3rd April 2017 – Caroline Bettridge, Manchester Metropolitan University

Caroline BettridgeI’m a senior lecturer in Behavioural Ecology at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK.  My main research interests are in the social behaviours of mammals, including how flexible behaviour is, how animals respond to the environment they are living in and how an animal’s behaviour increases its survival or reproductive success.  My current research focuses on a species of African nocturnal primate – the northern lesser bushbaby, and white rhinoceros. In the past I’ve also used modelling approaches to investigate elements of primate behaviour and human evolution.  I do a lot of fieldwork, mostly in East Africa, and also take project students out to the field each year.  I also teach on a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses related to behavioural biology, and I currently supervise two PhD students.

I’ve always had a passion for wildlife and I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to pursue a career in this field.  It hasn’t always been a direct route, and I took a few years after my undergraduate degree in Zoology, to earn some money and gain some field experience before returning to studying.  I completed my DPhil at Oxford University, UK in the Institute for Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, and then did a short teaching fellowship at Lancaster University before starting at my current department.

During my week on biotweeps I’ll probably chat about my behavioural ecology research, as well as some of the work my students are involved in; fieldwork; and my experience of being in academia – including some of the other elements of my job outside of research and teaching.

Outside of work a lot of my time revolves around my high maintenance dog, Huxley a French bulldog cross, and I generally enjoy exploring the outdoors and new places.  I’m on Twitter @CMBettridge.

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3rd of October 2016 – Kelly O’Connor, Archbold Biological Station

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I’m a wildlife biologist with a masters in Natural Resources Conservation from the University of Connecticut, and a research background focusing on wildlife-habitat relationships and non-game species conservation. I’m a research assistant at Archbold Biological Station, a non-profit research organization located in the Lake Wales Ridge region of Florida. In partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Department of Defense, I’m part of a team studying gopher tortoises on a large military installation in central Florida, specifically population dynamics of tortoises across different habitat types, and occupancy of juvenile gopher tortoises.

Outside of research, I love to be outdoors with camera in hand. Expect lots of pictures from the field, as well as a look at what other kinds of research are being done at Archbold (there’s a lot!), and thoughts on navigating the first year out of grad school. 

You can follow me after Biotweeps @kmoconnor8, or at kellymoconnor.weebly.com

11th April 2016 – Asia Murphy, Virginia Tech

Asia MurphyI starting my PhD at Pennsylvania State University in Fall 2016, to work on the one species I swore I would never work on: white-tailed deer. Luckily, the project is focused on figuring out how carnivore presence on the landscape influences their mortality, so the ‘deerness’ is diluted.
My true interests lie in tropical rainforests and studying the population ecology and interspecific interactions of understudied species that can be camera-trapped. My Master’s research was a data hotdog, taken from the dregs of a PhD student’s project in Madagascar, and focused on lemurs, small mammals, ground-dwelling birds, and the largest native carnivore in Madagascar: the fosa. Madagascar remains close to my heart, and I hope to go back one day to put GPS collars on fosa to study their movements across the landscape (and to touch one in the wild).
Above all, I love being anatiala or inside the forest. Field work was and remains my draw to wildlife conservation.
If you want more information about what I do and what I’ve done, check out my website: anatiala.com
If you want to follow my constant tweeting and retweeting, follow me @am_anatiala

18th January 2016 – British Ornithologists’ Union

IBIS avatarThis week the BOU (@IBIS_journal) has lined up a series of ornithology tweeps to discuss a different avian science topic each day. Look out for free IBIS content linked to from tweets which will only be available during this BOU ornithology Biotweeps week!

IBIS_Dan BeckerMonday, 18 January | Avian health and disease
Dan Becker | @danjbecker | University of Georgia, US

Dan is a PhD candidate at the University of Georgia, where he studies infectious disease dynamics, particularly of zoonoses. He is interested in how changes to food resources of wildlife (whether these are acorn masts or supplemental feeding) interact with host ecology to shift infection outcomes. He dabbles in mathematical modeling and fieldwork, the latter focused on vampire bats and livestock intensification in Latin America.

Today Dan will be posting about avian infectious disease, but expect at least a few related to health benefits and costs of bird feeding. Dan’s personal website is danieljbecker.weebly.com.

IBIS_Tom EvansTuesday, 19 January | Avian tracking
Tom Evans | @ThomasEvans | Lund University, Sweden

Tom is a British biologist based at Lund University in Sweden. His PhD work is focussed on the movement ecology of seabirds, which I study with GPS and other technologies.

Today Tom will be discussing avian tracking and the fantastic insights new technologies have given scientists into the lives of birds. We are learning of extraordinary trans-oceanic migrations by shorebirds flying 10,000 kilometres non-stop from Alaska to New Zealand, of aerial insect eating birds spending 9 months in the air without landing, and of geese migrating across the Himalayas reaching altitudes of 7,000 metres.

 

IBIS_Nino OHanlonWednesday, 20 Janaury | Seabird ecology
Nino O’Hanlon | @Nina_OHanlon | University of Glasgow, UK & Sjúrður Hammer | @sjurdur | University of Glasgow, UK

IBIS_Sjúrður HammerNina and Sjúrður are PhD students at the University of Glasgow (@UofGlasgow) supervised by Ruedi
Nager. Nina is a looking at spatial variation in herring gull traits and demography, and whether Herring Gulls can be used as Sjurdur portrait indicators of coastal marine environments. Sjúrður is mainly interested in great skua breeding ecology in the Faroe Islands, pollution monitoring – both with regards to marine plastic and Persistent Organic Pollutants. They both share a particular research interest in seabird eggs – oology – and what they can potentially reveal about seabird ecology and pollutant.

