Climate Change and Mosquitoes: Desperate and Hungry

“They’re aggressive because they’re desperate,” Lauren Culler, a postdoctoral fellow and outreach coordinator for the Institute of Arctic Studies, tells a journalist from Motherboard website about the mosquitoes swarming Greenland. “My research here has found that only 12-15 percent of mosquitoes ever get a blood meal." 

Culler has been studying the shallow ponds in Western Greenland where mosquitoes spend much of their lives to determine how the rapidly warming climate affects mosquitoes and caribou, as well as people.

“In the years when the ponds thaw and they heat up really quickly,” Culler tells Motherboard, “the mosquitoes go through their development faster which means there are fewer days to be eaten by a predator. Lab studies, field studies, and population models show that a warming climate means more mosquitoes survive until adulthood.... Every moment that a caribou spends avoiding insects is another minute that they're not doing what caribou need to do so that they feed so that they can successfully raise calves."

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