11th December 2017 – Joanna Berger, University of Edinburgh

Joanna BergerJoanna Berger obtained a Master of Science in Applied Animal Behavior and Animal Welfare from the University of Edinburgh, graduating with Distinction in 2016. Her dissertation research was an independent study of the effect of a novel enrichment device on the territories, social structure, and behavior of African Grey Parrots (Psittacus erithacus) at the ground-level of an aviary. Joanna has presented her dissertation research for the Animal Behavior Management Alliance Conference and for the Gateway Parrot Club. She has also given presentations on animal behavior for an ethology conference in Ecuador and multiple veterinary centers.

In January, 2016, Joanna founded the Animal Behavior Consultancy LLC. She provides in-home behavior consultations and positive reinforcement training sessions for companion animals. She also writes a regular avian behavior column for BirbObserver newsmag and shares information about pet behavior and training over Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook. Joanna’s “biology” career began when she worked part-time as a research assistant in the Edmund Brodie III Biology Lab at the University of Virginia under the supervision of Joel Grothe while she was obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Between graduating with her Psychology degree and traveling to Scotland for her Master’s studies, Joanna spent five years working as a veterinary nurse in northern Virginia at an exotics practice and a surgical center. She has attended animal training courses with Dr. Susan Friedman, Dr. Ian Dunbar and the Karen Pryor Academy. In the past year, Joanna has trained many parrots and dogs and helped many people understand animal behavior.


August 18th 2014 – Gavan Cooke, Bangor University

Gavan CookeI first fell in love with zoological sciences after quickly devouring Charles Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection’ whilst serving on the modern (and presently last) incarnation of the HMS Beagle. I then studied zoology at the University of Leeds and after a short stint in a marine biology taxonomy lab at Hull University I moved to Bangor University to complete a PhD on the behavioural ecology of cichlid fish, focusing on aggressive behaviour by males and females. Due to a long (20 years) standing interest in fishkeeping I then took up managing a large marine (75k litre) and freshwater (25k litre) research aquaria at the School of Biological Sciences, Bangor University. This facility was recently featured in a UK fish keeping magazine (Practical fishkeeping). I also carry out cuttlefish welfare and personality research, along with welfare research for other aquatic organisms, which have been sadly neglected so far. I lecture on animal welfare, cephalopod biology and other marine beasties, and I also run practicals for undergraduates. Feel free to ask me questions on fish/cephalopod behaviour and I will do my best to provide useful answers!