The succession of the planktonic bacterial community during the colonization by Culex (Diptera: Culicidae) mosquitoes of 0.1-ha treatment wetlands was studied using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) methodology. Relationships between apparent bacterial diversity and ecological factors (water quality, total bacterial counts, and immature mosquito abundance) were determined during a 1-mo flooding period. Analysis of DGGE banding patterns indicated that days postflooding and temporal changes in water quality were the primary and secondary determinants, respectively, of diversity in bacterial communities. Lower levels of diversity were associated with later postflood stages and increases in ammoniacal nitrogen concentration and total bacterial counts. Diversity was therefore most similar for bacteria present on the same sampling date at wetland locations with similar flooding regimes and water quality, suggesting that wastewater input was the driving force shaping bacterial communities. Comparatively small changes in bacterial diversity were connected to natural processes as water flowed through the wetlands. Greater immature mosquito abundance coincided with less diverse communities composed of greater total numbers of bacteria. Five individual DGGE bands were directly associated with fluctuations in mosquito production, and an additional 16 bands were associated with hydrological aspects of the environment during the rise and fall of mosquito populations. A marked decline in mosquito numbers 21 d after inundation may have masked associations of bacterial communities and mosquito recruitment into the sparsely vegetated wetlands. DGGE was an effective tool for the characterization of bacteria in mosquito habitat in our study, and its potential application in mosquito ecology is discussed.
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Vol. 43 • No. 6