Voodoo science

21 09 2012

voodoo

This is our attempt to clean male minks’ penis bones by mixing them with maggotty poop from a local farm. It really is possibly the most disgusting thing we have ever done (but we’re hoping that in 2-3 weeks we’ll have nice clean bones to rank for proximal process development, a marker of lifetime testosterone levels).





People sometimes ask why we work on mink…

14 09 2012

…does this help?





International food party!

14 09 2012

We had our long-planned international food party at my house last Friday night. The challenge was to bring food or drink from your home country, vegan if possible. It was really good fun (went on way past my and Jonathan’s bedtimes!) This is my one feeble attempt to take a photo.

MENU:
Trinidadian rum cocktails from Jamie and Liana, plus British Twiglets for the two of us that like them (me and Maria)

Gaspacho from Maria, Spanish omelette from Walter (vegan, amazingly!), very Canadian antohitos from Tara (again, vegan: how did she do it?!), and Gwen’s superb corn chowder (US).

Beer and curry-with-all-the-trimmings from me (no this is not cheating, it’s British!), and lovely French wine from Carole.

Two Canadian deserts — beaver tails from Mike and Alyssa, and butter tarts from Becky — plus a Swiss dark chocolate cake that I’m still dreaming about from Misha.

PS Twiglets: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHbpTrFPc7Y





Rats

7 09 2012

Rat cartoon





Farewell to Dana

4 09 2012

Dr. Dana Campbell worked as a post doc in the lab for about a year (testing the hypotheses that enriched-reared male mink are less perseverative, and therefore more attractive to females), but at the weekend left to take up a poultry welfare post doc at MSU. We had a cocktail-laced goodbye do for her on Thursday, which was so much fun I forgot to take photos.





36 papers a year?

3 09 2012

We submitted three in the month of August anyway!

Providing elevated ‘getaway bunks’ to nursing mink dams improves their health and welfare. Lauren Dawson, Misha Buob, Derek Haley, Steve Miller, Judy Stryker, Margaret Quinton, Georgia Mason. Submitted to Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

Environmentally enriched rearing environments reduce repetitive perseveration in caged mink, while increasing spontaneous alternation. Dana Campbell, Jamie Dallaire, Georgia Mason. Subm. to Behavioural Brain Research.

Environmental enrichment reduces signs of boredom in caged mink. Rebecca K. Meagher, Georgia J. Mason. Submitted to PLOS One.