dnabarcoding101.org

dnabarcoding101.org

The Effect of the Environment on the Microbiota of the
Amblyomma americanum and its Implications for Human
Health in Suffolk County, New York.
Asma Asghar1, Farihah Chowdhury1 , Victoria Hernandez
William Floyd High School

Abstract
The study of the microbiome of the Lone Star Ticks on Long Island is crucial because more
than 25% of tick borne pathogen cases are found on the island (Van Nunen, 2015). The
microbiomes were analyzed using QIIME analysis to synthesize taxonomy charts. From this
data, it can be concluded that Indian Island has the highest species richness, followed by
Manorville and then Brookhaven State Park. Samples contained primarily the following
prominent phyla: Coxiella, Enterobacteria, and Rickettsiales, associated with various diseases.

Introduction

Brookhaven

A microbiome is a group of microorganisms within an ecosystem or organism (Van Nunen,
2015). This is vital to study because ticks can transfer numerous pathogens to humans. Prior
research indicates that the microbiota of an organism can be influenced by its location and
climate (Akorli, Mathilde, Gendrin, Pels, Manu, Christophides, and Wilson, 2016). Therefore,
the inferred ecosystem of Brookhaven State Park with a wooded ecosystem, Manorville with a
wetland ecosystem, and Indian Island with a marine ecosystem influenced the microbiota
present within the ticks samples.

Methodology

Figure 4: This is a cladogram representing ancestral lineage of pathogens present within lone
star ticks collected.

Results

Indian Island

Manorville

Lab

Figure 5: This is a taxonomy plot representing taxa
present within lone star ticks collected.

Discussion
The data indicates that there is a relationship between the microbiota, location, and environmental differences;
similar pathogens present; and that there are similar ancestral patterns present. In addition, there were similar
microbes present within the samples of the ticks because there was the primary phyla were consistent throughout all
sample sites, with the exception of one outlier. In Brookhaven State Park, Coxiella, Rickettsia, and Rickettsiales are the
most abundant microbes. Meanwhile, Enterobacteriaceae and Acinetobacter are dominant microbes present within
Indian Island. Meanwhile, Sphingomonas and Coxiella are the abundant microbes found in Manorville. Finally,
taxonomic classification on a genus level was examined to demonstrate showed a relationship between the bacteria
and their potential pathogens that were present .

References
Figure 2: Distance comparison plot
demonstrating taxonomic similarities

1. Van Nunen, S. (2015). Tick-induced allergies: mammalian meat allergy, tick anaphylaxis and their significance. Asia Pacific Allergy, 5(1),
3.

Acknowledgements
Figure 1: PCoA Plot representing beta
diversity

The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory DNA Learning Center and its staff made significant contributions to the success of this project as well
as Michael Santorelli of Suffolk County Department of Health Services Arthropod-Borne Disease Laboratory for providing ticks. In addition to
the staff at the Cold Spring Harbor DNALC, we would like to acknowledge: Dr. Sharon Pepenella, Dr. Cristina Fernandez-Marco, Dr. Joslynn Le,
Dr. Cornel Ghiban, and Dr. David Micklos. Furthermore, the faculty and administrators that vastly increased the success of this project were:
Mrs. Lisa Lackemann, Dr. Donna Watkins, Mr. Philip Scotto, Ms. Lisa Pisano, Mrs. Deborah Gurney, Ms. Kathleen Keane, and Mr. Kevin Coster.
The faculty and administrators from Stony Brook Science Technology Entry Program that also increased the success of this project were: Ms.
Dorys Johnson, Mrs. Edwina Branch-Smith, and Dr. Christine Veloso.
Figure 3: Rarefaction Plot representing
alpha diversity

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