Location: Arthropod-borne Animal Diseases Research
Project Number: 3020-32000-018-004-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Sep 15, 2017
End Date: Mar 14, 2022
The objective of the Invasive Mosquito Project (IMP) is to monitor mosquito species abundance and distribution using citizen scientists to crowd source mosquito collections of eggs and larvae/pupae. Annually the IMP will help detect invasive species and monitor the geographic expansion of invasive mosquitoes. This project will help protect Americans from exotic or emerging mosquito-borne pathogens and through its broad application (i.e., in rural communities, in urban communities supporting healthy food choice activities such as community gardens) enhances protection of the United States food supply. The Invasive Mosquito Project is a public education and national mosquito monitoring program that partners local professionals with high school teachers and community educators (summer camps, naturalists, gardeners, scouts, church groups, etc.) to teach about mosquito-borne disease and public health, provide teachers with educational materials that meet Next Generation Science Standards, and create community outreach opportunities that benefits mosquito control/public health agencies. The IMP website (www.citizenscience.us) contains lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations, information, quizzes, and practically everything a teacher or educator needs to teach others to collect mosquito eggs. The lesson plan has students place oviposition cups or collect larvae/pupae around their homes, rear the insects, and identify the mosquito species. The project objective is to have 20% of schools involved within 20 years (the 20/20 goal). Crowd sourcing and citizen science are effective large-scale methods for mosquito monitoring and can be used to create collection networks or support mosquito control efforts. This project would build upon this framework, in California and the United States. A doctoral graduate student will help support project members, recruit new members, and process the data collected by citizen scientists. New lesson plans or additional projects that raise awareness of mosquito-borne diseases to help achieve the 20/20 goal.
A doctoral student attending the University of California-Riverside will promote the project, recruit new members and use the data (e.g., GIS studies, genomic analyses) for the student’s dissertation. The student will also report progress and findings to project participants at annual meetings. To help recruit citizen scientists, new lesson plans will be made for the general public and for teachers. Public health agencies and vector control districts members will require support such as responding to questions and troubleshooting problems that may occur. The student will help to expand the program and enable the teachers to recruit additional educators with the goal of reaching 20% of the schools in the United States.