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Stans Prize 2018 for Louie Krol

The ‘Stans Prize 2018' (for the best thesis, report or article produced by a CML student) has been awarded to Louie Krol. Other CML prizes were awarded to Sebastiaan Deetman and Joris Timmermans.

Louie Krol

Stans Prize 2018

Louie Krol received the Stans Prize for his Master Thesis  called: "Detecting shifts in mosquito community composition under anthropogenic presence: comparing an environmental DNA approach to traditional methods”.  Louie is student of the Master Biology - Specialisation Evolution Biology

The Stans Prize is a yearly student incentive award for the best thesis, article or report produced by a CML student. The prizes were presented at the CML New Years Meeting on January 29, 2019.  Louie has given a short presentation about his Master research.

Louie Krol gave a presentation about his Master Research

Summary of the report of Louie

In recent decades, we have witnessed the (re-)emergence of mosquitoes and mosquito-borne pathogens. To improve vector control, a comprehensive, in-depth knowledge of the ecological requirements of both vectors and non-vector species is required. However, accurate descriptions of the ecological context in which disease vectors thrive remain limited, largely due to logistic and taxonomic challenges related to morphological identification of mosquitoes. The aim of this study was therefore to develop a metagenomics eDNA approach to assess (i) whether we can accurately detect the mosquito community of stagnant fresh-water bodies using a novel family-specific primer targeted on CO1 (ii) how these eDNA results compare to traditional trapping of adult mosquitoes; and (iii) whether this primer could -as proof-of-principle- detect differences in mosquito community composition.

Results from 32 ponds inside and outside Kruger National Park, South Africa, show that our novel primer detected mosquito eDNA in all ponds with a higher detection probability than a general macroinvertebrate primer. Primer evaluation indicated a high taxonomical coverage and discrimination. Furthermore, our eDNA method detected a major difference in community composition between inside and outside Kruger National Park, which was qualitatively similar to the one found by adult trapping methods. However, the eDNA method only yielded a subset of the species found using adult trapping methods. Particularly the less frequent and container-breeding species were not detected.

Overall, our approach based on larval eDNA provides a novel and ecologically meaningful method to assess differences in communities of larval mosquitoes, provided that sampling is carried out in accordance with mosquito life history traits and that a comprehensive and reliable reference database is available. It may thereby overcome current taxonomic hurdles presented by morphological identification of larvae. Furthermore, our results suggest that a mosquito community-wide eDNA approach facilitates in-depth understanding of the ecological context in which disease vectors and non-vectors thrive. As such, it can become an important method to inform management decisions concerning mosquito related issues.

Other CML publication prizes for 2018

During the meeting also the other publication prizes were announced.

The Stans award for the best CML scientific publication

is for:

The Stans award for the best outreach 2018

goes to:

  • Joris Timmermans.  "Based on his  unflagging effort to bring science to the public itself and to engage in personal contact with the audience."(Jury Report)
Sebastiaan Deetman and Joris Timmermans
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