This week we take Project of the Week to Germany and Spain, both of which are hosting projects monitoring mosquitoes:
Mosquito Alert (Spain)
Mosquito Atlas (Germany)
These pages are in Spanish and German, but have big "Translate" buttons. Since they are doing very similar things, we thought we'd cover both of them .... two projects in one Project of the Week - we're feeling generous!
What does this project do?
Both track the distribution and spread of mosquitoes. There are over 3500 species of mosquitoes worldwide, but as they're not a beloved or glamorous creature, there is much still to be learned about them. Both projects involve the public in identifying and sampling mosquito types, and also in public health and education.
What do I have to do?
Mosquito Alert is an app which you use to photograph mosquitoes you find. They are particularly looking for two disease-carrying species, the yellow fever mosquito and the tiger mosquito. If you work in education, academia or public health, you can also download the "Manager Kit" and collaborate - it's a public health project.
Mosquito Atlas has a different approach: capture any mosquitoes you find in a small container! Do not crush them, but put them in the freezer to kill and preserve them, and then post them to the Leibniz Center for Agricultural Landscape. Instructions are on this page. You will also need to fill in a form to accompany your sample, which you can do online or on paper - find it at the bottom of this page.
What’s the Citizen Science Project of the Week?
Citizen Science Project of the Week is a regular Monday feature at Doing It Together Science. What project would you like to see featured? Please let us know on the contact form, Facebook page or email us at email@example.com. Please put "Project of the Week" in the subject line and send us a link to the project, some information about it and why you'd like it featured. If you want us to, we'll credit you and tag you on Facebook!
Mosquitoes are the insects best known for giving us itchy bites. They are ectoparasites, meaning that they live outside their host: the females pierce the skin to consume blood for egg formation. There are thousands of types and they prey on many other species, even invertebrates. Mosquito Alert is looking for the tiger mosquito and yellow fever mosquito while Mosquito Atlas is tracking the common house mosquito.
You can read a lot more about mosquitoes and the research on them at the American Mosquito Control Association.
Mosquitoes are major transmitters of disease-causing pathogens, including the Zika virus, which we mentioned in our first Project of the Week. They are therefore very relevant to public health, an important area of study and education. Public health is a complex field and its relationship to citizen science is also being studied.
Both projects are linked to the European Citizen Science Association; if you'd like to learn more, or if you're in a country not covered by either of these projects but would like to see it expand, please get in touch via this page.