 

IBIS_Richard FaceyThursday, 21 January | Weather and fecundity
Richard Facey | @faceyrj | Cardiff University, UK

Rich has worked in nature conservation for 13 years, going part-time as a Conservation Officer for Natural Resources Wales, in order to become a part-time postgraduate student at Cardiff University. His research interests are predominately focused on how organisms adapt to changing environments – be that from climate change or urban expansion – with an emphasis on weather and fecundity. In 2013 he enrolled as a part-time post graduate student at Cardiff University. His thesis examines the impact of local weather variation on the seasonal fecundity of Swallows Hirundo rustica and the decisions they make to overcome those impacts.

 

IBIS_Kate PlummerFriday, 22 January | Urban birds
Kate Plummer | @_KatePlummer | BTO, UK & Co-Organiser of #BOU2016 Urban Birds conference

Kate is a Research Ecologist at the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO – @_BTO) with a passion for urban ecology. Her research focuses on human-wildlife interactions in urban areas, and she’ll be tweeting some interesting facts and figures about urban birds – what shapes urban bird communities, how are birds adapting to live in our rapidly changing cities, and why might interacting with urban birds be beneficial for human well-being? If these questions interest you as much as they do me, then check out our upcoming BOU conference. You can find out more about Kate and her research here or on twitter @_KatePlummer.

December 14th – Connel Bradwell, Nottingham Trent University

Connel BradwellI am a British/Canadian wildlife educator based in Victoria, British Columbia and Leicestershire, UK.

Growing up I always had a keen interest in the natural world, and began volunteering with my local conservation group aged 12. At university I studied BSc Wildlife Conservation at Nottingham Trent University, graduating in 2013.  Whilst at university I spent a year on Vancouver Island in Canada, interning in killer whale research, looking at the impact boats had on the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales found off Vancouver Island. This experience gave me the opportunity to do my own research, looking into the effects of boat distance on killer whale behaviour, which I used for my dissertation in the final year of university. After this I began working in environmental education, firstly in Vancouver and then in the UK during my final year of university.

After university I took up employment with an environmental education charity based in Victoria, BC, building their new education programs across Vancouver Island. I now educate thousands of children and adults about nature each year, spending time visiting schools and community centres teaching people all about local wildlife species, habitat, natural history and much more. Whilst promoting the importance of nature. As well as this I continue to work in the field, and am involved in a local bird banding/ringing charity, spending time banding birds for science, in order to track population numbers, migration routes and general health of the population. I spend the rest of my time hiking across Vancouver Island, and regularly spend time in my local patch watching the birds, this year I set up a wildlife blog, and use to discuss wildlife in my local area, as well as debate and look at wildlife news and research.

November 30th 2015 – Janet Ng, University of Alberta

Janet NgI’m a PhD Candidate at the University of Alberta studying potential cumulative effects on Ferruginous Hawks in the Canadian Prairies. I completed my Master of Science at the University of Regina studying Common Nighthawk habitat use and home range ecology. After finishing my masters, I worked as an environmental consultant and then as an environmental educator in Saskatchewan.

Most of my work has mainly focused on birds, but I’ve been bitten and scratched by other animals too.  Red squirrels drew the most blood, but I was most surprised by the tiger salamander bite.  My research interests gravitate towards understanding how human land use and development can potentially affect wildlife.  I’m not anti-development, but I think it’s important to document true impacts and work towards avoiding, reducing, and mitigating those impacts.

My current research focuses on whether different types of land use, such as agriculture and industrial development, influence where hawks choose to live and how successfully they can nest.  Ferruginous Hawks are an endangered species, so being able to predict where they live, how environmental change can affect them, and what actions can improve their conservation and recovery is critical.

I use GIS for spatial analyses and use a variety of remote sensing products to describe the landscape.  I develop ecological models using a variety of statistical techniques and I’ve also been improving my database skills to work more efficiently with big data.

When attempting work-life balance, I enjoy walking my dog, outdoor photography, and sleeping in a tent. I still volunteer some of my time doing environmental outreach and work with Let’s Talk Science a few times a year.  You can usually find me with a cup of coffee in hand, whether in the field or in the office working on data.

October 26th 2015 – James Common, University of Cumbria

James CommonI am a 22 year old naturalist, conservationist and birder with a degree in BSc Conservation Science courtesy of the University of Cumbria. Growing up in rural Northumberland, wildlife has formed a huge part of my life since a very early age and at present I am working to turn my passion into a sustainable career. To date I have gained experience in both conservation and ecology and have developed a skill set ranging from ecological surveying to public engagement and practical habitat management, though who knows what the future might hold! In addition I possess a monumental interest in wildlife writing and to date have contributed to the blogs of many organisations, as well as local newspapers and have long kept a fairly popular natural history blog. Elsewhere my other interests include public and youth engagement, biological recording, photography (all be it at an amateur level) and of course, the perpetual learning curve that is ecology.

Being a naturalist is all about learning and at present I am learning something new and exciting on a daily basis. During my week on Biotweeps I will aim showcase these discoveries alongside interesting encounters that take place that week. I will also touch up on certain aspects of my academic career, my dissertation focussing on Otter diet, birding, my motivations looking towards a career in conservation and my thoughts on everything from the “youth conservation movement” to the stereotyping of nature lovers in our schools.

You can find me on Twitter at @CommonByNature and located my personal blog at www.commonbynature.co.uk. I also regularly contribute to Wildlife Articles.co.uk and can be found on LinkedIN.