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Just Science Podcast: Just Blowflies and Extreme Temperatures

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2020
3 pages

This fifth episode of the 2020 R&D Season of the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) Just Science podcast series is an interview with Dr. Travis Rusch, a postdoctoral research associate at Texas A&M University, who discusses fluctuating temperatures in forensically important blowflies.


Background information for the interview indicates that forensic entomologists use predictable developmental rates of certain necrophagous insects to estimate time of colonization, postmortem interval, and time of death; however, extreme fluctuations in temperature can influence these development rates in unknown ways. In his grant-supported research, Dr. Rusch is exploring this issue to increase the knowledge base of forensic entomology. In this interview, he discusses the function of forensic entomology, the life cycle of blowflies, and the next phase of his research. Much of the interview focuses on research methodology, such as the capturing of the blowflies for research, the management of the environment in which blowflies colonize and evolve, how temperatures of the host body are managed and measured, and how laboratory conditions are replicated and measured in various outdoor and indoor environments common in death investigations.

Date Published: April 1, 2020