Nelson, Dragonfly Mercury Project cited in National Parks Conservation Association article

The National Parks Conservation Association reported on the Dragonfly Mercury Project, a program that encourages students, volunteers and park visitors to collect dragonfly larvae to measure mercury levels in water bodies. The project was initiated by Sarah Nelson, director of the Ecology and Environmental Sciences program and associate research professor in the School of Forest Resources, and is a collaboration among UMaine, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), National Park Service, Dartmouth College and University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. The project has spread to more than 60 park sites around the country, and more than 2,500 citizen scientists have participated in the sampling campaign, according to the article. Many mercury studies focus on fish, but researchers involved in the project say dragonfly larvae are more appropriate candidates for a nationwide sampling effort, the article states. “They will eat anything that they can put their mouthparts on,” Nelson said. “I have a colleague who used to call them micro-monsters.”