14th November 2016 – Indicators and Assessments Research Unit, Institute of Zoology (ZSL)

zslUnderstanding how biodiversity responds to ecosystem change is critical for effective conservation. From the behaviour and dynamics of individuals and populations to the global distribution and extinction risk of species, our research focuses on the challenges of monitoring biodiversity across these different scales.
zsl_davidMonday 14th November DAVID JACOBY @DJacoby_Marine

My research seeks to use electronic tracking devices and network analyses of animal movements to understand connectivity and grouping behaviour in ecological communities. I’m interested in how aggregation, collective movement and social interactions can fundamentally impact the persistence and vulnerability of a species, helping us to mitigate against threats. Most of my research is within the marine environment where I study the dynamics and drivers of social networks in apex marine predators such as sharks. I also have a soft spot for freshwater eels.
zsl_lpiTuesday 15th November THE LIVING PLANET INDEX @LPI_Science

The Living Planet Index (LPI) is a measure of the state of global biodiversity based on population trends of vertebrates from around the world. The Living Planet Database (LPD ) currently holds over 18,000 population time-series for more than 3,600 mammal, bird, fish, reptile and amphibian species. A small team of four is currently working on the upkeep and updates of the database and on all related analyses. The latest Living Planet Report was released at the end of October with new LPI results showing there has been an average decline of 58% in vertebrate populations between 1970 and 2012. Follow our Biotweeps takeover for an in-depth look at the report and updates on the rest of our work.
zsl_robinWednesday 16th November ROBIN FREEMAN @Robin_Freeman

I’m the Head of the Indicators and Assessments Unit. My research spans many disciplines from understanding the status and trends of global biodiversity, the creation of new kinds of technology for monitoring and tracking animals in the wild, to remote fieldwork utilising those technologies and new methods for analysing and interpreting the data we are now able to collect.
zsl_nrlThursday 17th November NATIONAL RED LIST @NationalRedList

The National Red List Project collates the conservation status of species across a large number of taxonomic groups, much like the internationally recognised IUCN Red List, but on a regional or national scale. This means that the red lists can be readily incorporated into national biodiversity strategies and action plans and can inform local or national conservation, development and planning processes. Here in Indicators & Assessments, 220,411 species assessments from 161 countries and regions worldwide have been uploaded to our database. We recently received a huge influx of red lists to be processed, which will keep our team of four quite busy for a while!
zsl_monikaFriday 18th November MONIKA BOHM @MonniKaboom

I am primarily researching how we can use extinction risk as an indicator of species’ status and trends over time – which means I get to work with the IUCN Red List and on a large number of different species groups. My personal favourites: reptiles, freshwater molluscs, butterflies and dung beetles! I am also interested in climate change vulnerability of species, biodiversity monitoring in general, capacity building for conservation and science communication & public outreach. Expect a mixture of all of the above during my Biotweeps takeover!
zsl_pieroSaturday 19th November PIERO VISCONTI @pvisconbio

My research focus is in predicting future distribution, population trends and extinction risk of terrestrial vertebrates under future global change scenarios. I am also interested in understanding early warning signals of changes in ecosystem function. Expect lots of tweets talking about the future!

August 25th 2014 – John R. Hutchinson, Royal Veterinary College

The text below is taken from John’s staff bio page at the RVC:

JohnHutchinsonI’m a biologist originally from the USA who now resides in the UK as a dual citizen. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology at the University of Wisconsin in 1993, then obtained my PhD in Integrative Biology at the University of California (Berkeley) with Kevin Padian in 2001, and rounded out my training with a two-year National Science Foundation bioinformatics Postdoctoral Fellow at the Biomechanical Engineering Division of Stanford University with Scott Delp.

I started at the RVC as a Lecturer in Evolutionary Biomechanics in 2003 in the Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences, and I was promoted to Reader in 2008, then Professor in 2011. My interests are in the evolutionary biomechanics of locomotion, especially in large terrestrial vertebrates. I’ve studied birds, extinct dinosaurs and their relatives, elephants, and crocodiles. See the sidebar for more about my research, team, publications and external collaborations/memberships.

I am an Associate Editor for Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biological Sciences), and the new open access journal PeerJ journal. From September 2012-2013 I was a Senior Research Fellow funded by the Royal Society Leverhulme Trust. I have won the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology’s Romer Prize (2000), am an elected Fellow of the Linnean Society and Society of Biology, and was awarded the Charles Darwin lecture at the British Science Festival in 2012 as well as the RCVS Share Jones Lecture in Veterinary Anatomy in 2011. I am an executive committee member in the International Society for Vertebrate Morphology. I was an external examiner for the University of Manchester’s MRes programme in Biomechanics, and frequently advise my own MSc students in the RVC’s Wild Animal Biology programme, or can supervise MRes projects (contact me to discuss).

My team’s current research projects include:

  • The biomechanics and pathology of mammalian feet.
  • The locomotor biomechanics and ontogeny of chickens; also emus and other birds.
  • The evolution of terrestrial locomotion in early tetrapods .
  • Locomotor evolution in dinosaurs (including Tyrannosaurus and birds), crocodiles, elephants, giraffes and other groups .
  • The evolution and biomechanics of sesamoid (tendon-anchoring) bones in vertebrate limbs.

Science communication is a major priority for my team’s work– science is fun, inspiring, and vital to society –and we like to share the joy! I use Twitter (@JohnRHutchinson) and my personal blog “What’s in John’s Freezer?” to help further this goal. Additionally, my team’s research is frequently featured in the international media, having been covered in hundreds of print/web stories since 2002. An example of my online work is The Conversation UK’s popular blog article “The science of anatomy is undergoing a revival”.

I was a consultant on Theropod Biomechanics at the American Museum of Natural History’s “Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries” (12 May 2005-January 2006) exhibit, now travelling to other museums. I am the Chief Paleontology Advisor for the wonderfully interactive “Be the Dinosaur” exhibit currently touring museums in the USA: http://www.bethedinosaur.com

I have been featured in at least 9 TV documentaries since 2004, including T. rex: Warrior or Wimp? (2004; BBC2), The Truth About Killer Dinosaurs (2005; BBC1; Dinosaur Face-Off in USA), Evolutions- Dino Turkey (2008; National Geographic Channel), Dino Gangs (2011; Discovery Channel), How to Build a Dinosaur (2011; BBC4), Nature Shock (Giraffe) (2013; Channel 5 and Smithsonian), Secrets of Bones (2 episodes, 2014; BBC4), Fossil Wonderlands (2014; BBC4), episodes of Discovery Channel-Canada’s Daily Planet, and other programmes worldwide. I also was a featured researcher in 2 episodes (elephant, crocodile) of documentary Inside Nature’s Giants BAFTA-award winning programme (Channel 4 UK; also National Geographic Channel’s Raw Anatomy) and have been a regular consultant for this and other documentaries (frequent requests; often paid in official role).