Welcome Message from Dr. Russanne Low, GLOBE Mission Mosquito Science Lead
Welcome to the GLOBE Mission Mosquito Scientists’ Blog. This is the space on the campaign site where student scientists, citizen scientists of all ages, and full-time researchers discuss and explore how changing weather, extreme weather events, land cover modification, insect ecology, and even human behavior influence the numbers, range, and distribution of mosquitoes we see on the landscape. The scientists you meet in this blog are interested in a wide variety of questions. We invite you to initiate and engage in discussions with entomologists, Earth system scientists, climate modelers, public health professionals and social scientists who share an interest in some of the same questions as you do. We will use this space to answer as many questions as we can and, in particular, student scientists with questions are always welcome!
To get started, I’ll tell you a bit about myself. I did my dissertation research in Germany on a topic involving archaeology and paleoclimate. How did someone who studied forest vegetation and climate change in Central Europe over the past 12,000 years get involved in mapping mosquito habitats? Well, as part of my work as university faculty I became interested in how to best communicate climate change to non-scientists. Science students can easily understand how increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can force global temperatures, but the missing piece for many I worked with was, “But will this affect me in my lifetime? Do I have to be concerned? A 1.5 degrees C increase isn’t very much - how can that be a problem? Isn’t this a creeping problem, that we have lots of time to solve?” I began to think that maybe I would be a more effective communicator If I started talking about a climate change impact that people were already experiencing themselves. Instead of talking about an abstract, statistically-defined idea of climate to non-specialists, let’s talk about something real, something that bites. What about a focus on an animal that causes more death and disease in humans than any other organism - and what you can do to understand and help your local community? Enter GLOBE Mission Mosquito.
Climate change is changing the numbers, range, and distribution of mosquitoes, but that is just one aspect of why mosquito habitat data are important. Your mosquito data is of interest to public health officials and mosquito control agencies that work together to eliminate mosquitoes that serve as a vector of disease. Finally, the GLOBE Observer Mosquito Habitat Mapper keeps track of mosquito container habitats that you remove from use, an action that decreases the risk of disease in your community.
We will be on the lookout for your questions, your research, and your ideas. I look forward to meeting you!