Friday 30 August 2019

Wallace Coffee Talks - 3 September 2019

Wallace Coffee Talks - Summer 2019 
3 September - 1pm - Zoology Museum

Welfare benefits of physical activity and microalgal feed supplementation in Zebrafish (Danio rerio)
Using exercise & diet interventions to ID whether we can advance aquaculture farming procedures sustainably whilst keeping animal welfare the main priority.

Paul Deacon (Swansea University, UK)

To Leap or not to Leap: A minnow story.
Investigation into the effects of river fragmentation, on the non-migratory species European minnow (Phoxinus phoxinus). How does group size and time of day effect movements over barriers?

Ben Nichols (Swansea University, UK)
Comparative study on the effect of algae biostimulants on chilli peppers (Capsicum Annum)
Algae shows promise to become a renewable and non toxic material to stimulate plant growth.  Master student Ben Nichols will discuss how different algae strains affected the growth of cayenne chili peppers

Gina Lewis (Swansea University, UK)
My year in industry: an insight into the use of molecular genetic techniques to study animal behaviour
Having completed the first month of my ‘Year in Industry’, assisting Dr Hazel Nichols with her research into sociality in the banded mongoose, I’d like to share a bit about my experience so far and the research that I am getting involved with.

Thursday 15 August 2019

Wallace Coffee Talks - 20 August 2019

Wallace Coffee Talks - Summer 2019 
20 August - 12pm - Zoology Museum

Ground reaction force patterns in human vertical jumping
What can be learned from human movement that may be applicable to the study of animal movement patterns? I would like to share some of the new techniques that are being developed in the field of human biomechanics that may be applicable to the study of animal movement patterns. Sports biomechanics focuses on maximising human performance. In professional team sports, such as football and rugby, players’ fitness and training development are monitored on a regular basis. One of the most important tests is the standing vertical jump, a countermovement jump, since jump height and peak power output are so well correlated with other athletic tests, such as sprints. The ground reaction force provides an excellent recording of how the jump is executed. Traditionally, scientists have focused on discrete points on the curve but recently interest has turned to the patterns and shape of the curve itself. Using functional principal component analysis and regression models I will show the critical importance for performance of a final peak in the ground reaction force immediately before take-off and how arm swing helps enhance it. I will share how understanding these patterns is the basis for my next step in research that will analysis patterns from accelerometer signals to re-create the ground reaction forces. This has the potential for accelerometers to replace expense force platforms for field-based testing.

The multiple dimensions of biodiversity – human interest relationships
Activities involving observation of wild organisms (e.g. wildlife watching, tidepooling) can provide recreational and learning opportunities, with biologically diverse animal assemblages expected to be more stimulating to humans. Here we explore whether having more animals in an ecosystem that we can view really does drive more human interest, and if so what is it about more diverse communities that we find so interesting?

Friday 9 August 2019

Wallace Coffee Talks - 13 August 2019

Wallace Coffee Talks - Summer 2019 
13 August - 1pm - Zoology Museum

Effects of recent social context on cortisol responses in three-spined stickleback fish (Gasterosteus aculeatus)
Interactions with other individuals occur frequently within groups of animals and can influence individuals’ hormonal responses. When exposed to new, potentially stressful environments, an individual’s stress response can be activated; and interactions with conspecifics give us the opportunity to explore the potential bidirectional influence of both partners’ physiological stress response (i.e. ‘coregulation’). Current research into cortisol coregulation, however, usually involves familiar (or even closely related) individuals and it remains unknown whether familiarity is required for coregulation to occur. In this talk I will discuss how the recent social context (house solitarily and tested with unfamiliar partner; housed socially and tested with either a familiar or unfamiliar partner) affected changes in waterborne cortisol concentrations in response to a novel (potentially stressful) environment in three-spined stickleback fish (Gasterosteus aculeatus) dyads.

Mixotrophy: Why we need a change of perspective on marine plankton
For over a century marine plankton and the food web therein have been largely viewed as a clean dichotomy between autotrophs and heterotrophs. A view that is mostly inspired by the food webs that we find on land and are divided between plants and animals. In terrestrial ecosystems, mixotrophs that can be both phototroph and heterotroph like the venus fly trap seem to be rare curiosities, which are at most mentioned as a side note and usually don’t find their way in to food web models. But is this also true for marine ecosystems and if not, what are the implications?