Location: Malaysian Borneo
What do you do?
I spend a lot of time thinking about mosquitoes! Although I work for Imperial College’s Grantham Institute and Department of Life Sciences in London I actually do my research out in the field in Malaysian Borneo. I’m investigating how changes in the way land is used can affect mosquito ecology. Mosquitoes are sensitive to shifts in environmental conditions (e.g. temperature). Therefore dramatic changes in the way land is used, such as the conversion of tropical forests to oil palm plantations, can have profound effects on aspects of mosquito ecology (e.g. how well they can survive, how fast they grow, how many eggs they can lay etc.). These changes in land use can therefore affect the spread of diseases that are carried by mosquitoes.
What can I see?
This is my desk at the remote SAFE project field camp in Malaysian Borneo. On the left, you’ve got my trusty aspirator; a piece of impressive, high-tech equipment (a plastic tube fitted into a slightly larger tube, separated by mesh netting), which I use to suck up and transport adult mosquitoes. Under the aspirator is my GPS, without which I would be (and have been) utterly lost. My mini microscope duo sit in the middle. I use these to identify, measure and dissect my mosquitoes. On the right and still nascent is my Aedes mosquito colony. Each of the sections in my subtle Day-Glo stack of drawers will house mosquito larvae from different field sites. Adults are kept in the large plastic containers and provisioned with sugar water. The far right of my desk is mildly chaotic and should maybe have been cropped out. Finally, in the middle of my desk, and truly central to any fieldwork, is my cuppa tea.
When I’m not doing science I… run, attempt yoga, travel as much as possible, and continue to nurture my appreciation of single malt whisky.