Mar 08

Dr. Rusty Low

Dr. Rusty Low-  Earth System Scientist (climate, past and present)

Lead Scientist, GO Mosquito Habitat Mapper

I have focused on many different things in my research. However, there has been a constant theme- I’ve always been interested in how humans and societies impact and are impacted by the environment and by climate change. This topic has taken me to interesting parts of the world. I’ve dug archaeological sites in the middle east and I’ve looked at ancient pollen grains from Central Europe through a microscope, all the time collecting clues about changes in human behavior and changes in climate, past and present. And now I am looking at something else through the microscope, mosquitoes!  Where we find the different species of mosquitoes today is the result of many hundreds of years of human activity, like clearing land for agriculture and inadvertently creating new mosquito habitats, and by moving goods from one continent to another, with tiny hitchhikers aboard.  Changing climate conditions also play a role, causing certain species of mosquitoes to expand their range to areas where they have never been found before. And now we need many more eyes to locate, report and decommission mosquito breeding sites. This data will help us understand how changing environmental conditions and extreme weather events impact mosquito populations and will also help to protect communities from vector borne diseases.


I am really excited about the scientific research that will be possible when we combine the data from the Mosquito Habitat Mapper and the new GLOBE Observer Land cover app. Vegetation data from space has been important for scientists who are creating risk maps of mosquito borne disease. Now we will have ground validation link between mosquito observations and satellite data- the landscape vegetation data that you can record using the app! I hope it will be common practice for you to take both- mosquito observations and land cover observations in the same place.