[BERG] A Little BERG Update, & a Call for More
s.b.kraemer at stir.ac.uk
Thu Oct 1 12:22:19 BST 2020
A new semester is upon us, and we persist. We soldier on. We will not go gentle into that good night. As we say in America, We Keep on Truckin'. Perhaps in Scotland it might be, "Keep on Lorrying," but that sounds too much like "Keep on Worrying", which nobody needs any reminders to do.
BERG as a group is adjusting to this strange new world, the same way its members are individually adjusting. We want to check-in with you before we proceed with any meetings this semester! So, if any BERG members would like to share any ideas for meetings, inspirations, stories from their summers, or general words of encouragement, [better than these recycled old phrases] please e-mail them to us! Now is a unique time to be in Academia-- we stand at the crossroads of science and politics, and we are equally scared and hopeful for the future. That is okay. That is to be expected. Normalise it!
Time for some Positive News in the Animal Kingdom
BERGers, We want to know what you know! What have you/ your labmates been working on, what are your collaborators publishing, etc. In the meantime, here are some intriguing findings from around the world in the animal kingdom.
Male Flamboyant Cuttlefish mostly pretend to be rocks all day long, but when they get to courting the ladies, it is a sight to behold.
In a new article for Science News, Hanlon & McManus (2020) described studying the courtship displays of these colourful creatures:
'After spotting a female in the distance, a male will flaunt bright colors and undulate their mantle stripes in a move called “the passing cloud.” Researchers also observed two types of gestures during this colorful routine: arm waving (reminiscent of a human bowing) and kissing (a tap on the female’s arm with his arms). “These displays are really elaborate and dynamic,” says Hanlon. “And they’re comparable to what some of the most sophisticated birds do and even some primates.”'
-Quote from https://www.sciencenews.org/article/flamboyant-cuttlefish-video-mating-defense-camouflage
Published paper in Science Direct: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022098120300642
Watch a video of their flashy flirtations here!! You will not be disappointed:
African Grey Parrots are just as fed up as you are, and they have some choice words to share.
In an amusing news story for the BBC, Chief executive Steve Nichols the of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Park described how five of their African grey parrots would cuss at guests, and then feed off of the energies of guests, whose reactions they took as encouragement to continue swearing.
The parrots "swear to trigger reaction or a response" so if people look shocked or laugh, it just encourages them to do it more, he said. "With the five, one would swear and another would laugh and that would carry on," he said.
-Quote from https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lincolnshire-54340425
In a further interview for The Guardian, Steve went on:
The parrots – named Billy, Elsie, Eric, Jade and Tyson – joined Lincolnshire Wildlife<https://www.theguardian.com/environment/wildlife> Park’s colony of 200 grey parrots in August. But soon after, they started encouraging each other to swear. “We saw it very quickly – we are quite used to parrots swearing but we’ve never had five at the same time,” Steve Nichols, CEO of the wildlife park, told PA. “Most parrots clam up outside, but for some reason these five relish it.”
Now the parrots are in quarantine together, in the hopes that they don't distribute their naughty behaviours to the other grey parrots at the park.
Lincolnshire already had a famous parrot, "Chico", who can sing Beyonce's "If I were a Boy."
Click here to enjoy an interview with the Steve Nichols who not only manages Chico's singing talents, but also shares why the wildlife park has so many parrots:
One Hundred and Ten Pilot Whales have been Rescued from a recent mass stranding in Australia-- the largest on record.
The Guardian has been covering the mass stranding of the whales since last week, when they were discovered.
'Some 270 long-finned pilot whales were discovered stranded on sandbars on Monday morning and another 200 were found dead further inside the harbour two days later.
The stranding surpasses a beaching event in 1996 involving about 320 pilot whales in Western Australia.
[Incident Controller Robert] Buck praised rescuers for their tireless work in icy waters and rough weather.'
-Quote from https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/27/tasmania-rescuers-guide-another-pilot-whale-to-freedom-bringing-survivor-tally-to-110
You can follow along with the story, and listen to a short 30-minute podcast on the rescue missions HERE: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/audio/2020/sep/28/inside-the-rescue-of-the-pilot-whales-stranded-in-tasmania
A Whale of a Tale...
The Grey Parrots' Regale...
And the Seductive Displays of the Cuttlefish Male!
[While the female awaits to judge pass-or-fail ✔️]
We hope that these stories give YOU hope to prevail.
Stay Safe and Sane out there, BERGers, and we are eager to receive any updates and/or ideas you might have to share with us, on a rolling basis.
-Sarah and Hannah
E-mail for Hannah [Professor of Psychology at Stirling; Organiser of BERG]: h.m.buchanan-smith at stir.ac.uk
E-mail for Sarah [PhD Student at Stirling; occasional coordinator of BERG]: s.b.kraemer at stir.ac.uk
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