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2010 News

Size Matters - The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures 2010

Look out for two members of the Department in this year's Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. Karin Moll from the Insect Biomechanics Group and Tim Cockerill from the Insect Ecology Group both gave demonstrations in the first lecture, entitled 'Why Elephants Can't Dance'.

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Cross-dressing vertebrae: how sloths got their long neck

From mice to giraffes, mammals are remarkable in that all but a handful of their 5000 species have exactly seven vertebrae in the neck. Among the few that deviate from this number are three-toed sloths, which may have up to ten ribless vertebrae in the neck.

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Academic leadership in the Department, from 1 October 2010

1 October 2010 sees major changes in the academic leadership of the Department.

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Chariots of Fire

Members of the Team from the Insect Ecology Group (Museum of Zoology), after taking part in the Chariots of Fire Charity Race on September 19th.

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Celebrating Ecology - BES Photographic Competition

This photograph, taken by Tim Cockerill a PhD student in the Department's Insect Ecology Group, was a runner-up in the British Ecological Society Photographic Competition 2010.

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Trawl fishing surviving through sale of previously discarded fish

Fishermen barely eking out a profit because of overfishing of their target stock, shrimp, are now surviving by selling their bycatch (the low-value fish also caught in the large, indiscriminate nets).

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Meerkat groups have 'traditions'

Just as afternoon tea is traditional in England but not in France, different groups of meerkats have different ways of doing things, Cambridge zoologists have found.

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Cracks in egg theory

Members of the Evolutionary Ecology group have found cracks in the long-standing theory that the number of eggs animals have – and the size of those eggs – is related to how much parental care they invest in their offspring.

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Cleaner fish respond to the shadow of the future

Tropical fish alter their behaviour with an eye to the future, researchers in the department have found. This is the first time such behaviour has been seen in any animals except humans.

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New baylissi chameleon

Recently a host of new species have been discovered from Mt. Mabu in northern Mozambique as part of a RBGKew Darwin Initiative award entitled Monitoring and Managing Biodiversity Loss on South-East Africa's Montane Ecosystems’.

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Swarming locusts need larger brains

Desert locusts are infamous for their swarming behaviour when they migrate en masse and consume everything in their path, but usually they occur in a form that actively avoids other locusts and live solitary existences. Which one of these lifestyles poses bigger challenges and requires more brain power?

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Alfred Russel Wallace Award (2008-9)

Dr Tom Fayle has been awarded the Alfred Russel Wallace prize by the Royal Entomological Society for his studies of the ant community structure in a rain forest microcosm.

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A bird’s eye view of how cuckoos fool their hosts

Using field experiments in Africa and a new computer model that gives them a bird’s eye view of the world, Dr Claire Spottiswoode and Dr Martin Stevens have discovered how a bird decides whether or not a cuckoo has laid an egg in its nest.

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2010 Drosophila image competition

An image taken in the imaging facility in the department by Barry Denholm in Helen Skaer’s group has been nominated as a finalist in the Genetics Society of America Annual Drosophila image competition.

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Mother knows best – even before birth

Bird mothers communicate with their developing chicks before they even hatch by leaving them messages in the egg, new research by a team from the Department has found.

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Graduate School Poster Competition Success 2010

Zoology graduates scooped a couple of prizes in the Graduate School of Life Sciences Poster and Images competition earlier this week keeping up our excellent record.

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Prestigious awards for Zoology Students

Congratulations to two students from the Department, who have recently received awards from the Zoological Society of London.

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