Swarming Mongolia

For the past decade and a half, a crew of about 20 entomologists, water ecologists, and other specialists converges on the shorelines of Mongolia’s lakes, rivers, and streams, just when swarms of aquatic insects do the same.

By | February 1, 2012

Entomologist at Vilnius University, Lithuania, Sigitas Podenas samples from a stream meandering the Altai Mountains in Mongolia as part of the Mongolian Aquatic Insect Survey.

Entomologist at Vilnius University, Lithuania, Sigitas Podenas samples from a stream meandering the Altai Mountains in Mongolia as part of the Mongolian Aquatic Insect Survey.

JON GELHAUS

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For the past decade and a half, a crew of about 20 entomologists, water ecologists, and other specialists converges on the shorelines of Mongolia’s lakes, rivers, and streams, just when swarms of aquatic insects do the same. For three arduous weeks, teams traverse the sparsely populated countryside. They sweep nets, set traps, flip rocks, and sample water in order to collect as many insects as possible. Led by Jon Gelhaus, a curator of entomology at The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University and a specialist in crane flies, the Mongolian Aquatic Insect Survey represents not only the creation of a comprehensive inventory of aquatic insects in Mongolia, but more importantly, an opportunity to train new generations of Mongolians to identify and protect the fauna of their rapidly developing, newly democratic country.

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