Double congratulations to Jamie

28 04 2016

Today, Jamie had a paper accepted (the Developmental Psychobiology one initially rejected and only reconsidered after we appealed) AND got nominated by the college for a Governor General Medal! (Each college chooses their best candidate from the nominees put forward by their departments, and then the uni picks one to get it… so … fingers crossed ’til that final stage).

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It’s official: Cats NEED boxes

28 04 2016

My terrific colleague Claudia published on this last month, and got much deserved attention from the science media (e.g. this and this). She and her team found that cats put in a quarantine facility adjusted to their conditions faster, and became friendlier to humans faster, if they had a box to hide in.

Meanwhile, I resolved to wean Sylvie off an ugly Amazon box she adopted with such gusto at Christmas that we hadn’t the heart to get rid of it. Operation Boxectomy began with finding a more aesthetically-pleasing basket of about the same dimensions, and moving into it the crinkly Amazon packing paper she also loves. After a couple of days, Sylvie  had adopted it (below), and a couple of days after that, the box on the left quietly vanished…



Alexandra’s fledglings

28 04 2016

Alexandra‘s first Guelph graduate students defended last week: Chantal LeBlanc (in the picture with me — I’m chairing — and second from the left in the second photo), and MadiIMG_0685son Kozak (in the middle of the second photo).

The pair did related projects on how young chickens navigate ramps and tiered structures, to try and work out how to design safe, easy to-use aviaries. Their very complementary (and complimentary) examiners, who spent their whole day on the back-to-back defences, were UMontana’s Bret Tobalske and HHNS’s Lori Vallis. 

IMG_0718 Read the rest of this entry »

Congratulations to Mike

28 04 2016

Mike just got his first first-authored paper in (reviewing how to avoid false positive and false negative results when running analyses). My grad students really don’t need me at all!

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Congratulations to Andrea!

23 04 2016

Andrea‘s first ever sole-authored paper is now out, in AABS!  It’s based on the ‘Tinbergen’s four whys’ approach we use in ANSC*4090, and is a very good read:

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Certified ethical!

22 04 2016

Just finished my federal ‘Course on Research Ethics‘ training. Took a while, but it was surprisingly interesting (and new for me). I need this, first for Jenna’s cat faces study, which will rely on human participants, and looking to the future, for the project Walter plans to run at the University of Sussex in the autumn.

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Horizon programme on Youtube

22 04 2016

Several people have posted it up now (and here is one link of them, here another).

Not looked at the whole thing yet Screenshot 2016-04-22 12.33.36but I’m on
for a couple of minutes (!!!) at
about 21 mins in, and Ros Clubb, my former PhD student (a long long time ago!) and long-standing wildlife welfare expert in the RSPCA Science Group, is on at about 15 mins in.

BIAZA’s response to Horizon documentary

21 04 2016

Here, the UK zoo community responds to the Horizon programme. I think their points are pretty reasonable. But they don’t say whether using zoos is an efficient way to achieve these same ends (the modern functions of zoos are essentially retro-fitted, post hoc, onto collections originally created for entertainment). Nor do they acknowledge that several UK zoos (e.g. London) were asked to be involved in this documentary, all those months ago when it was being shot, but said no….

Balloons no good, beachballs better

21 04 2016

The balloons were deflating (which gave them less bounce). Beach balls prove to be better deflectors for pinging ‘hen treats’ off…

New study on social isolation and lethal disease risks

20 04 2016

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Adding to our lab’s interests in how poor well-being hastens senescence, illness and death: sad new work was published this week on human loneliness and its effects on heart disease and stroke.