Our 2017 Functional Ecology paper, “Testing the stability of behavioural coping style across stress context in Trinidadian guppies” (open access), got a lot of coverage after some excellent work by press officer Alex Morrison to get a good angle on the research (which is a pretty dense treatise of multivariate behavioural plasticity – not what you’d typically expect to hit the news!).
My favourite article was probably from the Washington Post (above), which gives a very funny take on the research while still giving a good overview of the science. The research was also featured in a host of other newspapers and magazines, including Newsweek, The Independent, and the Daily Mail, as well as websites like IFLScience.
Somewhat more nerve-rackingly, I also clocked up some serious media mileage with a whole bunch of live radio and television appearances! (Plus a couple of pre-recorded ones for good measure.)
I was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme (with segment replayed on other major BBC radio stations), as well as drive-time interviews for BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Berkshire (slightly bafflingly), BBC World Service, Ireland’s NewsTalk, CBC’s As it Happens, and appeared on BBC World News (see video below).
— Exeter Uni News (@ExeterUniNews) September 28, 2017
Reuters also interviewed me for a short film about the research, which can be viewed here.
A 2018 paper led by Daniel Maskrey (now a PhD student at the University of Liverpool) on personality and resource-acquisition behaviour under competition got a fair bit of press attention as well. Published in Animal Behaviour, “Who dares does not always win: risk-averse rockpool prawns are better at controlling a limited food resource” showed a negative correlation between high-risk exploratory behaviour and the ability to monopolise a food resource under (size-matched) competition. Winner of best headline has to be the Sun – who else – with ‘Prawn to be mild’…
Daniel also coped commendably well in his first live media experience, with George Galloway opening the interview by asking whether our study’s findings showed that prawns had an “anti-capitalist message”…(!). Listen again here, starting around the 12.48pm mark:
There’s also a nice write-up by PopSci.
Linking morphology and performance
Joe Styga’s 2018 paper from our collaboration with Ryan Earley’s lab at the University of Alabama, “Ontogeny of the morphology-performance axis in an amphibious fish (Kryptolebias marmoratus)“, got some nice coverage in National Geographic, as well as being ‘video of the day’ on Earth.com and featuring on the Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet show (go to 18:16 if the video plays in your region).
One of the papers from my PhD, “Mating opportunities and energetic constraints drive variation in age-dependent sexual signalling“, was covered in science news websites such as ScienceDaily and EurekAlert.
You can follow me on twitter at @tomhouslay. My stint on @realscientists (a twitter account that rotates through different scientists on a weekly basis) spawned a hashtag competition to find the most extreme adaptation related to sexual selection / conflict. It was a #humpoff, and it was covered by the Washington Post, the Independent, the New York Post, io9, and various other outlets.
I co-hosted a weekly science podcast, ‘Breaking Bio‘, which ended after 100 episodes that generally involved long-form interviews with scientists (typically ecologists or evolutionary biologists). The episodes are available as audio podcasts or as video on youtube. This was funded in part by an outreach grant from the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB).