Knoxville, Tennessee hosted the 2012 annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America. The theme this year was A Global Society for a Global Science. Many of the sessions highlighted the latest research on how global change will impact insects as pollinators, pests of agricultural and forest systems, and vectors of disease.
Zak Gezon and I presented our research that falls within this theme. Zak shared his results from a study of how collecting bees for scientific studies affects native bee populations.
[Zak and his bee net near Gothic, Colorado. Photo credit: Jess Welch]
Pollination biologists collect hundreds of bees every year to count and identify for important studies such as climate impacts on pollinator phenology (more on this in the future from Zak). Given significant concerns about global pollinator decline, it’s necessary to think about how collecting bees for these studies may affect native bee populations. The highly-anticipated results of Zak’s study are good news for scientists, as they suggest so far that the number of bees collected have negligible effects on bee populations.
I shared the Arctic perspective in a symposium titled “Aquatic Entomology as a Measure of Global Changes.”
[Lauren on stage, talking about insects. Photo credit: Ramsa Chaves-Ulloa.]
The highlight was sharing my latest data on climate effects on mosquito abundance. Turns out, and consistent with local knowledge, a warm and wet spring ups the number of mosquitoes that survive to emerge. I also shared some preliminary data on mosquito fecundity, or how many eggs a female mosquito will lay. With the help of some very tolerant lab assistants, we counted the numbers of eggs in hundreds of mosquitoes collected from Kangerlussuaq this spring.
[The maximum number of eggs counted from one mosquito is... 122!]
In addition to sharing science, being at these meetings provides an opportunity to meet and talk with entomologists from around the world.
[Some very excited entomologists, including Zak Gezon (second from right) and Ramsa Chaves-Ulloa (right) from Dartmouth's EEB graduate program.]
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A cool thing about being part of an interdisciplinary group focused on understanding Polar Environmental Change is that everyone knows I am studying Arctic mosquitoes, so when the ethnobotanist/linguist pulls out an obscure text on lifestyles and languages of the Iglulik Eskimos, they can alert me to scientifically informative passages, such as “Of the lower animal world may be mentioned the mosquito which, in the short summer – from the middle of July to the middle of August – can make life in the open air a torment. The low, swampy land on Southampton Island is said to be particularly bad in this respect; there are fewest mosquitos [sic] in Cockburn Land, although at certain places, for instance round the trading station at Ponds Inlet, they can be extremely annoying.” Therkel Mathiassen, in Material Culture of the Iglulik Eskimos, a report from the Fifth Thule Expedition 1921-1924
Although brief, it’s relevant to what I am studying- the distribution, abundance, and phenology of mosquitoes in the Arctic. I suspect that the humanities literature, especially accounts from historical expeditions, is full of useful references and tidbits of scientific information. Without interdisciplinary collaboration, much of this information would remain elusive.
IGERT POWER. And thanks, Simone.
[Aedes nigripes posing for a photo in front of the Greenland Ice Sheet.]
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The Nunatsiaq News of Nunavut has an interesting and well-written article about IGERT Lauren Culler’s mosquito research in Greenland and what it means for Northern Canada as well. Nunatsiaq News is a weekly Canadian newspaper based in Iqaluit, Nunavut. It has the largest circulation of any paper in Nunavut.
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