Knowledge for a sustainable world

Testing the preference-performance hypothesis: oviposition site choice and egg placement by Aedes aegypti.

Jillian is researching how the dengue and Zika vector Aedes aegypti locates and selects oviposition sites, and the extent to which modulating egg laying behaviour in response to site quality may improve reproductive fitness (in line with the preference performance hypothesis). Jillian’s project encompasses the study of a broad range of oviposition site search behaviour. She has investigated whether a common oviposit substrate targeted for removal in vector control progammes is preferred by females for egg laying in laboratory trials, and if female site preference correlates with site performance, in terms of numbers of offspring produced. Jillian has also investigated whether females can manipulate egg laying sites to improve offspring survival, and has applied novel 3D tracking technology, to comparing Ae. aegypti flight responses to a preferred egg laying substrate and a standard laboratory control. Jillian’s hope is for this thorough investigation into each step of Aedes aegypti oviposition behaviour to provide the information needed to develop effective novel techniques for population control.

Jillian Joiner is in her final year as a full-time PhD student at NRI. She obtained her BSc in Biology with an emphasis on Physiology at the University of Washington. While earning her degree, she took on multiple internships fuelling her interest in entomology. As part of the Urban Pollination Project, she spent her summer conducting field work in the greater Seattle area studying the effect of bumblebee cross-pollination on the growth of cherry tomatoes in community gardens. As a research assistant in the Riffell Lab, she helped investigate the effect of operant conditioning and ambient temperature on Ae. aegypti olfaction for host seeking behaviour. This research led to her current PhD project at the NRI where she is researching the preference-performance hypothesis in relation to Aedes aegypti oviposition behaviour.

  • 3MT People’s Choice Award University of Greenwich-Science and Engineering
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