Dragonfly Detectives

Dragonfly season is quickly approaching!

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We are getting ready for another full year of dragonfly studies in 2017.  This year we have a total of 25 sites that plan to conduct the Dragonfly Detectives program!  Here they are:

Map 2017

With sites spread all across the state, it will be fascinating to learn about which species are most abundant in various locations!

Students in the program participate in three different citizen science projects: Dragonfly Detectives, Pond Watch, and Dragonfly Swarm Project.

Dragonfly Detectives

Dragonfly Detectives is a new citizen science project that was created specifically for the Dragonfly Detectives program. It examines the relationship between weather patterns and dragonfly flight activity levels at ponds. Weather plays a huge role in dragonfly behaviors overall, interfering with some and promoting others. It is such a huge influence that nearly all studies of dragonfly behaviors completed in the field include a statement such as “Data was collected on ________ behavior was collected from _____ to _____, except on days when it was (cloudy, rainy, windy, cold, etc).” It is therefore well accepted that weather disrupts the “normal” behavior of dragonflies, though scientists know little about which weather parameters have the largest effect or specifically how weather influences flight behavior. The Dragonfly Detectives students will examine this relationship in detail for the Common Whitetail dragonfly (Plathemis lydia) during their time in the field and will analyze the data for their sites. We hope that the data these students collect will result in two publishable papers: one that reports the results of the study and another that reports on how effective a) children in grades 4-8 are at collecting high quality data and b) how effective citizen scientists can be at collecting behavioral data in the field.

Dragonfly Pond Watch

The Migratory Dragonfly Partnership (MDP) was established as a collaborative program to gather information and data about dragonfly migration behaviors with the goal of better understanding and conserving dragonflies and their habitats. Federal agencies, nongovernmental programs, academic institutions, dragonfly experts, and citizen scientists all contribute information and observations. The Migratory Dragonfly Partnership has two major projects, Migration Monitoring and Dragonfly Pond Watch. Students will contribute observations to the Dragonfly Pond Watch program. This project was designed to monitor and observe dragonfly species and activities at local ponds or a specific location on a regular basis. Collecting data in the same location over time enables scientists to investigate the movements of migratory species by increasing knowledge of timing and locations of migratory species, while also providing information about non-migratory species, and the relationship between the two.

YOU can participate in Dragonfly Pond Watch too! migratorydragonflypartnership.org

Dragonfly Swarm Project

Dragonflies are known to swarm but little is understood about this behavior. Scientists know that there are two types of swarms. One is a static feeding swarm, where dragonflies fly in a well-defined area, relatively close to the ground, while feeding on small insects. The second type is a migratory swarm, which consists of hundreds to millions of dragonflies flying in the same direction, fairly high off the ground. Dragonfly swarms are very difficult to study because a person has to be in the right place at the right time to observe them. The Dragonfly Swarm Project is a citizen science project that provides a way for people to report dragonfly swarms occurring near them. The project collects information about when and where dragonfly swarms are occurring, as well as information about weather conditions and recent flooding or storms in the area. This allows researchers to compile data about dragonfly swarms from many different locations in an effort to understand more about the behavior, its role in the environment, how and why the swarms form, etc.

YOU can contribute to Dragonfly Swarm too!  thedragonflywoman.com/dsp/info/

We can’t wait to get started on another exciting year of dragonfly studies!

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