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Citizen Science: Backyard Evolution

Updated: Nov 2, 2020

Participate in ongoing UVA Biology research by collecting and preserving flying insects from your compost piles this spring, summer, and fall.

"Your compost pile is teaming with life, and fruit flies are an important part of that ecosystem. Fruit flies typically eat bacteria and fungi that decompose your scraps, and are therefore part of the decomposition cycles that make the world go around. Over the course of the summer, your pile will likely be inhabited by about a dozen species of fruit flies, in addition to many other flying, walking, and crawling invertebrates. For some species of fruit flies, 10-15 generations can pass between the spring and fall. Populations of fruit flies evolve over the course of the growing season as aspects of the nutritional and thermal environment change. By sampling fruit flies from your compost pile over the growing season, we can track the evolutionary dynamics of fruit flies in real-time."

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