New mosquito papers

pic1I want to highlight two great papers by my labmates that came out last month. In the first, Dr. Panayiota Kotsakiozi and colleagues used population genomics to investigate the global genetic structure and invasions of the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus). To summarize, the authors found two main genetic clusters worldwide, which generally correspond to populations that can undergo diapause and those that can’t (diapause is a type of dormancy which is important for these mosquitoes to survive winter in temperate climates). Within the group that can undergo diapause, there was likely an invasion from Japan into North America, and then North America into Italy. In the cluster that can’t undergo diapause, invasions from southeast Asia were likely responsible for current populations in South America and Greece. Check out the full paper to learn more about this study and its important implications.

pic2In the second paper, Dr. Andrea Gloria-Soria et al. performed experiments on yellow fever mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) and dengue viruses from two locations in Vietnam – one warmer and one cooler – in order to study the interaction between mosquito genotype, virus genotype, and temperature. One important take- away is that at lower temperatures, mosquitoes that are adapted to warmer climates are more susceptible to infection with dengue. This could have serious implications for invasions of tropical mosquitoes into more temperate climates. Learn more by reading the full paper.

Back from the field

Last week I went to the field as a TA for the amazing course Biology of Terrestrial Arthropods, taught by Dr. Marta Wells. I enjoyed our stay at the Archbold Biological Station in central Florida, and the neighboring insects, spiders, and scorpions were plentiful, colorful, and diverse! Here are a few arthropod highlights of the trip.

Flipped Science Fair

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The annual science fair was a huge part of my childhood and teenage years. My projects ranged from simulating a tsunami in my bathtub, to building a laser communicator, to calculating how efficient ground source heat pumps would need to be to power our homes. Although none of my projects had insects or even much biology, they are a primary reason for why I am a scientist and graduate student today.

This weekend I had the opportunity to participate in my 11th-ever science fair, but the first one where I was judged by middle schoolers! They were critical thinkers and tough judges.  It was a lot of fun and a valuable experience to share my research with them.