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Serpentarius contains important information about what is happening in the Department and staff news. It is published fortnightly on Wednesdays during term-time.

Wednesday 10th December 2014

In this issue

Department News


University News


Department News

Congratulations to...

..Rose and Luc, on the arrival of Daphne Thorogood St-Pierre, on 2nd December 2014. 














.. and to Dan Green, for his hairy lip.

















Christmas Party this Friday!

Just another reminder to buy a ticket for £6 from reception (main site and at Madingley). There will be some on the door on Friday, but it would help us out if you bought them before.

Once again, if anyone has anything they think would make an interesting raffle prize, please donate it via vrf22 in office F26 in the main building.

Don't forget to come in fancy dress! Prizes for the best Arctic-themed costume. Alternatively, if you'd prefer to don a Christmas jumper, it's the Save the Children Christmas Jumper Day on the 12th - come along in your knitted goods and make a small donation to this great cause. We will also give out a prize to the best (or worst...) jumper - extra points if it's Arctic-themed!

Looking forward to seeing you all on Friday 12th Dec, from 12:30pm in the Elementary Lab.

Your party organisers, the first year graduate students.


Christmas and New Year departmental closure

Wednesday 24 December will be a working day.  The Department will be closed 25 December – 1 January 2015 inclusive.  The Department will re-open on Friday 2 January 2015.  Staff should be aware, however, that not all department services and functions will operate normally on 2 January (Reception, for example, will be closed).  Staff intending to work on 2 January may be reassured that the heating will have been switched on 24 hours beforehand.



Behavioural Ecology on BBC’s In Our Time

On Thursday at 9am, Radio 4, in the ‘In our Time’ discussion programme -

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Behavioural Ecology, the scientific study of animal behaviour.

What factors influence where and what an animal chooses to eat? Why do some animals mate for life whilst others are promiscuous? Behavioural ecology approach questions like these using Darwin's theory of natural selection, along with ideas drawn from game theory and the economics of consumer choice.

Scientists had always been interested in why animals behave as they do, but before behavioural ecology this area of science never got much beyond a collection of interesting anecdotes. Behavioural ecology gave them techniques for constructing rigorous mathematical models of how animals act under different circumstances, and for predicting how they will react if circumstances change. Behavioural ecology emerged as a branch of zoology in the second half of the 20th century and proponents say it revolutionized our understanding of animals in their environments.


Steve Jones, Emeritus Professor of Genetics at University College, London

Rebecca Kilner, Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Cambridge

John Krebs, Principal of Jesus College at the University of Oxford


Library News


The Library will close for Christmas on Tuesday 23rd December at 5:00pm and will re-open at 8:30am on Monday 5th January 2015. Otherwise, the Library will be open as usual throughout the Christmas vacation.


University News


Carol Service for University Staff

Great St Maryʼs, the University Church
3.30 pm
Tuesday 16th December

Behavioural Ecology on BBC’s In Our Time