Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Urban Stream Pollution Can Be Good For Mosquitoes

Date:
August 3, 2009
Source:
Ecological Society of America
Summary:
Sewage overflows are a fact of life in urban areas, and in many cities, excess sewage water enters streams and lakes with rain runoff. Although this pollution is harmful to most organisms, there is one group of insects that thrives on it: mosquitoes.

Sewage overflows are a fact of life in urban areas, and in many cities, excess sewage water enters streams and lakes with rain runoff. Although this pollution is harmful to most organisms, there is one group of insects that thrives on it: mosquitoes.

Luis Fernando Chaves, a post-doctoral researcher at Emory University, and his team discovered mosquitoes in abundance in a sewage-contaminated stream in Atlanta, but rarely in a nearby clean stream. They also found that mosquitoes were largest in streams with high levels of organic minerals – in this case, nitrogen and phosphorus – that originated from the sewage treatment plants. Likewise, in laboratory experiments, mosquitoes reared in sewage overflow were larger than those reared in clean water.

"In this food web, mosquitoes feed on microorganisms that require nitrogen and phosphorus to grow," Chaves says. "This translates into an input of food for the mosquitoes." When there's more organic matter, the microorganisms flourish, he says, and larval mosquitoes can eat like kings.

To make matter worse, it's possible that other aquatic insects that would feed on mosquito larvae are poisoned in sewage overflow water. Many aquatic insects breathe underwater through gill-like structures, so excess nitrogen and phosphorus could be toxic to them. Mosquito larvae, however, breathe air at the water's surface through a specialized siphon. Chaves says that this combination of an increase in food and a potential decline in predators could be the key to these mosquitoes' success.

Larger mosquitoes tend to result from a longer lifespan, which is dangerous because it gives mosquitoes a better chance of harboring pathogens that cause human diseases. Chaves makes the case that cities should separate their sewage overflow from their rain runoff to avoid creating ideal habitat for mosquitoes.

This research was presented at the Ecological Society of America's Annual Meeting on August 3, 2009.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ecological Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ecological Society of America. "Urban Stream Pollution Can Be Good For Mosquitoes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090803091917.htm>.
Ecological Society of America. (2009, August 3). Urban Stream Pollution Can Be Good For Mosquitoes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090803091917.htm
Ecological Society of America. "Urban Stream Pollution Can Be Good For Mosquitoes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090803091917.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — The best canine surfers gathered for Huntington Beach's annual dog surfing competition, "Surf City, Surf Dog." Duration: 01:15 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins