1112 Relationships of Buruli ulcer disease with aquatic plant and insect communities: An intensive survey of 80 waterbodies in Ghana, Africa

Wednesday, November 19, 2008: 10:41 AM
Room A3, First Floor (Reno-Sparks Convention Center)
Mollie McIntosh , Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
M. Eric Benbow , Department of Biology, University of Dayton, Dayton, OH
Ryan Kimbirauskas , Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Heather Williamson , Department of Micobiology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
Richard Merritt , Entomology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Numerous studies have associated Buruli ulcer disease with disturbed aquatic habitats; however, the natural reservoir, distribution and mode of transmission of the bacterial pathogen, Mycobacterium ulcerans, remain unknown. To better understand this disease, a large-scale assessment of aquatic waterbodies was initiated to identify potential ecological relationships that influence the distribution of M. ulcerans in the environment and human disease outbreaks. Specifically, we surveyed plant and insect communities within 80 aquatic waterbodies in Ghana, Africa, to (1) identify community differences between Buruli ulcer endemic and non-endemic waterbodies, (2) determine relationships between these communities, and (3) identify potential interactions between these biota and M. ulcerans. Multivariate analyses indicated no differences in community structure between endemic and non-endemic waterbodies. Observed relationships between plant and insect communities were dependent on waterflow (e.g., lentic, lotic) and plant types (e.g., emergent, submergent). No clear relationships between these biota and M. ulcerans were observed in this study. Further analyses that include additional abiotic and biotic variables should provide more information on these potentially complex ecological relationships.

doi: 10.1603/ICE.2016.39017

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