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Life sciences/Organismal biology/Animals/Invertebrates/Arthropods/Insects

Termites increase their numbers and activity during times of drought in tropical rainforests, according to a new study published January 11 in Science. The result is a healthy ecosystem and increased seed survival, researchers say.

AAAS Leshner Fellow Julie Lesnik traces the evidence that humans have been consuming insects throughout the course of our evolution, and offers a compelling case for why we should bring them back into our staple diets.

Anthony Wilson studies how the biology of blood-feeding insects affects the spread of viruses and our ability to control their spread. Wilson, group leader in Integrative Entomology at the Pirbright Institute in the United Kingdom, first did public engagement as a graduate student participating in the Science and Engineering Ambassador program at his university. He found it rewarding to speak with undergraduate students about STEM careers, especially because no one had encouraged him in this way. Since then, his public engagement has continued to be part of his research career, as his work is inherently public-facing. For example, he coordinated closely with veterinarians to manage and communicate about the bluetongue virus during the 2006 outbreak in Europe. He helped promote the message that insects spread this disease, which has severe impacts on livestock populations, and that people can help in controlling it and preventing its entry into the UK.
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