Virtual Science Café: Planes, Parasites, and Paleontology
This Zoom webinar with scientists Kelly Speer, Sarah Luttrell, and Kay Behrensmeyer aired March 15, 2022. Watch a recording in the player above.
In this video, you'll hear from three scientists solving everyday mysteries and predicting the future … all with the help of Smithsonian specimens. The short talks are:
"Life is Complex: Parasites and Microbiomes Teach Us About Bats," by Kelly Speer
If you were listing things that make people squirm, bats, parasites, and microorganisms might be high up there, but what you may not realize is these organisms directly benefit people. Research biologist Kelly Speer will bring us into her world studying bats, parasites, and microorganisms, dispelling their bad reputation to highlight the integral role they play in healthy ecosystems and habitats.
"What The Heck is Snarge?!" by Sarah Luttrell
Every day, a team of researchers at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History open the mail and look through "snarge" to solve the identity of birds involved in aircraft collisions. Sarah Luttrell is a member of that team and will explain what "snarge" is, the impact of wildlife on aviation safety, and how the Smithsonian plays an integral part in keeping your next flight uneventful.
"Dust to Dust? How to Escape Recycling and Become a Fossil," by Kay Behrensmeyer
Fossils preserve all kinds of extinct organisms and excite our curiosity about ancient worlds. But fossils tell us more than just who lived in the past — they hold clues about what happened to the dead on their way being preserved for the ages. In her talk, renowned Smithsonian paleobiologist Kay Behrensmeyer will share a story about how the toe bone of a dead wildebeest led her to a new understanding about fossilization. Her life-long fascination with fossils is turning up surprises about how they form and expands what they can tell us about the past.
- Image credits from Kay’s talk: Phylopic – wildebeest silhouette: Jan A. Venter, Herbert H. T. Prins, David A. Balfour & Rob Slotow (vectorized by T. Michael Keesey) Creative Commons License CC BY 3.0; brachiosaur silhouette: Scott Hartman Creative Commons License CC BY-NC-SA 3.0; Homo sapiens silhouette: Jiro Wada (modified)
- Smithsonian Voices Blog: Get to Know the Scientist Studying How Parasitic Flies Stomach Bat Blood
- Deep Time Walk App
- Video Webinar Archives: Look in the After Hours Section for More Virtual Science Cafés
- NMNH After Hours Programs for Adults