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.
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.
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?
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. ∞
Today 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. ∞
Today 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!
Having 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. ∞
Today I gave a talk at the yearly SEB conference held in Brighton this year. My talk was part of a great session organised by Shaun Killen on individual differences in collective behaviour. ∞
New paper out! “Food intake rates of inactive fish are positively linked to boldness in three-spined sticklebacks“. Find it here or download pdf. More info soon! ∞
I just started with a 2-year Postdoc with Iain Couzin at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Radolfzell and at the University of Konstanz, Germany. Very excited about the years to come and be part of the brand new and booming Department of Collective Behaviour! ∞
Our latest paper Recent social conditions affect boldness repeatability in individual sticklebacks, is now out online in Animal Behaviour (Open Access!). You can download the pdf here. ∞
I was invited to give a guest lecture for a third year module at Bangor University. Was great discussing research ideas with Katherine Jones, visiting the University and fish labs, and walking through the Llanberis pass on my way back! ∞
After three years I have completed my PhD thesis and just handed it in! It feels strange to finally have the product in my hands of so much work over the years. ∞
Paper accepted in Journal of Fish Biology on personality and foraging in sticklebacks! ∞
Our paper “Recent social conditions affect boldness repeatability in individual sticklebacks” shows that recent experience of a social group had carry-over effects and reduced behavioural repeatability when individuals were alone and that two days of social isolation improved boldness repeatability of individual sticklebacks. ∞