Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


College of Science and Mathematics


Earth and Environmental Studies

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Matthew Aardema

Committee Member

Huan Feng

Committee Member

Danlin Yu


Each year hundreds of millions of people are infected with mosquito-borne illnesses. West Nile Virus is the leading cause of mosquito-borne diseases in the United States (McDonald et al., 2021). The first case of West Nile Virus was detected in the United States in 1999 (Sejvar, 2003). Since that time the number of cases has dramatically risen. Mosquitoes are ectotherms which means their body temperature is dependent on the thermal conditions outside of their body. Because of this they are very sensitive to changes in their environment. The Earth’s average temperature has been slowly but steadily rising. This small but steady change in temperature will gradually have global altering effects. However, mosquitoes have the ability to quickly evolve and adapt with their short lifecycles, generation time, and ability to produce large amounts of offspring at once (Couper et al., 2021). Because of this it is important to determine if continued exposure to extreme temperatures will allow mosquitoes to gain thermal tolerance. If it possible, the world may see a rise in the number of mosquito-borne illnesses as the impacts of climate change become more severe. Research into mosquito thermal tolerance is important to demonstrate this insect’s ability to adapt to a changing climate and the importance of developing and evolving vaccines and control efforts.

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