Cesar Nufio is holding a box of dead grasshoppers. The insects, precisely pinned, with miniscule labels affixed beneath them, march down the box in neat, dark lines.
The grasshoppers are just a sampling of a 50-year-old set of 13,000 grasshoppers that Nufio, an entomologist at the University of Colorado, is using to learn about climate change. Until the scientist happened upon them about a decade ago, this collection was nearly forgotten – stored in 250 wooden boxes atop a shelf. Ever since finding the collection, Nufio has been piecing together the story of the lost grasshoppers, and is using them to understand how the change in the area's climate is affecting the insects.
Insects can be a great source of protein, and in many parts of the world, people gobble them up.
But here in the U.S., a certain "ick factor" has kept consumers from eating crickets, locusts and mealworms. To combat the ickiness and convert skeptical consumers, bug-food advocates are trying a specific marketing tactic: be clever and cute.
While most Americans probably haven't heard of Chikungunya, Ann Powers, a research microbiologist at the Centers for Disease Control, has been studying the virus for 15 years.
The mosquito-carried virus made the news recently when the first locally-transmitted case of it appeared in Florida, July 17. Now, the public and medical researchers are wondering if it may spread further into the United States, and how serious it might be.
The research that Powers does at the CDC's Division of Vector Borne Diseases in Fort Collins may help answer some of those questions.