNV) is a type of virus that is spread by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes multiply when females lay their eggs in stagnant water. The eggs morph into larvae within seven to 10 days. The WNV infection may be so mild that people do not know they have it. WNV symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands. Severe symptoms cause stiff neck, sleepiness, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsion, and paralysis and in extreme cases people die. The first recorded of WNV were reported in Israel in the 1950s.
Mosquito infections are on the rise in Ohio and it is therefore important to find ways to prevent and control the infection. Below is a summary of sample data as well as the number of people who have been affected as well as the number of deaths. Here are mosquito test results as of 10/11/2013:

Mosquito - WNV Test Results
Submitting Agency mosquitoes collected mosquitoes tested Total (+)
1 Columbus Public Health 66,570 37,875 120
2 Franklin County Public Health 55,637 30,232 38
3 Delaware General Health District 1,369 1,369 2
4 P.H. Dayton & Montgomery County 13,213 4,799 9
5 Summit County H.D. 111,238 87,243 33
6 Barberton / Norton M.A.D. 30,407 13,498 9
7 Toledo Area Sanitary District 1,648 1,648 15
8 Cincinnati Health Department 808 781 3
Total 280,890 177,445 229

Ohio WNV Surveillance 2000-2012
2000 2001 2002** 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 TOTAL
Human Cases 0 0 441 108 12 61 48 23 15 2 5 21 121 857
Fatalities 0 0 31 8 2 2 4 3 1 0 0 1 7 59

** 2002 - first positive humans

The study reveals that WNV has caused at least 59 fatalities in Ohio since the first case in 2002. I live in Cincinnati, Ohio so the threat of WNV is a particular interest to me. My study will look at how WNV can be reduced by reducing the population of infected mosquitoes who pass alone the virus.

Picture of a Culex pipiens mosquito; SOURCE: CDC

The study was carried out at the International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology by the World Health Organization in Kenya. The study introduced the fish- tilapia into the ponds. According to the findings, no malaria-carrying mosquito larvae were found 10 days after the ponds were inspected as compared with a similar pond that had no tilapia. Forty-one weeks after the tilapia were introduced, the number of mosquitoes in the ponds decreased by more than 94 per cent, the study found. Lead researcher Francois Omlin said Nile tilapia are known to feed on mosquito larvae, but this was the first study to test its potential in fighting malaria. “A fish in the field may act differently than a fish in an aquarium, and it was important to test.” Tilapia could be a valuable tool in fighting malaria because mosquitoes increasingly are developing resistance to some pesticides even as the malaria parasite is developing resistance to anti-malarial drugs. Another such fighter of malaria is the Mosquito fish. Agencies around the world have used this fish to aid in fight disease carried by mosquitos. By looking at this study, I asked if similar approaches can be used to fight WNV. Can specific fish species be better natural predators than others fish?

Study Objective
My study is to determine if a particular type of fish is more likely be effective at reducing the larvae of mosquitos. If a fish could be determine to be the most effective solution for reducing mosquitos that carry WNV then this would allow for the introduction of these fish into small streams, ponds such as golf courses that can help in prevention.
My hypothesis is that Mosquito Fish will be the most aggressive and controlling mosquito population and that they will eat the most mosquito larvae within a three minute timeframe as the measurement period.
Three Fish Species were purchased:
3 – Goldfish
3 – Mosquito Fish
3 – Minnows
3 – Mason Jars
100 – Mosquito larvae (2 lbs.)
Each species were put into 3 separate mason jars, ten mosquito larvae were separated and placed in each jar. I used a stop watch to time how many species ate the larvae in a three minute time. I conducted the study twice on two different days to normalize the results.

# Average of larvae consumed within 3 minutes
Gold Fish 5
Minnows 7
Mosquito Fish 8.5

My results did show that the Mosquito fish were slightly better than the other fish used in the experiment but there was not a big difference in the results. The experiment does not give a conclusive answer if putting Mosquito fish into ponds will be of any greater control and advantage than any other fish. While my study did not show a great difference in which species would consume the most, in San Diego County, California since 2003 the County has been introducing Mosquito fish into man-made lakes to control the population of mosquitos. The County gives the Mosquito fish away for free to help control the mosquito population and control WNV. The statistics measured by the County indicate the measure has helped as San Diego County has remained untouched by cases of WNV as of 2012 even as cases have been widespread across the country such as in Ohio.
· Date: March 21, 2015 · Views: 1846 · File size: 37.6kb · : 350 x 263 ·
Hours Volunteered: 40
Volunteers: 1
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17
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