School of Life Sciences | Ask A Biologist

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Swarm Science

During a plague year, locusts can swarm over 20 percent of the world’s landmass, affecting one out of every 10 people on the planet. Sounds bad – right? Enter biologist Arianne Cease who has been studying why these insects swarm and how to control them. Dr. Biology learns about her work and an interesting research area called telecoupling.

Portrait image by Jacquelyn Cease

Content Info | Transcript


MP3 download | 15MB

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Topic Time
Introduction - 00:00
The importance of grasshoppers. 01:36
What are trophic levels? [Food web] 02:39
Was this what you thought you would doing for a career? 03:05
How did you pick your lab? 05:41
What is the focus of your research with locusts? 07:53
Why we thought locusts prefer grazed land. 08:38
Unexpected results and a clue about why locust swarm. 10:29
New hypothesis of why locusts prefer grazed land. 10:54
Science as a team sport. 12:25
Where in the world are locusts found? 14:05
Telecoupling 14:35
Have lands always been overgrazed - what changed? 16.23
Balancing ecological sustainability with economic sustainability. 16:59
Small changes in human behavior can have a big impact. 21:06
If you like to travel - you might want to be a biologist. 21:42
An unexpected event. 22:04
Brilliant 10. [Popular Science] 25:33
Three questions 26.42
When did you first know you wanted to be a biologist? 26:54
What would you do if you could not be a biologist? 27:33
What advice do you have for future biologists? 28:43
Sign-off. 39:47

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Swarm Science

Audio editor: CJ Kazilek

Grasshoppers - locusts label

Arianne Cease was named one of the BRILLIANT 10 by Popular Science in 2015. Read more about locusts and her work in the companion story – On the Lookout for Locusts.

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Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.

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Grasshoppers - locusts label

Arianne Cease was named one of the BRILLIANT 10 by Popular Science in 2015. Read more about locusts and her work in the companion story – On the Lookout for Locusts.

Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.