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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Croton on Hudson, New York, USA

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Croton on Hudson, New York, USA
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Registered: December 2021
City/Town/Province: croton on hudson
Posts: 1
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In middle and high school, I jumped at the opportunity to take any science class that would fit my schedule. Through these studies I have explored many different facets of science, yet I continually find myself most captivated by aspects of our natural world, particularly weather and its interrelated effect on our earth.

As early as my sophomore year of high school, the topic of climate change was being discussed in many of my classes, even those that weren’t science related. The topic was incredibly alarming and I couldn’t help but be shocked by the sheer amount of subjects climate change actually affected.

This fascination drove me to enroll in a three-year science research course, in which I would choose a topic of interest, research it, conduct my own experimentation, and draw conclusions from my work. I was eager to delve deeper into the topic of climate change, and excited about somehow incorporating my interest in weather. As climate change intensifies and major hurricanes such as Irene, Sandy, and more recently Ida become more frequent, I have felt more and more personally connected to this subject.

I began researching extreme weather, where I came across an article about the effect climate change has on the southern armyworm. Although worms seemed completely unrelated to my interests, I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the fact that climate change even affects a simple larva I’d pass by without a second thought. After exploring the subject of invasive pests more, I decided to spend the next three years studying and experimenting on this and related subjects.

I reached out to the author of the worm article in search of a mentor, blindly presenting myself and asking for his understanding. That is how I met Dr. Darren Kriticos, a professor and prominent scientist in Australia, who graciously agreed to mentor me in my project. We met, by zoom, every week for hours at a time, and I will always be thankful for his time and attention. Through our meetings I learned the theory and use of CLIMEX modeling (which my mentor helped develop) and used my knowledge to project the global distribution of the Spodoptera eridania, or southern armyworm, into the year 2050 under a climate change scenario. Now, our joint manuscript, detailing the movement of a voracious pest that is immune to most pesticides, is in the process of being published. It is my hope that the work I have done will provide advance warning to scientists and farmers alike.

Along the way, I learned some key things about myself: I am endlessly curious, dedicated to my work, and driven to accomplish my personal goals. I continue to use my knowledge of CLIMEX modeling, now tracking the distribution of an invasive vine in New York State and co-authoring a manuscript with a graduate student.

And of course I am pursing this field of interest in all the colleges/universities I am currently applying to while striving to continue helping in this field.

FYI, I have provided a link ( to an animation summary I created explaining the manuscript now being published about the global distribution of the Spodoptera eridania, or southern armyworm.
Date: December 13, 2021 Views: 2760 File size: 20.0kb, 1900.4kb : 1500 x 1782
Hours Volunteered: 175
Volunteers: 1
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17
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