Using AI to track deadly and invasive mosquitoes's Journal

September 28, 2021

Extended campaigns in Florida!

Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and Polk county users: We need your help! We've extended a couple of our location-specific pushes on INaturalist to try to get a few more observations in before mosquito season is over this year!

If you live in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, we are looking for observations of Aedes scapularis, an invasive mosquito for which we are attempting to determine the specific locations of occurrence. In Polk, Pasco, Pinellas, and Hillsborough counties we are attempting to validate a habitat model for Aedes aegypti, the yellow fever mosquito. We are looking for photos of adult mosquitoes in these counties, regardless of quality. Don't worry if it's not the clearest, of if the mosquito has been smooshed a bit. We still want those pics!

For the rest of you, we are still accepting photos of all species, in all project locations. Even if there's not a specific campaign going on in your area, your data are still valuable to the project.

Thank you, everyone, for your help so far, both in providing images and identifications. Keep up the amazing work!

Posted on September 28, 2021 01:36 PM by durieudm durieudm | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 13, 2021

Tampa Bay Mosquitoes

Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, and Pasco county observers have the opportunity to contribute to one of our current mosquito campaigns! We are looking for any observations of Aedes aegypti, the yellow fever mosquito, from these counties to validate a habitat-use model. To participate, simply take a photo with an identifiable A. aegypti mosquito and add it to the project.

  1. Try to include the dorsal (top) surface of the thorax in the pictures. One of the easiest ways to identify this species from similar mosquitoes is by the pattern of white lines on the thorax. Other identification clues can be found here.
  2. Photos of dead mosquitoes are fine. If a mosquito bites you, feel free to smack it and then take your pictures afterwards. It's easier anyway when they don't move around.
  3. Even if you're not sure what mosquito you've got, upload it anyways. We've got lots of people on INaturalist who will be happy to identify for you.
  4. Even if you don't see mosquitoes, or if you live outside of the area, you can contribute identifications to other people's observations.

This is just one of several location-specific campaigns going on. Even if we don't have an event in your area, we can still use your observations for other projects. Keep up the good work!

Posted on August 13, 2021 04:24 PM by durieudm durieudm | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 25, 2021

Location-Specific Mosquito Campaigns

First of all, allow me to congratulate everyone on a wonderful launch of the project! We have gathered over 2,200 observation of 67 different mosquito species from 1,117 unique observers since our launch. Keep up the good work, and don't forget to invite your friends to contribute.
From July 25 until August 25, we will be making a particular effort to document several specific mosquito populations. If you are in one of the described areas, please keep your eyes open for the following species:

  1. We would like our project to generate the first iNaturalist observations of adult Aedes mediovittatus and Aedes vittatus from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Both are dengue vectors and potential invasive species which are present in the Caribbean but could expand northward.
  2. We are validating a habitat model for Aedes aegypti, in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Specifically, we are looking for adult specimens from Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, and Polk counties. The goal is to provide observations of this species across a variety of habitat and land use types in these four counties.
  3. We would like to contribute to an effort to pinpoint precise locations of the invasive species Aedes scapularis in the Miami area in Florida. We could use as many observations of adults of this species in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
  4. We are still actively seeking mosquito observations from our entire study area. Just because you're not in one of these locations doesn't mean you can't contribute! Keep sending us those observations!

Once again, thank you all for your work so far, and let's keep up the good work!
~David Durieux

Posted on July 25, 2021 10:51 PM by durieudm durieudm | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 06, 2021

PRESS RELEASE: Using Citizen Science and AI to Track Deadly and Invasive Mosquitoes

If you're interested in participating in the larva identification research or receiving project updates, please visit our registration page here

Everyday people can use their smartphones to help track the most dangerous animal alive–the mosquito.

Mosquito populations are traditionally tracked through specimens found in traps, then identified by expert entomologists or DNA analysis. But these surveillance methods take time, and are hard to scale. A new project led by the University of South Florida in partnership with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars' Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP), The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seeks to develop a better solution.

