Field trip in Catalunya

Observations of schooling Mediterranean barbel

Last week I was in Catalunya visiting friends and family and some undistracted paper writing. Catalunya, where my wife grew up, is an amazing place and feels like a second home to me. With the Mediterranean sea and the Pyrenean mountains within half an hour’s drive, there is always a lot to explore.

Hiking up the beautiful Gorge of Sadernes, Catalunya.

Hiking up the beautiful Gorge of Sadernes, Catalunya.

During some recent trips, I went hiking in the Pyrenean foothills and discovered schools of Mediterranean barbel (Barbus meridionalis). They seemed to be separate populations living in semi-isolated pools of a small mountain river. This species of Barbus is only native to a small area in and around the Eastern Pyrenees. Sadly, in recent years its numbers have plummeted with 30% (source: IUCN), highlighting an urgent need to better understand their ecology and vulnerabilities.

A shoal of Mediterranean barbel foraging on limestone rocks.

A shoal of Mediterranean barbel foraging on limestone rocks.

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Featured on German television

Yesterday our research at the Department of Collective Behaviour was featured in a half hour show on the German television: “Schwarmverhalten – Die Intelligenz der Vielen“. You can see the full program below or at this link. My postdoc supervisor Iain Couzin is featured from 01:18 and I make my appearance at 06:44.

Fische, Ameisen, Heuschrecken: Schwärme verhalten sich schlau, ohne, dass die einzelnen Tiere besonders intelligent sind. Der Schwarm ist die Intelligenz der Vielen. Können Menschen auch Schwarmverhalten nutzen – und Roboter?

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Reviews 2016

This year I did my best to give back to the academic community and peer reviewed 10+ papers for a range of journals, including Behavioral Ecology, Scientific Reports, and Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology.

MSc lecture

talk-individual-differencesToday I gave a one hour lecture for the Masters Course ‘Collective Behaviour’, here at the University of Konstanz, where I talked about the role of individual differences in the behaviour of animal groups.

Submitted von Humboldt Fellowship

alexander-thumbToday I submitted a grant application for an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, entitled The ecological and evolutionary implications of individual differences in collective behaviour. The goal of the proposed project is to develop an interdisciplinary research program to investigate the link between consistent behavioural variation, the emergence of collective properties, group functioning, and ultimately individual fitness and between-group dynamics. I am very excited about this project and have started to lay the foundations for it here in Konstanz. Now 10 months wait ahead!

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Talk at ISBE 2016

thank-you-slide-jollesHaving a great week so far at the ISBE conference in Exeter this year. Really great collection of talks and nice to see a lot of colleagues and friends again. Today I gave a presentation about my recent work on personality differences and collective behaviour in sticklebacks.