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Drought hinders frog calls

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David Bickford, associate professor of biology, discusses “Biodiversity Research, Climate Change, and Preventing the Collapse of Civilization” Tuesday in the President’s Dining Room. Bickford also talked about his travels in Papua New Guinea, where he studied insects and amphibian. / photo by Celeste Drake

David Bickford, associate professor of biology, discusses “Biodiversity Research, Climate Change, and Preventing the Collapse of Civilization” Tuesday in the President’s Dining Room. Bickford also talked about his travels in Papua New Guinea, where he studied insects and amphibian. / photo by Celeste Drake

Amanda Gabriela Beltran
Staff Writer

Associate Professor of Biology David Bickford presented his biological research in Papua New Guinea and how to overcome climate change to more than 20 faculty, staff and students Tuesday in the President’s Dining Room.

Throughout the lecture, “Biodiversity Research, Climate Change, and Preventing the Collapse of Civilization,” Bickford said much of his experience in biology consisted of getting out in the field and taking measurements and observations.

“I’ve done a lot of field-based projects and I am going to continue to do that and some of the things I’m going to talk to you about is blue collar biology,” Bickford said.

Jason Neidleman, professor of political science, introduced Bickford as someone who chases frogs and snakes around.

“David Bickford basically follows the effects of changes in habitat and on the health and welfare of amphibians,” Neidleman said.

Although Bickford studied the different types of amphibians while he was in Papua New Guinea, he also emphasized the importance of quality publications within the field of biology.

“Part of the take-home message of today’s talk is not introducing all of the stuff I have done, but the disconnection between what scientists do in publications to further their career, and what needs to happen,” Bickford said.

While Bickford was in Papua New Guinea for a few years, he chased and collected data about frogs.

His research was ultimately affected by El Niño, which caused droughts in some parts of the planet.

Bickford said that in his research, he saw more frogs per hour and heard more frog calls per hour, despite the drought.

“Why is it that the frogs during that time period weren’t making those calls?” junior biology major Dolan Hunter asked about the drought.

Bickford said that dryness of the environment affected whether or not frogs made calls.

“It is costly when you are evaporating water from your skin all the time,” Bickford said.

“That costs you calories, and you can’t have the same energy from before.”

Bickford said it is easy to be distant from all of the environmental problems we have in the world, but how it is important to realize and address them.

“The idea is we are going to have to go through a period where we sacrifice things,” Bickford said.

Professor of Public Administration Matt Witt, said he agreed with Bickford on the point that the University needs to do more to encourage students to solve these major environmental problems.

“The ecosystem services is such an intriguing notion for people of our age that we are not the generators of all wealth,” Witt said. “To me, it is a very radical flavoring of nature, in a way.”

Amanda Gabriela Beltran can be reached at amanda.beltran@laverne.edu.

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