CRF student develops portable tool with sensors for tracking insects | FIU News

With home security software and a little ingenuity, FIU’s Ph.D. in Biology. Student Yash Sondhi has developed a new tracking tool for hard-to-track insects.

Moths, mosquitoes and fruit flies generally fly under our radar, and little is known about them. when they actually fly. Sondhi, in collaboration with researchers from the Florida Museum of Natural History and Imperial College London, has therefore developed a portable and affordable tool that accurately tracks insect movements in the field by identifying what times of day or at night the small insects are awake and active.

This information is the basis for understanding insect behaviors and circadian rhythms – patterns that determine when they forage for food, pollinate flowers, reproduce and more. Without this baseline information, it is more difficult to predict or determine how changes in the environment, such as increased light pollution, might impact insects.

“You might think a moth is nocturnal because it’s only been seen at night, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t come out during the day. That may not have been all just not been seen,” said Sondhi, who works at CRF, associate professor of biology. Jamie Theobald‘s laboratory, said. “We wanted to look beyond the standard nighttime or daytime categories which might be an oversimplification.”