Click the photos to find out more!
Liz Ferrell with the Bat Conservation Trust giving our annual ‘Bat Walk and Talk’
Meet The 4th Years
Thursday, 12th March 2020
Last year we held our first Meet The 4th Years talk and it was very popular. We heard presentations from several final year students who had taken a range of different paths through their 4th year studies. Each gave a basic run down of their Honours Project and how they came to be involved in their topic. What our lower year members in the audience valued most though was the advice that was given to students who will conduct their Honours research in the future.
It was great to hear some ‘Dos and Don’ts’ of Honours project logistics from people who have experienced first hand how complex yet rewarding your final year project can be. We had such a geeat variety of talks – highlighting just how broad you can be with your title in order to be able to truly research something you’re interested in.
This year we had talks from six students;
Megan Oversby – Our ZooSoc President spoke about her summer-term project that was undertaken on expedition to Guyana. “Influences of sociality on ectoparasitism; the fitness impacts on host bats in the Kanuku Mountains Protected Area, Guyana”
Paddy O’Donnell – Paddy carried out a term-time lab-based project in the labs in the Graham Kerr Building on campus. “Does pre-natal stress decreased spatial learning and memory abilities in Atlantic salmon?”
Caitlin Hayes – Our next talk was a more unusual route for a final year project. Caitlin had a dry-project, meaning there was no lab work or data collection. Instead she was looking at computer modelling of disease transmission and risk factors using a data set collected by her supervisor. “Modelling Infection Dynamics of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Among Infants in a Tanzanian Hospital Ward”
Abbie Thomson – Abbie carried out a self-organised summer-term project on the island of Jersey. She had contacts at the site she worked at from family holidays as a child. “The behavioural consequences of flock mixing in a captive flock of Chilean flamingos at Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.”
Jess Young – Jess originally planned to carry out her summer-term project on expedition in Sri Lanka. Unofrtunately due to last minute unforseen circumstances regarding a travel ban to the country, Jess had to quickly rearrange her project for Scotland. Jess was looking into “The Effect of Sewage Effluent on Microplastic Abundance and Type on the West Coast of Scotland”
Rachel Mawer – Rachel successfully applied for a place on the MSci programme and spent a year between her third and fourth year of studies working in Oban with Scottish National Heritage project was: “Reproductive timing of the flapper skate”. Rachel returned to UofG to complete her final year of studies, and carried out a data analysis based term-time Honours project, titled; “Habitat preferences of greylag geese around the Prespa Lakes, Greece”.
Thursday, 13th February 2020
ZooSoc has a long standing connection to FrogLife, having hosted the amphibian conservation organisation for talks to our members for many years in the past. Froglife is a national wildlife conservation charity concerned with the conservation of the UK’s amphibian and reptile species and their associated habitats.
We were lucky to have Louise pop down from her regular post up in the Graham Kerr Building to tell us all about the fantastic work of FrogLife and all the great volunteerting opportunities they have for our members to get involved in. Their ‘Toads on Roads’ campaign sees volunteers monitor a stretch of road that toads have to cross to reach their breeding pond in the spring.Migration can run from as early as January to as late as April and will include going out in the evenings in wet conditions.
The common toad is no longer common. Following a severe reduction in suitable habitat and high mortality on roads, this otherworldly but endearing species has declined in the UK by 68% in the last 30 years. If this continues, we could lose all our Common Toads by 2030. Enter the Wildlife Tunnel – tunnels built under our roads to help amphibians and reptiles cross them safely. Fast becoming a viable option to aid our ailing wildlife, there are currently too few of these structures in the UK. We need to start linking important habitats together and reduce the negative impacts our urban infrastructure is having on our precious British wildlife. Wildlife tunnels are the best, most cost-effective route to take.
Vampire Bats – Daniel Streicker
thursday, 6th february 2020
Vampire bat ecology and behaviour: the challenge and the solution for managing rabies in Latin America.
