The Effect of Aquatic Environment on the Presentence of Wolbachia in Macroinvertebrates

2013 Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair

The abstract below was written by the student. The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District made no editorial changes.

The Effect of Aquatic Environment on the Presentence of Wolbachia in Macroinvertebrates

By: Kinsey Moser and Maria Kanevsky, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology



The parasitic microbe Wolbachia devastates populations of macroinvertebrates by feminizing grown males and killing male larvae, creating a female population which prevents future reproduction. Wolvachia infects using vertical transmission, transmitting the infection from female to the eggs. The result is that all larvae will become infected, and infected males can only reproduce with infected females to continue the progression of Wolbachia. This experiment searches for the presence of Wolbachia from three different streams in the Northern Virginia area. Wolbachia is a growing concern, because maroinvertebrates are part the foundation of the aquatic ecosystem, once the foundation is ruined, the entire ecosystem of not only the stream, but eventually the biosphere is affected. Once collected, the macroinvertebrates were identified, the DNA was extracted, and amplified by using PCR. The DNA was run through gel electrophoresis to analyze and positively identify strains of Wolbachia, which signifies the presences of Wolbachia in Northern Virginia streams. By analyzing the results, all of the Caddisfly larvae, with one exception, and all of the Netspinners were found to be infected with Wolbachia, showing that these species were more susceptible to infection. The results showed definitively that the majority of a species was either unanimously infected or not infected, showing the differentiation between different species of macroinvertebrates. 

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