Honors Projects


The West Nile virus (WNV) is one of the leading causes of mosquito borne illness in the United States (CDC, 2018). This virus is a neurotropic pathogen that can cause fever and encephalitis. It is known that the Culex species is the primary vector for WNV. Humans infected with the WNV are typically asymptomatic. There is a small portion of individuals that experience West Nile fever which could include symptoms like high fever, vision loss, and coma (CDC, 2018). Previous studies have shown that mosquitoes tend to favor forests and wetlands (Hay et al., 1998), however, it is unknown if there is a difference between mosquito diversity or mosquitoes positive for WNV in forested versus non-forested areas. This study uses data collected from Dr. Daniel Pavuk’s research laboratory at the Department of Biological Sciences at Bowling Green State University and data obtained by the Ohio Department of Health Zoonotic Disease Program. Using a Shannon Diversity Index test, relative risk ratio, and correlation analysis, the results of this study suggest that there is a significant difference between mosquito diversity and mean species number in forested areas than non-forested areas. However, the results of the relative risk ratio suggest that there is actually a lesser risk of a mosquito being positive for WNV in forested areas than non-forested areas. The implications of this study suggest that further research be done on a larger scale over a longer period of time.


Biological Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Daniel M. Pavuk

First Advisor Department

Biological Sciences

Second Advisor

Dr. Heath A. Diehl

Second Advisor Department

Honors Program

Third Advisor

Dr. Jill H. Zeilstra-Ryalls

Third Advisor Department

Biological Sciences

Publication Date

Fall 12-2019