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Keystone Species

Journey to the Tibetan plateau in China for an interview with conservation biologist AndrewSmith. Dr. Biology learns about a cute furry animal called a Pika and how it is the key to survival for many animals that live on the plateau.

Content Info | Transcript


MP3 download | 15MB

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Topic Time
Journey to Tibetan Plateau (China) in the field with Andrew Smith 00:30
What is a conservation biologist? 01:53
Biodiversity 03:03
Rainforest - deforestation 03:15
Rainforest - plants and medicine 03:44
What got you interested in pikas? 04:15
Description of pikas. 04:28
How many types of pikas are there? 04:45
Learning about the pikas in China. 06:03
How often have you traveled to China? 06:48
How many years have you been studying pikas in China? 07:20
The story behind the pikas on the  Tibetan Plateau - about the research. 07:37
Listen to some of the songs and calls that pikas make. 08:57
How many sounds do pikas make? 09:36
What kind of equipment do you use? Basic skills. 12:09
What got you started in biology? The spark. 13:43
What's a keystone? (AAB - Keystone Web Page) 14:29
What's a keystone species and how are pikas a keystone species? 15:15
Prairie dogs of North America 16:43
Why do people consider pikas a pest? 17:21
Why Dr. Smith considers pikas a keystone species. 18:02
Pikas and plants 20:48
What are some other keystone species? 22:32
Wolves in Yellowstone National Park 23:04
Everything is related to everything else (food web) 23:31
What is the Red List? 24:19
What are the three critical threatened categories for animals and plants? 24:42
What percentage of mammals are threatened with extinction? 25:24
Were you always going to be a conservation biologist? 26:19
If your were not a biologist, what would you be? 27:21
Advice for young scientists. 28:34
How is your ability to speak Chinese coming? 29:23

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Keystone Species

Audio editor: Charles Kazilek

American Pika (Ochotona princeps) in the Uinta Mountains, Utah, USA

This pika was found in the Uinta Mountains of Utah. Image by Caddymob.

Click to learn more about Andrew Smith's research on another species of pika.

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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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American Pika (Ochotona princeps) in the Uinta Mountains, Utah, USA

This pika was found in the Uinta Mountains of Utah. Image by Caddymob.

Click to learn more about Andrew Smith's research on another species of pika.

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.