So apparently, there’s an EU directive on its way that will (among other things) prevent us from using wild animals for experiments. The reason for this is that there is evidence that wild animals suffer more from the stress than do captive bred animals. I suppose this makes sense, as a hand reared bird, for instance or a laboratory mouse are much less afraid of humans than their wild counterparts, so all handling will certainly be less stressful for them (especially if you use low stress handling methods). However, the following article questions the difference in stress caused by other things than handling.
So, do you know whale sharks? They’re massive sharks right out of a horror movie like Jaws… except they eat plankton. I think they’re amazing. You’d think the only reason that they’re called whale sharks is their massive size, but considering what they eat, it’s obvious they also have other things in common with whales (baleen whales, anyway).
de la Parra Venegas R, Hueter R, González Cano J, Tyminski J, Gregorio Remolina J, et al. (2011) An Unprecedented Aggregation of Whale Sharks, Rhincodon typus, in Mexican Coastal Waters of the Caribbean Sea. PLoS ONE 6(4): e18994. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0018994
Although whale sharks are generally solitary animals, you can sometimes find groups of them in areas with high concentration of zooplankton. These groups usually consist of dozens of whale sharks. However, it turns out there are some places where loads of them will gather, and the Gulf of Mexico (more precisely the waters around Read more…
This will be a quick one as I’ve been rather busy this weekend. There will possibly be a longer one about starlings later in the week or on Sunday.
Zimmer C, Boos M, Bertrand F, Robin J-P, Petit O (2011) Behavioural Adjustment in Response to Increased Predation Risk: A Study in Three Duck Species. PLoS ONE 6(4): e18977. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0018977
Zimmer et al. wanted to find out if adaptations in behavioural budgets as a response to predation were really as simple as “eat less and be more vigilant” so they scared three different species of ducks with a radio controlled car. These were captive ducks reared at farms and they always had food available in their enclosures, which makes the study slightly limited in applicability to the wild. However, so long as this is kept in mind, there is definitely Read more…
I’ve just come back from The ASAB Easter meeting and have been recovering ever since it ended on Thursday. It was a great experience and I feel I learned a lot and gained so many good things from going. Not least the opportunity of speaking to other conference goers and presenting my first scientific talk at a conference. The Easter meeting is good for newbies (although I’ve been at one other one. That was UFAW a few years back), because it’s specifically for post graduates, so it’s not as intimidating as some of the other conferences. This doesn’t mean Read more…
One would think that it was helpful for birds to recognise their own offspring. Accidentally raising someone else’s would be a waste of energy and wouldn’t ensure the survival of their own genes. So what’s up with the zebra finches? (citation below)
Reers et al. had noticed that their zebra finches tended to feed not just their own young but others as well. They thought this was quite odd as voice recognition is quite well developed in zebra finches. So they decided to find out what was up.
They recorded the call of fledgling finches and played it back to their parents Read more…
I’m going to give a talk at the ASAB Easter meeting in a week’s time (ASAB is “The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour”). I’m quite excited and nervous even though I know it’s not like a big international conference or anything. I just haven’t really done this before outside of a class room.
I managed to create a rather poor poster for the Post Grad Symposium here at Leeds, so I hope I’ll do better on the talk. I mean… Surely I can’t make a complete mess of it, can I?
Either way, I’m really looking forward to ASAB, because it looks like a really nice line up of speakers talking about animal behaviour in various different ways. Also, my friend Carly is bringing a poster on her really exciting cheetah project. Should be some good times ahead 🙂