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The effect of climate on mosquito populations

Student(s):Students of Hernandez, Julia Calderon, Lauren Watson and Sara Kuhar
Grade Level:Secondary School (grades 9-12, ages 14-18)
GLOBE Educator(s):Julia Calderon, Carlos Hernandez, Sara Kuhar, Lauren Watson
Report Type(s):
Protocols:Relative Humidity, Air Temperature, Precipitation, Barometric Pressure
Date Submitted:05/03/2013
Screen capture from presentation
The purpose of this study was to see if there is a link between global climate change and an increase in mosquito populations and mosquito borne disease. Students came up with two research questions: 1) How does climate change affect mosquito populations? and, 2) How do changes in precipitation affect mosquito populations? The three hypotheses tested were: populations of mosquito larvae increase as rainfall amounts increase, the heavier the rainfall, the more likely mosquito larvae will be found in sitting water within a few days, and one effect of climate change is heavier precipitation events, which leads to increased mosquito populations because of more sitting water. Students collected water samples and looked for mosquito larvae around our school's campus as well as recorded rainfall amounts at our school's weather station. Students also collected atmospheric data using the one-day integrated weather data sheet and followed GLOBE protocols. The data collected showed that mosquito larvae increased as rainfall increased. The data also showed that the heavier the rainfall, the more likely mosquito larvae will be found in sitting water within a few days. Historical data seemed to show that mosquito larvae increased when there was a heavy precipitation event following a dry period. For the most part, students' hypotheses were supported by the data. Further research needs to be conducted in order to see if global climate change has an effect on mosquito populations and an increase in mosquito borne diseases.


SSAS Students - I am very impressed by your hard work on this project! Two comments before my questions - 1) I liked your disclaimer - I would have had a hard time not harming any actual mosquitoes! 2) The Larva Shake was a nice touch emoticon

Now the questions -

1) Why is this research important? Could you think of a way to share your results with your local community?

2) What do you think was the most interesting part about this research?

Again - I really enjoyed watching your video and reading your report!
Thank you for your feedback! We had a lot of fun doing the project and making the video!

To answer your questions:
1) The more we know about the relationship between mosquitoes and climate, the more we can prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes. Perhaps we could predict which months will have higher mosquito populations for the purpose of mosquito management. Also, it would be interesting to find out if mosquitoes are an indicator species for climate change.
- We could make an informational video to post on youtube to share with other schools. We could also have a mosquito/climate monitoring tool on our school website.

2) It was really interesting to see the actual mosquito larvae in our collection containers as they moved around. We really enjoyed the whole process of checking for mosquito larvae and it was interesting to see how the amount of larvae changed from day to day.
What an interesting topic and very creative video! I wanted to know how you think the size or location of the water body that you collect mosquito larvae on (the bird bath in your case) might have an impact on the number of larvae you could collect? Would you consider collecting larvae from additional water bodies in the future to compare those characteristics?

I agree that you might want to try to get daily measurements in the future for this project, and appreciate the other discussion points you made in your report.
Thank you!

The size of the water may not be as influential as the location because mosquitoes can lay over 100 eggs in just one tablespoon of water. However, the location is a major factor because mosquitoes have different preferences for where they lay their eggs. Some prefer man-made containers, while others prefer natural sources (i.e., bromeliad tanks, bamboo shoots, etc.). We would love to collect larvae from other sources, but we do not have many locations near our school. For next year, we may have the students collect larvae from locations around their own homes, which was something that the Thailand students did.
Thank you for addressing my questions! I look forward to seeing how your project develops in future years and hope you can collaborate with the Thai schools that also do this kind of work.
Thank you for reporting data to GLOBE. Your discussion of the limitations of your project was very good. Ihope you can continue this project. Have you looked at the mosquito protocols being used by GLOBE students in Thailand and other countries?
Thank you!
We have not seen their protocols yet, but we have made contact with some of the GLOBE teachers in Thailand. We hope to be in better communication with them next year, as well as the group from Madagascar.