Observer People

Marianela Pepe, Juan Wehinger, and Lucio Martínez

Citizen Scientists from the Huechulafquen Science Club, Argentina
It’s not necessary to have the brain of Einstein to do science!

Student citizen scientists Marianela Pepe, Juan Wehinger and Lucio Martínez (from the Huechulafquen Science Club in Argentina) presented their research in the International Junior Water Prize competition and were recognized as winners for the country of Argentina! In August 2021, they represented their country at the Stockholm Junior Water Prize competition held remotely this year due to Covid concerns in Sweden. Their teacher is Ana Prieto.

Where are you from?
We are from Junín de los Andes, Argentina!

What do you study?
Juan and Lucio are students at the technical school EPET 4 with a focus on electromechanics, and Marianela is a chemical engineering student at the National University of Comahue.

How do you use GLOBE Observer?
GLOBE Observer is very easy to use, and has specific tutorials for how to use the protocols. We have done land cover, trees, mosquitoes and a lot of water quality activities. We enjoy tracking our observations and using other GLOBE student’s findings in our own investigations.

How do you plan to use GLOBE Observer in the future?
GLOBE Observer is a very important tool for carrying out investigation projects, and comparing data with people from around the world. We have used it in almost all our investigations. Our next project will be carried out this summer, and focuses on water and air quality.

Why is citizen science important?
Citizen science is valuable because it allows us to learn more about the places we live and can help us understand what is happening in our ecosystems. We can carry out investigations by observing and paying attention to what is happening in our environment. Citizen science breaks the myth of unattainable science because any individual can understand how science works and how knowledge is produced! Citizen science brings people closer to science and is something anyone can do. Always keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to be in school to do research!

What advice would you give for people who are just starting in citizen science?
Citizen science is not as difficult as it seems. Forming observations can help many people complete research, as well as doing your own investigations or collaborating with others. It’s important to take measurements over a period of time to be able to compare, or follow some pattern (for example measurements in different seasons of the year), or when an event occurs (fire, heavy snow or rain, etc.).

What do you like to do for fun?
We like to drink mate* with friends in beautiful places, spend time with friends, chat, play soccer, go camping, make music, etc. We love to have company and share things. *Mate is a very common and popular drink in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and the south of Brazil. The traditional version is made of herbs and hot water.

What inspires you?
We are inspired by learning, and love to expand our knowledge. We like to meet other people who have similar interests as us and know that we are not the only ones who enjoy science.

Do you have a favorite quote to share?
“It’s not necessary to have the brain of Einstein to do science!” (Quote from the group.)

Project Summary

Characterization of the larval habitat of mosquitoes in Northern Patagonia, Argentina

Abstract: Patagonia is characterized by a temperate-cold climate with a dry season during the summer season. These conditions impact the reproduction and survival of mosquitoes. Little is known about the habitats chosen by females to spawn in this region, where species outside the expected limit have been recorded. With climate change, an expansion of mosquitoes to higher latitudes and altitudes is predicted. Objective: to characterize the water quality and land cover in habitats with mosquito larvae in the city of Junín de los Andes. Methodology: The hydrosphere and biosphere protocols of the GLOBE Program, the GLOBE-Observer application and the Worldview satellite images were applied. Water quality analyzes and land cover measurements were carried out. The T-test was applied to establish mean differences and cluster analysis to compare multiple parameters between sites. Oxygen, turbidity and alkalinity showed significant differences between the puddles and the river. The diversity of macroinvertebrates was greater in the river than in the mosquito puddles. Mosquitoes coexist with large populations of amphipods and daphnia. In some cases, other macroinvertebrates are found. Knowing the mosquito breeding habitats in Patagonia is important to understand the limiting factors, design control systems and mitigate the effects of displacement due to climate change.

Brief summary:Mosquito habitats were characterized in Argentine Patagonia. The water quality of the Chimehuín river and puddles was compared through physical-chemical analysis and identification of macroinvertebrates. Satellite images were analyzed and the evolution of a puddle with mosquitoes was studied. The findings can be useful for designing mosquito population control systems.