Ready to film!

10 06 2018

Here are 16 cameras, meticulously set up by the fabulous Aileen, and cobbled together from a handful I had already, five borrowed from Lee, and 8 bought for Andrea’s primate project.

We’re replicating a small study Emma and Aimee did at the very start of their programmes, to see if the presence of people watching mice alters their behaviour. This is an essential step for validating live scoring, and yet no-one had ever done it before (not least as it’s super dull, labour-intensive work). Our last attempt got rejected for being under-powered (reasonably enough, I have to admit), so this is us getting ready to wade back in and do it all again.


3 06 2018

Getting proofs back can be a mixed experience: usually exciting, but sometimes a cause of tonne of unnerving work trying to explain how to unmangle painfully-screwed up tables (AABS’s speciality). Happily Animal Behaviour falls firmly into the former camp, not least because they have a dedicated style editor, Kris Bruner. So it was a joy to read Andrea’s new proofs today!

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A good day for papers

8 04 2018

At long last the magnificent Emma and I resubmitted our Zoo Biology MS. We took an insane 11 months to revise it; the comments came in just before we each took turns to be really busy, we had to totally rejig the explanation of why control for phylogeny, and we also having had a really unpleasant referee (one who called me a liar: that’s a first) which demoralised the hell out of us. But we think it’s pretty good now.

Screenshot 2018-04-08 09.24.17

And Mike and I had a paper accepted by Physiology & Behaviour! This is my first ever publication in that journal, and it has a decent impact factor so I’m pleased.

Screenshot 2018-04-08 09.35.14


We hate your paper, but we’ll probably accept it

11 01 2018

Two papers from the lab came back from journals in the last month, both with fairly harsh editors’ letters.  “Thus, I must reject your manuscript”, intoned the one from Animal Behaviour, while “The reviewers raised some major concerns” tutted the one from Physiology and Behaviour

Yet both allowed re-submission, and in both cases the referees’ comments were easy to address (sensible, helpful, and mainly stylistic).  This type of presentation of ‘minor revisions’ as ‘major revisions’ or even rejection seems increasingly common. And it’s disheartening for possibly judgement-biased students, who dwell on the critical wording of the letter rather than the often-quite-easy tasks set within it (Andrea was convinced this was one for our anti-CVs!).  But really, in the end it’ll be good news for us I think.

First paper of the year!

10 01 2018


An experiment I was involved in as one of Michelle Hunniford’s committee members is now in press! The aim was to see if hens’ preferences for different nesting surfaces could be outweighed by whether or not the area was enclosed (a known preference), in a kind of titration. But the hens did not understand what we were trying to do. For a start they didn’t have stable surface preferences: their favourite surface varied according to whether nests were open or closed – very strange. Then when formerly unenclosed laying areas became enclosed or vice versa, they just followed the enclosure: it over-rode everything in a fairly simple way.

Screenshot 2018-01-09 22.24.59

The whole publication process happened in record-quick time too.

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Play paper published with no-one getting hurt

22 12 2017

The curse seems to be over, and the paper I think came out well in the end.

Screenshot 2017-12-22 08.45.56

Boredom-like states in mink – again!

28 10 2017

Me and Becky’s boredom replicate study, achieved (a while ago now) thanks to Dana and some of her data from her last experiment here. is now out, along with a nice freebie link good ’til Dec. 15th:

Screenshot 2017-10-27 21.24.00

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And I should mention this great review paper on boredom too, published by Charlotte Burn a couple of months ago:

Screenshot 2017-10-27 21.28.17