As our first assignment as part of the Earth System Explorers team, we've been tasked with making our first observations using the GLOBE Observer App. The goal was to make 12 total observations (6 Potential Mosquito Habitat & 6 Land Cover).
To be more efficient, I decided to make all of my observations at 6 different still bodies of water. This way I could do a MHM and a LC observation at each location.
Before I began, I scouted potential bodies of water on Global Surface Water Explorer. Using the platform, I decided to focus on areas that showed gradation across both the 'Water Occurrence', and 'Water Occurrence Change Intensity' spectra.
I had hoped that these locations would make for interesting observations, as I wanted to view the difference in water occurrence from years prior, and contribute to documenting its increase/decrease.
However, a quick look on Observer showed that there weren't any prior observations made in those areas. After a little bit of investigating on Google Street View, I discovered that most of these locations were inaccessible to the public to begin with.
This was about when I remembered that there's a ditch near my neighborhood.
I filled my backpack with paper plates, gloves, and empty water bottles, and headed out.
Once I got close to the water, I thought I saw small little larvae swimming through the water. Feeling confident that I chose a good location to map, I set up base.
After I verified my location, classified the water body type, and took pictures of the surroundings, I reached the larva classification segment. To complete this, I had to collect, count, and identify a larvae sample.
Collecting the larvae took way longer than expected; over 15 minutes to catch one! After I drained the excess water from my paper plate, I took a zoomed picture of the larva for classification (I couldn't get my clip-on cellphone microscope to focus).
Now, time to classify the larva!
While swiping through the images of the larvae, something caught my eye... I saw a button with an illustration that closely resembled my sample. To my surprise, it was labeled, "No, my sample looks different". After clicking on the button, I was brought to a screen that read, "Based on your observation, this is not a mosquito larva". Shocked, I did Google Lens Search of the sample, and not many matches came up for mosquito larvae. It is likely that the 'larvae' in the ditch were actually just tadpoles!
Discouraged but not disheartened, I looked for other accessible bodies of water to document. Although the rest of my observations were relatively uneventful, I enjoyed exploring my community for potential mosquito habitats. I even got a couple of confused looks! Regardless, I'm happy I was able to contribute to a global observation effort, as a civilian.
Oseremen O. is an intern at NASA SEES, and part of the Earth Systems Explorers Team. He's excited to apply his skills, and pick up some new ones to help visualize Earth!
About the author, Oseremen is a rising senior from Frisco, Texas. This virtual internship
is part of a collaboration between the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and the NASA Texas Space Grant Consortium (TSGC) to extend the TSGC Summer Enhancement in Earth Science (SEES) internship for U.S. high school (http://www.tsgc.utexas.edu/sees-internship/). This guest blog shares the NASA SEES Earth System Explorers virtual internship in 2023.