The STOPTIGRE project about the Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus on the island of Procida, Italy
Department of Biology, University of Naples Federico II and collaborators from national and international institutions
The STOPTIGRE project aims to contribute to the development of an innovative, sustainable, and effective approach to the monitoring and control of the Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus. The STOPTIGRE project has been taking place on the Mediterranean island of Procida, Italy, since 2015 and has the ambitious goal of achieving an eco-sustainable eradication of A. albopictus, through the active involvement of citizens in research and control activities by Citizen-science and community engagement actions.
The island of Procida has unique characteristics for the purposes of the project: small size (only 3.7 Km2), high population density (approx. 10K inhabitants), high density of the Asian tiger mosquito population, and famous image in the world, today also as Italian Capital of Culture 2022.
The project is led by researchers of the Department of Biology of the University of Naples Federico II and several collaborators from national and international institutions. In the year 2022, the activities of the STOPTIGRE project were developed as an innovative action of Community Citizen-science (Community-science), with a strong cultural component, designed and implemented in collaboration with relational artists of the Academy of Fine Arts of Naples.
These actions have flowed into the “Open Science” project, one of the 44 cultural projects of the official program of Procida2022 (https://www.procida2022.com/). The main goal of the 2022 actions has been to involve citizens in an innovative and interdisciplinary way and at the same time to nourish a strong sense of community, through actions of care, protection, and love for the island, making each inhabitant a witness of their interest in the common territory. During phase 1 of the project, about 150 people, including students and teachers of the Department of Biology of the University of Naples Federico II and the course of New Technologies for Art of the Academy of Fine Arts of Naples, explored the territory of the island of Procida, divided into five zones, to build relationships and start interactions with the local community through the use of “gift” as a “relational accelerator tool” (https://youtu.be/Mf6f7uoaZsM). During phase 2, citizens were invited to become protagonists of photographic portraits and 3D scans of their figures. This material was used to create two representations of the island community involved in the project: the murals (https://youtu.be/bB4UUbHfIkE) and a 3D census (https://youtu.be/8A8pkx0XnWA).
At the same time, starting from the network of relationships built, citizens were invited to actively take part in a monitoring experiment of the Asian tiger mosquito using gravitraps, devices capable of catching adult mosquitoes. In just 5 days, 500 gravitraps were placed in about 400 private properties distributed throughout the island (https://youtu.be/QNqdDpmhpow). Citizens were asked to manage the gravitrap, every two weeks, until the end of September, sending through an app for mobile devices, developed ad hoc, the photos of the sticky sheets present in the trap with the captured mosquitoes.
In phase 3, an “Opera-event” entitled “NOI IO MA NOI” was staged, a widespread “relational anthropological sculpture” co-created with citizens, which made visible the network of relationships built, the sense of community and the actions of care through art and science, able to have a positive impact on the territory (https://youtu.be/_74HMUXNC3s). The event was attended by about 7000 people from all over the island, including tourists, and was also an opportunity to further disseminate the scientific objectives of the project and the results obtained to date. Finally, in phase 4, the project ended with a public restitution event of the data collected during the six months of experimentation, organized as a “scientific coffee evening”, held in conjunction with numerous laboratory activities prepared for the European researchers’ night 2022 (https://youtu.be/wCaApo8deJM).
For more information about the project see: https://stoptigre.evosexdevo.eu/en/