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How is Ecology Helping Us Understand COVID-19?

Not only do we affect animals, but our well-being is tied to theirs. The COVID-19 epidemic has made this point even more clear—we cannot separate ourselves from nature, instead we have to learn how to manage interactions to reduce the risk.

Published onJun 22, 2022
How is Ecology Helping Us Understand COVID-19?
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Abstract

The world is in motion, not just spinning on its axis and flying around the sun, but pulsing with animal life that is constantly on the move. Roland Kays, Ph.D. works with technology to document the pulse of the moving planet. He uses GPS units to track migrating birds, including some tiny units that send data back via the new ICARUS tracking antenna on the International Space Station. He uses camera traps to ‘catch’ pictures of mammals as they walk by and works with citizens and scientists to set these across the country. The results of this work show not only how movement connects the planet but also how humans are part of this ecological network. Not only do we affect animals, but our well being is tied to theirs. The COVID-19 epidemic has made this point even more clear -- we cannot separate ourselves from nature, instead we have to learn how to manage interactions to reduce the risk. Roland will show how understanding movement ecology can help reduce the spread of this epidemic and, hopefully, prevent the emergence of the next one.

Roland Kays is a Research Professor in the College of Natural Resources at NC State University and the Director of the Biodiversity Lab at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. Roland is interested in how, where, and why animals move.  His work has allowed him to explore tropical rainforests, African savannas, and suburban woodlots. He was co-discoverer of the olinguito, a new species of mammal from Ecuador and is the cofounder of the Movebank animal tracking database and the eMammal camera-trapping database. Roland has written two books (Mammals of North America and Candid Creatures: How Camera Traps Reveal the Mysteries of Nature) and hosts the Wild Animals Podcast. Dr. Kays earned his BS degree from Cornell University and his PhD from the University of Tennessee.

How Is Ecology Helping Us Understand COVID-19? (Roland Kays)

This video was originally produced for an audience of entering first-year and transfer students at NC State University as a part of an interdisciplinary experience. It is available for noncommercial reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial 4.0 License, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

TRANSCRIPT

SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS

  1. Related Links:

  2. Roland’s Wild Animals Podcast: Crazy stories about animals, told by the people who study them.

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