Science & Technology

What's the Buzz? USU's Science Unwrapped Explores Mosquitoes Friday, Oct. 29

By Mary-Ann Muffoletto |

A female Aedes aegypti mosquito gets blood from a human host. USU ecologist Norah Saarman describes tracking these disease-carrying mosquitos with satellites and genetics at Science Unwrapped Friday, Oct 29. All are welcome. James Gathany, CDC.

Which animal causes the most human deaths? (Snakes? Sharks? Dogs? Other Humans?) The answer is mosquitoes.

Utah State University’s Science Unwrapped, a public outreach program of the College of Science, welcomes USU ecologist Norah Saarman, who is using satellite and genetic data to track these disease-carrying killers, as featured speaker, Friday, Oct. 29.

Inquiring minds of all ages are welcome to the talk, “Making Use of the Great and Small: Tracking Disease-Carrying Mosquitoes with Satellites and Genetics,” which begins at 7 p.m. in the Emert Auditorium, Room ESLC 130, of the Eccles Science Learning Center on campus. Admission is free.

“The mosquito, Aedes aegypti, is an invasive species to North America that’s become widespread in the United States,” says Saarman, assistant professor in USU’s Department of Biology and the USU Ecology Center, whose research focuses on evolutionary ecology and population genomics. “We’re examining the genetic connectivity of this species as it adapts to new landscapes and expands its range.”

Aedes aegypti, the so-called Yellow Fever mosquito, is the primary vector for transmission of viruses causing dengue fever, chikungunya and Zika, as well as yellow fever, in humans.

Saarman’s Oct. 29 talk will also be livestreamed via AggieCast from the Science Unwrapped website, and will be recorded and posted to the same website for continued viewing convenience.

Guests at the in-person event are encouraged to wear masks and to observe socially distanced seating in the Emert Auditorium.

Due to continuing pandemic conditions, Science Unwrapped is not currently offering in-person learning activities following the talk.

“As we did during our 2020-21 series, we’re offering video learning activities, created by our student and community volunteer groups, on our website,” says Greg Podgorski, associate dean for undergraduate studies and services in the College of Science and Science Unwrapped chair. “Each month, we’ll assess conditions to determine whether or not it’s safe and possible to return to in-person, post-talk learning activities.”

The continuing schedule for Science Unwrapped’s 2021-22 “Science on the Horizon” series is:

  • Friday, April 1: “Electric Avenues: Advancing Sustainability through Powered Infrastructure for Roadway Electrification (ASPIRE),” Regan Zane, electrical engineer

For more information, call 435-797-3517, visit the Science Unwrapped website or view the ‘Science Unwrapped at USU’ Facebook page and Twitter profile.

USU ecologist Norah Saarman and her young daughter enjoy a mountain hike. Saarman, who specializes in the study of evolutionary ecology and population genomics, is featured speaker at Science Unwrapped Friday, Oct. 29.

For the time being, Science Unwrapped is not holding in-person learning activities following each monthly talk, but will continue to offer video learning activities created by student and community volunteer groups on its website.


Mary-Ann Muffoletto
Public Relations Specialist
College of Science


Greg Podgorski
Associate Dean for Undergraduates, Science Unwrapped Chair
College of Science

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