SciShow Talk Show: John Roach on Ecology & Freckles the Leopard Gecko | Summary and Q&A

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May 12, 2014
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SciShow Talk Show: John Roach on Ecology & Freckles the Leopard Gecko

TL;DR

Dr. John Roach discusses his career as an ecologist and his research on pikas and urban water systems.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Why did Dr. Roach decide to study pikas?

Dr. Roach was interested in studying pikas because they raise similar questions as the reintroduction of wolves and their impact on plant communities.

Q: What makes urban water systems unique for ecological studies?

Urban water systems, such as canal water in desert cities, are artificial and fast-acting, making them excellent for studying how ecology unfolds over time.

Q: How do wealthy neighborhoods' irrigation affect climate in cities?

Wealthy neighborhoods tend to irrigate and manicure their lawns more, resulting in cooler and greener areas, creating climate differences based on income.

Q: How do geckos drop their tails for defense?

Geckos, like leopard geckos, can drop their tails when threatened by predators. The tail will twitch for up to 30 minutes, acting as a distraction while the gecko escapes. The gecko can then regenerate its tail.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Dr. John Roach started his career studying coyotes in Yellowstone before moving on to study pikas and their impact on plant communities.

  • He then shifted his focus to studying urban water systems in the desert, which proved to be fast-acting and unique ecological systems.

  • Dr. Roach also discusses the importance of urban LTERs (Long Term Ecological Research) in understanding how streams in cities differ from those in surrounding areas.

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