Researchers Night is a Europe-wide public event dedicated to popular science and fun learning. This year it took place on Friday 29 September, with hundreds of events in over 300 cities in Europe and neighbouring countries. The events showcase what researchers really do for society in interactive and engaging ways, promoting research careers to young people and their parents.
After last year success, ECOPOTENTIAL participated in different countries also this year, such as Italy (Pisa), Greece (Heraklion, Crete) and Spain (Granada). All the partners showed posters and videos produced by the project for the public, give out leaflets and provided information about project’s aims and activities. The “scientific game” was also an opportunity for younger people to test their knowledge about ecosystem services and scientific method!
Other specific activities were organised: for example the group from the University of Granada carried out an activity for teenagers in which they explained the expected impacts of global change in the Mediterranean area as well as the concept of ecological model. The students had the opportunity to manipulate and execute a simplified Agent-Based Model simulating the population dynamics of the pine processionary moth, a species expected to benefit from global change. In the model, they could increase or decrease the average temperature and see how the processionary population was affected by this growth, as well as how the pine on which it feeds would develop under such new conditions. The students were very interested in the population dynamics of the pine processionary moth (they are in fact familiar with this species), showing great participation and interaction with the Agent-Based Model. Furthermore it was a great example for them to understand how climate change is a real threat in their life.
The original model in which this simplified version is used by the University of Granada research group and is based on Lidar-processed images to define the distribution of the pines on the landscape. Work is on-going within the group to use satellite images to detect defoliation caused by this species and thus validate model results.