Join biological sciences professor emeritus, Dr. Gail Michener, as she explores Love Them, Despise Them, Study Them: Perspectives on an iconic prairie animal.
Thursday, October 29, 2020 - 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Event Location: Sandman Signature Lethbridge Lodge, 320 Scenic Dr S, Lethbridge, AB
Due to COVID-19, delivery details for this talk are pending. We will update this page when we have more details.
Named in 1822 to honour arctic explorer and British Naval Officer Sir John Richardson, Richardson’s ground squirrels are expensive exotic pets for some, detested agricultural pests for others, and fascinating research subjects for a few.
Known as “gophers” in common parlance, Richardson’s ground squirrels are depicted in a variety of ways, often anthropomorphically. Gainer the Gopher is the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ partially clothed mascot, and Torrington’s Gopher Hole Museum is entirely devoted to dioramas that use stuffed “gophers” as well-dressed avatars of townsfolk. Yet, many wish to destroy Richardson’s ground squirrels, even holding competitions with prizes for those who submit the most tails.
Searching for a research subject when she came to Canada from Australia, Gail Michener was astounded to discover that, even within the scientific community, nobody could answer the most basic questions about this common prairie rodent – when do they mate? How long is pregnancy? How many litters can a female produce in a year? What is their lifespan? Do they form social bonds? A several-year doctoral project to answer those questions grew incrementally into a multi-decade research career that predominantly focusses on kinship, reproduction, and sexual differences in the behavioural ecology of Richardson’s ground squirrels.
Gail Michener’s goal in her PUBlic Professor Series presentation is to answer the questions you never thought to ask about Richardson’s ground squirrels.
FREE. Everyone welcome. No RSVP required. Due to COVID-19, delivery details for this talk are pending. We will update this page when we have more details.