MSc student looking for a thesis? Willing to go to Terni, Italy? Then, we want you!
Swarming is a natural mating behavior of mosquitoes, occurring mainly during the sunset and in the darkness. Swarms are composed by males with females typically entering a swarm and leaving in copula. Swarm size is strongly correlated to the mating events and governed by site-specific factors such as visual cues. Field data indicate that temporal and spatial swarm segregation prevents hybridization between the sympatric species of An. gambiae complex, acting as pre-mating barriers.
In this project, we aim to study the mating dynamics in mosquito swarms using automated 3D video tracking. The project will take place at ultra-modern laboratory of PoloGGB in Terni, Italy (www.pologgb.com/en/). This group has recently developed a laboratory setup that allows for swarming behavior in mosquitoes.
The MSc student will have the opportunity to:
|Acquire knowledge in setting up a video recording system for the study of mosquito behavior, and in behavioral data analysis|
|Set up a novel recording system for the study of mosquito swarms in large cages|
|Develop an experimental design for the study of mosquito swarming behavior in large cages: in particular, the definition of different variables such as time, space, shape and composition of the swarm will be important to characterize the mating behavior of different mosquito species|
|These major achievements will represent a milestone for future mosquito behavioral and ecological studies in semi-field conditions|