• Question: do you think you can save people lives or help

    Asked by surface99 to Cassie, Greg, Karen, Sofia, Tommy on 13 Nov 2013. This question was also asked by suzie3471.
    • Photo: Cassandra Raby

      Cassandra Raby answered on 13 Nov 2013:

      The reason my research is on baboons is so that I can understand human health! It might seem silly… shouldn’t I just study humans?
      Well baboons get the same diseases as humans do, and we can learn a lot about these diseases by looking at baboons. My research is trying to find out whether climate change is going to change the diseases the baboons and people get… and if it does, what is causing the changes.
      Once I find this out we can prepare for the future… and if there is something that makes disease worse then we can try and stop that from happening.

      So hopefully, my research will try and make some people happier and healthier 🙂

    • Photo: Sofia Franco

      Sofia Franco answered on 13 Nov 2013:

      I think as scientists we can definitely help! The more you know about animals, plants, ecosystems and our planet, the more you can try to preserve it and work for a better future. I now work with little barnacles that are eaten in Portugal and Spain..and therefore people collect them quite a lot. We are trying to get them to live happily in captivity and discover how to convinced them to get glued and live on things other than barnacles. One of the reasons for this is because they are menaced in their environment and one of the things that might help them recover is to get them more places to live on! If we can get discover what they like, we can give them more places to live on. We hope that this will help the animals to recover in nature and will help the people that depend on them to live better also.

    • Photo: Thomas Doherty-Bone

      Thomas Doherty-Bone answered on 13 Nov 2013:

      I currently work on invasive species, and these can cause BILLIONS of ££££ lost to economies. This includes loss of fish in rivers (novel parasites or predators like crayfish), blocked water pipes (caused by Zebra Mussels) or loss of native species. Solving these problems is necessary, but they cost money. If we can understand how to manage invasive species so they can be prevented and impacts mitigated, that could save money that could be put to better use – like hospitals, or feeding the hungry….or buying me a hollowed-out volcano.

      The invasive species I study occur in rivers and lakes – sources of our freshwater, important to life. As they are new to these systems, they might change them and its my job to find out whether this change is for the better or the worst.

      So doesn’t seem to be helping at first glance, but as with anything in the environment, everything is connected. Everything!

    • Photo: Karen Bacon

      Karen Bacon answered on 14 Nov 2013:

      My current work focuses on trying to figure out how past ecosystems responded to massive climate change – the fossil record is really the only big experiment that we have where we can see how plants respond to climate changes – so yes I think this is really important because we need to know how plants may respond to climate change in the future. Obviously, using fossils isn’t perfect but it’s one of the many ways that plant scientists can try to figure out how ecosystems may change and how much of a problem this might be for the animals living in them and for food production. Biology and science is all connected!