“Citizen” or “community” science-related processes, where members of the public contribute to scientific research, can get more eyes on the environment to find new vectors and invasives as soon as they appear. And new advances in artificial intelligence (AI) can also help. Research led by Dr. Ryan Carney (Integrative Biology) and Dr. Sriram Chellappan (Computer Science and Engineering) at the University of South Florida and supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, will create a platform for large-scale, automated identification of mosquito species, leveraging the power of citizen science and AI for mosquito surveillance and control.

According to Dr. Anne Bowser, Deputy Director of STIP, “Many people theorize about how citizen science, Earth observation, and machine learning can bring real advances in environmental monitoring and governance. This project takes theory and puts it into practice.”

The team is looking for disease vectors such as Aedes aegypti, which was the main culprit of Zika outbreaks in Florida and worldwide, as well as newly invasive species. These include Aedes scapularis, a vector of yellow fever identified last year in Florida, and Aedes vittatus, which also carries Zika, dengue, and West Nile virus, and has now invaded nearby Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

And with a tool as simple as a smartphone, people from across the Americas–and especially Florida and the Caribbean–can join the effort to track these invasives and disease vectors today. Volunteers can contribute by downloading one of three citizen science mobile apps:

Mosquito Alert to monitor adult mosquitoes via photographs, as well as monitor bites and breeding grounds; an expert-validated system coordinated by several research institutions in Spain (CEAB-CSIC, CREAF, ICREAUPF);

iNaturalist to monitor larval or adult mosquitoes via photographs; a social platform for sharing biodiversity observations, and a joint initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and National Geographic Society, used by thousands of organizations and researchers;

GLOBE Observer: Mosquito Habitat Mapper to monitor larval mosquitoes and habitats via photographs; supported by NASA through the GLOBE Program.

Citizen scientists using the GLOBE Observer Mosquito Habitat Mapper not only describe and locate mosquito larval habitats, which helps scientists to understand the spatial distribution of breeding sites, they also participate in source reduction. This includes removing standing water habitats from use, which also reduces the risk of disease within neighborhoods, supporting both community health and environmental justice.

According to Dr. Russanne Low, IGES, “Citizen scientists are the link between mosquitoes and NASA’s Earth Observing Mission. Scientists can’t see mosquitoes from space, but they can identify the environmental conditions that foster mosquito population growth and vector-borne disease outbreaks. Citizen scientists on the ground provide data about mosquitoes and habitats that enhance our understanding of population response and improve the effectiveness of predictive models linking weather and climate to disease outbreaks.”

Dr. Durrell D. Kapan from the California Academy of Sciences, who has worked on community science for mosquitoes using the iNaturalist platform since 2015, says "This project can act as an 'expertise' multiplier. In our experience, iNaturalist users learn from each other as well as expert entomologists and apply this knowledge to curate the identifications in the database and share their knowledge to other iNat users encountering the same species worldwide. The outcome is over 43,000 identified mosquito images that can help train deep learning AI algorithms."

Says Dr. Carney, "Data from each of these apps, analyzed by our AI running behind the scenes, enables the public to become 'citizen epidemiologists' that can contribute to cutting-edge scientific research and public health in meaningful and engaging ways." The data will be shared with health authorities and partner organizations across Florida and surrounding areas, and made available for other researchers and citizen scientists.

The Partners
University of South Florida
The Wilson Center's Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP)
GLOBE Observer Mosquito Habitat Mapper, including through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
Mosquito Alert, coordinated by the Ecological and Forestry Applications Research Centre (CREAF), Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA), and Center for Advanced Studies of Blanes (CEAB-CSIC)
iNaturalist, a joint initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society
The Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC)
The National Science Foundation (NSF)
The U.S. Department of State

Posted on May 06, 2021 01:33 PM by durieudm durieudm | 0 comments | Leave a comment