Vampire bats have a remarkable array of behavioural and physiological traits that allow them to survive exclusively on a diet of blood. However, their blood feeding habit also makes these bats exceptional transmitters of infectious diseases including rabies virus, which is an important threat to human and animal health in the Neotropics. Current human responses to vampire bat-transmitted rabies focus on culling bats using poisons and vaccinating people and livestock in high risk areas, but both strategies have drawbacks. This talk discussed why understanding vampire bat ecology and life history is crucial to anticipate and manage disease transmission and how in the future it may become possible to leverage bat behaviour to implement novel strategies to control rabies in wild bat populations using self-spreading vaccines.
Daniel uses ecology and evolution to reveal, anticipate and prevent infectious disease transmission between species. His research uses a range of approaches including longitudinal field studies in wild bats, phylodynamics, machine learning, metagenomics, and epidemiological modeling.
The Streicker Group looks at the way pathogens are transmitted between species, with the aim of better understanding the ecological and evolutionary factors that will allow us to prevent disease in the future. Their findings answer fundamental scientific questions as well having real-world implications for public health, agriculture and wildlife conservation.
Bumblebee Conservation Trust
thursday, 20th January 2020
We teamed up with GUBeekeeping for this talk. Miranda from Bumblebee Conservation spoke about Bumblebee ecology, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and her own research after completing her PhD in Bumblebee and Pollinator Ecology.
The talk focused on bumblebee pollinator communities and aid conservation. Miranda’s main research interests are developing network tools to aid conservation, and creating bridges between science, policy and land management.
The Bumblebee Conservation Trust was established because of serious concerns about the ‘plight of the bumblebee’. In the last 80 years, the UK bumblebee populations have crashed. Two species have become nationally extinct and several others have declined dramatically.
Bumblebees are familiar and much-loved insects that pollinate our crops and wildflowers, so people are rightly worried. BCT has a vision for a different future in which our communities and countryside are rich in bumblebees and colourful flowers, supporting a diversity of wildlife and habitats for everyone to enjoy. A growing number of committed supporters are helping their small team of staff make a big difference. BCT has over 10,000 members and are growing fast.
The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is always looking for new volunteers and they have many ways in which you can help out, from working directly with them, to even providing them with some citizen science data from your usual walks and strolls through the countryside. We know lots of our final year zoology students at UofG carry out their Honours Projects on bees in Scotland. BCT also has a newsletter called ‘Buzzword’ for all your latest bee-related news, and if you want to get in touch with Miranda about publishing your bee research in their newsletter then give us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put you in touch! Click below to head to their website for more info.
Monday, 20th january 2020
We were very lucky to kick off our second semester with a very niformative talk from Scottish Badgers. We co-hosted this talk with GUSeaSoc, who established a link with Scottish Badgers last year.
Scottish Badgers brings together individuals and groups from across Scotland to promote the study, conservation and protection of Scotland’s badgers, their setts and natural habitats. They seek to encourage tolerance and appreciation of badgers by offering information, advice and guidance to all.
We had a very well attended event, everyone was excited to see the props the organisation brought along. Unfortunately, badger crime is on the rise and its gruesome outcomes are not exclusive to badgers. Dogs and foxes are also seriously injured as a result of hunting, and wildlife habitat is compromised as a result. Badger baiting is strictly prohibited, but if you see signs of poaching you can call 101 (if its happened) or 999 (if its happening). Examples include sett gassing, blocking entrances, sett digging and snares.
We were joined in our audience by Benjamin Coulson, a writer for the Glasgow Guardian. Ben wrote an amazing article about our event and the work both ZooSoc and SeaSoc do as student societies raising awareness and insight into environemntal and conservation issues. You can read the article below!
“UofG animal societies raise awareness of badger protection“
Marine Dynamics Academy
MOnday, 4th November 2019
The Marine Dynamics Academy came to Glasgow to give us a talk on the internships and project placements they offer for marine enthusiasts and student. Marine Dynamics Academy is based in Gansbaai (South Africa) home to the “Marine Big 5” and great white shark capital of the world. They aim to foster the next generation of oceanic researchers, conservationists and educators. The “Marine Big 5” consists of sharks, whales, dolphins, seals and penguins. At Gansbaai, South Africa there is the opportunity to work with all of these incredible animals!
