Sue and Andy do wildlife doc

Hello from the Albertan Rockies, where Sue, Georgina and I are here for the hummingbird fieldwork season. Whilst the team get the birds sorted out and trained up, Sue and her long-time collaborator Andy Hurly from the University of Lethbridge have been hosting a wildlife film crew, filming a documentary about animal cognition in the wild for the prestigious The Nature of Things wildlife series. Sue and Andy have been interviewed about their research, and the film-makers filmed one of the male rufous hummingbirds doing a “timing” experiment, where they learn the re-fill rates of artificial flowers and time their visits accordingly (it’s pretty cool – see Henderson et al 2006, Current Biology). Most excitingly of all, the film crew brought a camera that can film at 1500 frames per second, generating some amazing slow motion footage of the hummingbirds feeding. The show should air late autumn in Canada, and we will keep our eyes peeled for it making UK screens sometime after that. Until then, here are some pictures of their visit.

Sue and Andy take direction for web

Here Sue and Andy prepare for their on-screen interview.

Sue on camera for web

Sue explaining the ins and outs of hummingbird cognition to camera.

Ground squirrel for web

Meanwhile, a ground squirrel wonders what all the fuss is about.

Sue and Andy on camera for web

Sue and Andy are filmed setting up the experiment.

The whole team for webMaria, Freya and HS camera crew for web

It takes quite a team to get that winning shot, while Maria and Freya help the slow-mo team.

The team check out the footage, although the red-winged blackbirds are less impressed…

Is that a wrap for webRed-winged blackbird for web

Fellowship Opportunities

We are always very keen to help potential fellowship applicants who would like to work alongside us in the Insect Behavioural Ecology Lab. Please get in touch if you would be interested in applying for a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA): Individual Fellowship (IF). Details below.

Individual Fellowships are aimed at individual fellows who already have a doctorate or equivalent research experience. They help experienced researchers to advance their careers and gain new skills through advanced training, international mobility, and optional intersectoral secondments. European Fellowships are held in Member States and are open to researchers either coming to Europe or moving within Europe. Global Fellowships are based on a secondment to a third country and a compulsory 12 month return phase in a European host organisation. The call deadline is 14 September 2016.

The UK Research Office (UKRO) is holding an information event in London for organisations interested in applying to the 2016 MSCA Individual Fellowships (IF). The event is co-organised with the University of Greenwich, where the event will take place on 27 May 2016. The event aims to provide participants with an overview of the Individual Fellowships scheme. Participants should gain a clear understanding of the proposal format and the key considerations related to planning, writing and submitting proposals. Registration for the event is now open.

For further information and more programs on Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions (MSCA), click here.

Nottingham student wildlife photos

A great portfolio of wildlife photography from University of Nottingham Masters students is showcased in today’s Guardian:

Nottingham has a long history of teaching photography to biologists, right back (ahem…) from when I was a PhD student in the mid-90s, led by Russell Beck, who I once spent a great day with, hunting for emerging tipulid pupae in a Portugese heath-land. Well, it takes all sorts. Happy memories.

Details of the current MSc course in Biological Photogrpahy can be found here:

Congratulations to Gav Ballantyne

Great news about our friend and long-time collaborator Gav Ballantyne – he’s just accepted a lectureship at Napier University. Gav and Dave first worked together when Gav was an undergraduate in the summer of 2005, getting the bug system up and running, and we’ve been on a couple of papers together, on both bugs and wasps. Brilliant news and I’m sure Gav will be an inspirational lecturer and mentor.