November 24th 2014 – Steve Portugal, Royal Holloway

Steve PortugalI’m a comparative ecophysiologist working at London’s Royal Holloway University. My research is located at the interface of the physiology, sensory ecology and behaviour of vertebrates. The common theme of my work focuses on how animals adapt their behaviour and ecology to the challenges of their environment, within the constraints of their own physiological and anatomical limitations. Such questions are particularly important in the light of global environmental change and exploitation of natural resources. I am particularly interested in the extreme athletes of the animal kingdom – the long-distance migratory birds. I want to know how they cope with such intense exercise, what happens to their bodies before and during these mammoth flights, and what behavioural and physiological mechanisms they deploy to prepare for these events. I am also fascinated by bird navigation, particularly how groups and flocks of birds potentially work together to improve their abilities to get home and/or learn new migration routes. Other interests include bird vision and the ramifications this has for windfarm developments, and the aggression physiology of the amazing Siamese Fighting Fish. ​