Archive for 2013

Dec 2013: Steve Jones, slime mold, and spiders that mimic ants

This month, we leave backbones behind, for an invertebrate and protist special. I speak to Chris Reid from the the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, USA, about an ancient single cell animal that looks like a glob of luminous yellow gunge, that doesn't have a brain but may be smarter than human beings. I find out about a double deception in the animal kingdom: how an ant-mimicking spider sends misleading visual and chemical cues to different predators. And, in the scientific spark I ask Steve Jones, Emeritus Professor of genetics at University College London what made him want to be a scientist, and how he came to be one of the world’s experts on snail genetics
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An ant-mimicking spider Peckhamia image courtesy of Continis

Chris Reid's webpage
Divya Uma's paper on ant-mimicry
Steve Jones' column in the Telegraph

Thursday 5 December 2013
Posted by Hannah

Nov 2013: Nicky Clayton and clever crows, and mice that eat scorpions

Nicky Clayton joins me in this month's Beepcast, telling me what sparked her interest in bird intelligence, and how she mixes science with the art of dance. I learn about a mouse with an unusual superpower: immunity to the sting of a scorpion. I also interview Culum Brown of Macquarie University, Australia, who studies how young rainbow fish sniff out lurking predators.

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A southern grasshopper mouse eats the Arizona bark scorpion that it has just killed. Credit: Ashlee and Matthew Rowe

Culum Brown's webpage
Ashlee Rowe's webpage
Nicky Clayton's webpage
Monday 4 November 2013
Posted by Hannah

Oct 2013: Tim Birkhead, barn swallows, and coal tits who hide seeds

In October's BEEPcast Tim Birkhead tells me what ignited his interest in ornithology and sexual selection. I explore why male barn swallows don't act their age when courting females. In the third of my interviews from the Behavior 2013 conference, I speak to Tom Smulders of Newcastle University who explains what Coal tits do with unpalatable seeds.
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Barn swallows coutesy of Jim Benson

Tom Smulder's webpage
Masaru Hasegawa's paper
Tim Birkhead's webpage
Friday 4 October 2013
Posted by Hannah

Sept 2013: Amy Cuddy and power posing, honeyguides, and bower bird cognition

Amy Cuddy joins me in this month's Beepcast, telling me what ignited her interest in how people judge and influence each other. I explore the darker side of bird behaviour, looking at the sneaky tactics African honeyguides use to trick other birds into raising their young. In the second of my interviews from the Behavior 2013 conference, I speak to Jess Isden of Exeter University who explains what female bowerbirds look for in a male’s fancy display. 
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Eggs used by Claire Spottiswoode. Host = little bee-eater eggs. Control = little bee-eater egg from a different nest. Honeyguide = honeyguide egg. Experimental= egg from a completely different bird, like a dove. Image: Claire Spottiswoode

Claire Spottiswoode's paper
Jes Isden's paper
Amy Cuddy's TED talk
Wednesday 4 September 2013
Posted by Hannah

Aug 2013: Louise Barrett, peacock eye tracking, and caterpillar eyespots

In the first episode I dig into peahen perception to find out what they look for in their ideal mate. I'll also present the first of a series of interviews from the Behaviour 2013 conference. I speak to Tom Hossie from Carleton University, Canada. Plus in the Scientific Spark I ask Louise Barrett, from the University of Lethbridge in Canada, what sparked her scientific career.

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Peahen wearing eye-tracking equipment in Yorzinski et al's study.

Yorzisnki's paper
Caterpillar Eyespots: Tom Hossie's blog
More info on Louise Barrett

Wednesday 14 August 2013
Posted by Hannah

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