4th February 2019 – Nancy Miorelli, SciBugs

Nancy MiorelliNancy Miorelli is an entomologist living in Quito, Ecuador. After earning her Master’s degree in Entomology from the University of Georgia in 2014 she promptly moved to the heart of the Ecuadorian cloud forest where she volunteered at an ecolodge for two years. During her time motorbiking through the jungle, designing educational programs, filming insects for Discovery Channel’s Naked and Afraid, and convincing tourists that they really did love insects, Nancy continued to work on various SciComm projects including #FaceBug and the blog Ask an Entomologist.

After two years, she moved from the cloud forest to the concrete jungle of Quito where she continues her SciComm endeavors with Ask an Entomologist, travelling to conventions, and starting a new Periscope channel.  She embarked on her own insect tourism business focusing on the interconnections of ecology, conservation, local Ecuadorian culture, and tourism. These are not your typical Ecuadorian tours as these tours take you off the traditional beaten path walked by thousands of tourists each year.   Her objective is to promote tourism and conservation in some of Ecuador’s most threatened and most biodiverse ecosystems including the northern Ecuadorian coast and the cloud forest. Agriculture and mining are the two biggest threats to these fragile ecosystems.

Her main scientific interest is the structural coloration of insects – particularly in butterflies. The intricacies of the microstructures that insects employ to expertly reflect and absorb light are still being discovered in this relatively new field and their applications to our modern-day technology are limitless; including improving fiber optics, security encryption, and eye implants. Nancy is particularly interested in why the butterflies are creating these structures, how the microstructures function to manipulate light, and how we can copy these structures and apply them to our modern-day technology.

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