- Great white sharks
- Southern Right Whales
- Cape fur seals
- African penguins
The programme consists of theoretical and practical training modules led by experts in their field. Modules include great white shark tagging and tracking, data collection, environmental monitoring, photographic ID, mark recapture, photography, seabird rehabilitation, marine animal lectures, statistical training, bird surveys and diving.
The Marine Dynamics Academy utilises ecotourism to further marine research and conservation goals. The overriding goal of the Marine Dynamics Academy, is to give people who love the marine environment a chance to immerse themselves within it, developing skills and experiences which they can use to enhance their own careers and life goals. They offer a series of initiatives which are informed and continuously updated by the feedback we receive from our Alumni, Academic Institutes and our various commercial partners.
Each program has been designed to ensure that regardless of who you are and where you’re from, they can help turn your passion for the marine environment into measurable, employable skills and knowledge. They educate 35000 visitors every year and help change negative perceptions of the often-misunderstood white shark. Daily observational data by our onboard marine biologists is crucial to the scientific research objectives. Throughout their operation, Marine Dynamics Academy continually identify gaps in marine conservation knowledge, education and awareness in our area. As a volunteer or intern, you play a critical role, helping us do this invaluable work and protecting the Dyer Island ecosystem and the marine world off the Cape coast, for many years to come.
The Birds, The Bees and The Chocolate Trees
thursday, 24th October 2019
This week we had a talk from Luke Powell. He discussed the cutting-edge DNA sequencing that can benefit African farmers and rainforest biodiversity.
Humans destroy the equivalent of one Ireland-sized swath of tropical rainforest every year—mostly due to expansion of agriculture. Cocoa, which fuels the multi-billion dollar chocolate market, is grown in tropical rainforest—mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa on small, family owned farms. African farmers typically cannot afford pesticides, so they rely nature for pest insect removal, but neither farmers nor scientists know which birds and bats provide this service.
However, in a technological breakthrough, cutting edge new genetics techniques now allow us to sequence the bits of insect and plant DNA left in birds and bat faeces. This then allows us to map thousands of species in the food web—including shade trees and important pest insects.
In partnership with INDEFOR-AP, the government agency responsible for Protected Area management in Equatorial Guinea, Luke and his Biodiversity Initiative group deploy camera traps in vulnerable areas to stop illegal logging and study wildlife.
Vets Go Wild – Ikhala Vet Clinic
Thursday, 17th October 2019
Slightly different to our usual talk themes – we had a very interesting talk from Vets Go Wild about their 16-day module at the Ikhala Vet Clinic in South Africe. The module provides a field based wildlife veterinary management programme for veterinary students with an interest and passion for wildlife. The experience is both adventurous and educational with the main emphasis been on academic training and practical experience.
Love The Oceans
Monday, 14th October 2019
Love the Oceans is a non-profit marine conservation organisation working in Jangamo Bay, Mozambique since 2014. Jangamo, whilst home to a huge host of marine life, has never been studied in depth for any prolonged amount of time. Love the Oceans was founded to protect vulnerable marine animals in Mozambique through a bottom-up, community-led approach
Love The Oceans is working to protect and study the diverse marine life found here, including many species of sharks, rays and the famous humpback whales. LTO uses research, education and diving to drive action towards a more sustainable future. Their ultimate goal is to establish a Marine Protected Area for the Inhambane Province in Mozambique, achieving higher biodiversity whilst protecting endangered species.
Love The Oceans was founded by marine biologist Francesca Trotman. Francesca studied Marine Biology at University of Southampton. In 2013, during her second year at university, Francesca took an internship in Mozambique and witnessed her first shark killing in Jangamo. Francesca decided she wanted to investigate the sustainability of the shark finning industry in Mozambique, and returned to university to find a supervisor and research assistants to help her. In 2014 Francesca returned for 4 months with 3 research assistants to collect data on the artisanal fisheries for her Masters’ dissertation, focussing specifically on the elasmobranch (shark and ray) fisheries.
