The Moth Project Comes to GSU

Skyler Black

Georgia Southern University recently hosted The Moth Project for several days taking place at different locations around the campus from 7 p.m. until midnight from Sept. 11 through Sept.17.

Recent studies have found that the honeybee, our primary pollinator, is in a rapid decline and scientists cannot figure out why. The Moth Project is meant to study what would happen if we had to rely on pollinators such as the moth or any other night dwelling insect.

PlantBot Genetics is a group of professors from Georgia Southern and Auburn University whose goal is to help create sustainable agricultural production. They aim to introduce different technologies to farmers that would reduce the effect they have on the environment. The company received a grant from Georgia Southern University’s Center for Sustainability to bring the project to Georgia Southern.

GSU ceramics professor Jeff Schumki and and Wendy DesChene, associate professor of art at Auburn University are the cofounders of PlantBot Genetics and were the ones presenting The Moth Project.

At night, they choose an outdoor location on campus and begin setting up their equipment. There were reflective tents placed around the ares that had video of moths projected on to them using black lights. The lighting ran entirely on an off-grid, solar powered trailer that is an art space/laboratory. The idea is to attract the moths and other pollinators to the light of the tents.

Professor Schumki presented The Moth Project last week in the Great Minds Lecture.

“The Great Minds Lecture Series highlights outstanding faculty members in CLASS and presents their Fascination scholarship,” Schumki said. “Attendees experience first-hand this interesting research and will engage in conversations about contemporary topics.”

The decline in the populations of pollinators is the main focus of this study while also showing how the public must preserve the environment. PlantBot Genetics will gather their research and create a field guide that is meant to spread understanding to the public along with actions that people can take to create a more positive relationship with these pollinators.