Student researcher: Autumn Sands ’22
Major: Biology
Adviser: Daniel Strömbom, assistant professor of biology

lanternfly poster session

What my research is about:
“At present, there is no study that explores the influence of particular factors on the spread of the spotted lanternfly (SLF), and it is unclear exactly how the SLF spreads and where it will settle in the U.S. We constructed a network model of the SLF infestation at the county level that incorporates both short- and long-range spread to shed light on this question. This simple model is able to explain several qualitative features of the SLF infestation in the U.S. It also predicts that, within a few years, this invasive pest will likely infest the entire region we considered and beyond. 

“The SLF is negatively impacting both commercially important and naturally occurring vegetation. This research could potentially inform which counties will become infested in the near future so they will be able to prepare and put preliminary containment measures in place. It is also important because of the conclusion that human activity aids in the spread, so more importance should be placed on vigilance when traveling out of a zone of infestation.”

What surprised me the most:
“The sheer range of the current SLF infestation surprised me. I was also fascinated to learn that they could spread over long distances through human activity.”

Why this experience is valuable:
“The SLF is a very prevalent issue for the Lafayette community and my community at home. I feel like the work I did this summer is important and useful, and I am grateful I was able to complete it amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Categorized in: Biology, Innovation and Research, News and Features, STEM, Students

1 Comment

  1. diane mast says:

    I am amazed at the speed at which the SLF has infested this area. Please keep us posted on any effective means to eradicate this insect species. Thank you.

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