Visitors to the alpine regions may have experienced sights or sounds of pikas – small, furry, potato-sized mammals that are related to rabbits. Join NHI for a webinar conversation with pika biologist Dr. Johanna Varner to learn all about this charismatic and adorable animal.
The natural history of this creature is rich and complex. Why, for instance, do they carry flowers in their mouths and build haypiles? Do they interact with mountain goats or marmots? What happens to them when there’s a forest fire? Learn all about pikas in this webinar, as well as how to get involved with community science efforts to study them (spoiler: there’s an app for that!)
Dr. Johanna Varner is an ecologist, educator, and science communicator in Grand Junction, CO. Although she has past lives as a molecular biologist, an engineer, and a blueberry farmer, she found her true calling studying potato-sized alpine mammals called pikas. These animals are not only important indicator species in mountain ecosystems, but they are also an ideal platform for public engagement in science. By day during the semester, she teaches a variety of biology courses at Colorado Mesa University, but during the summer, she spends as much time as possible observing the pikas at study sites in Oregon, Utah, and Colorado.