Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Mohammad Ali AI-Deeb

Second Advisor

Sofyan Alyan

Third Advisor

Ali Khalfan Al-Wahaibi


Ticks are well known to transmit various pathogens including bacteria, viruses and protozoa to humans and animals. The soft tick (Omithodoro muesebecki) was common on a breeding colony of the Socotra cormorant (Phalacrocorax nigrogularis) in Siniya Island, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The aims of the study were: i) instigating the prevalence and conduct genetic characterization of the important bacterial pathogens Borrelia spp. (causal agents of relapsing fever), Rickettsia spp. (causal agent s of spotted fever), and Coxiella burnetii (causal agent of Q fever); ii) understanding the overall bacterial community associated with 0. Muesebecki by using Illumina-based metagenomics approach; and iii) establishing a molecular record of 0. Muesebecki based on molecular markers. Ticks were collected from the largest breeding colony of Socotra Cormorant in 2013 and 2016. Subsequently, genomic D A was extracted from each t ick, and conventional PCR assays were used to detect certain pathogens. Borrelia spp. and Rickettsia spp., were not detected. However, PCR assay and metagenomics analysis is indicated the presence of the Coxiella genus. Sequencing results revealed 809 bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) within the five samples from 2013 and 2686 OTUs within the 5 samples from 2016. Metagenomic analysis showed that Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, and Bacteroidetes are the most dominant phyla. C. burnetii was the most prevalent species in all samples in 2013 and 2016. This data provides the complete picture to date o f t he bacteria l communities present within 0. Muesebecki under natural conditions in the UAE using high-throughput sequencing technologies. In addition, this study provided the first DNA molecular record of O. muesebecki in GenBank. Further investigations regarding the functional role of Coxiella in seabird colonies is needed