Francesca came to talk to our ZooSoc members about the incredible work of Love The Oceans. She highlighted the importance of combining scientific research and community outreach in order to provide a skillset to the local community that will offer them wider opportunities for employment in the future.
Love The Oceans has developed cutting edge, ethical marine conservation programs that give individuals the chance to get hands on conservation experience, working alongside marine biologists doing research, community work and diving in Mozambique.
Love The Oceans has been passionate about including the community in our conservation strategy from the start. They delivered their first season of Marine Resource Management lessons to Guinjata School in 2015, and expanded to working with Paindane School in 2016.
Love The Oceans has successfully raised funds to maintain and improve existing classrooms, and build one new classroom at each of the schools every year. In 2016 the Community Outreach was expanded, adding Sea Safety and free swimming lessons: Guinjata Bay has a strong rip-current and has over the years experienced a high number of drownings. Love The Oceans hopes to prevent future drownings by improving in-water safety. Swimming lessons are crucial, not just to improve water safety, but also to encourage the children to get in the water and hopefully spark their passion for the Ocean. Adding swimming to their skillset also creates a new range of future job opportunities in ecotourism. The two newest additions to Love The Oceans’ Community Outreach are our Ocean Conservation Champion Program and Sustainable Livelihoods Program, pilots for both programs will be launched in 2019.
In 2019 Love The Oceans was recognised as 1 of 15 global grassroots #forcesforchange by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and received international recognition for their work.
If you would be interested in volunteering with Love The Oceans, check out their website below, and get in touch with ZooSoc via email as we have been given a 10% discount code for any ZooSoc member wishing to apply!
Bat Walk and Talk
Thursday, 10th october 2019
Liz Ferrell studied Zoology at UofG before going on to an amazing career with the Bat Conservation Trust. In the last few years we’ve been lucky enough to have Liz drop by and teach us all about the bats we find in Scotland and the rest of the UK. This year, Liz brought InfraRed camera equipment and some incredible footage of bats and the urban habitats they can find a home in.
Bats are fascinating animals – the only true flying mammal. There are over 1,300 species of bats in the world, and more are still being discovered. Bats account for more than a quarter of mammal species in the UK and around 20% of all mammal species worldwide.
The Bat Conservation Trust supports local bat groups across the UK and has over 6000 members. BCT work with volunteers, scientists, industry and government both locally and nationally on a range of projects. They generate scientific evidence to underpin bat conservation in the UK and further afield. Their vision is of a world rich in wildlife where bats and people thrive together.
Sadly, many bat species around the world are vulnerable or endangered due to factors ranging from loss and fragmentation of habitat, diminished food supply, destruction of roosts, disease and hunting or killing of bats.
In the UK, bat populations have declined considerably over the last century. Bats are still under threat from building and development work that affects roosts, loss of habitat, the severing of commuting routes by roads and threats in the home including cat attacks, flypaper and some chemical treatments of building materials. Other potential threats can include wind turbines and lighting if they are sited on key bat habitat on near roosts.
We tried to finish off the talk with a bat walk around Kelvingrove Park at dusk so our members can see bats for themselves, and use the detector equipment to locate and identify different species. This event was a huge success in 2018 but unfortunately the weather just wasn’t on our side this year, so we kept the talk firmly inside the Graham Kerr Building. Hopefully, we will continue our annual ‘Bat Walk and Talk’ tradition and we can’t wait to have Liz back to teach us even more about these marvelous little creatures.
Tuesday, September 17tH
Our friends at the Glasgow Natural History Society hosted a talk about the incredbile beaver. Roisin Campbell-Palmer spoke about the reintroduction of the adorable beaver to Scotland, and her work in their conservation.
This was the first GNHS event of the semester. ZooSoc is lucky to have a society wide membership with the GNHS. This collaberation gives our members access to some fascinating talks by incredible people.
As always, this was an opportunity to discover new interests, make connections with people and maybe try your hand at some volunteering!
Amazingly, we saw lots of new faces there and the representation of ZooSoc in the GNHS audience was great to see.
We can’t wait to see what fascinating talks GNHS hosts next year that will be shared with our members!