Episode 15 – The Science of Jaws: from shark attacks to marine biology!

In this episode, we feature a Q&A discussion that followed a recent screening of the 1975 film Jaws held at the Glasgow film theatre as part of the 2014 Glasgow Science Festival. Dr David Bailey, Dr Deborah McNeill and Dr Shaun Killen are the experts answering the questions and exploring the relative risk of shark attacks, the impact of overfishing and the realities of being a marine biologist! This event was sponsored by the British Ecological Society.

Not to add a spoiler, but I think we can conclude that it is safe to go in the water…

Episode 15- The Science of Jaws


Episode 14 – Linking science and policy

Science is awesome, but how do you ensure your science is relevant?

We got thinking about this after reading a comment piece offering tips on interpreting scientific claims published in Nature by Bill Sutherland and colleagues. The Guardian then produced a response listing tips academics should know about policy making here.

So in the latest episode of Naturally Speaking, the two James’ chat about communicating science into policy with colleagues from across the Institute. We ask: how do you link research with fisheries management? how does science inform rabies policy in the developing world? and how do we get scientific findings to policy makers?

With us to discuss these topics are; Sophie Elliott, David Bailey, Rodney Beard, Lisa Boden and Katie Hampson

Episode 14 – Linking science and policy

Episode 13 – The Science of Jurassic Park

This episode marks the first in a series in which we discuss the science behind some of our favourite science fiction movies. Why start with Jurassic Park? Well, it’s loaded with sciencey concepts, but this year is also 20 years (!) since it was first released and so we thought it would be a good time to check back on how it holds up.

Joining the chat in this episode are Rod Page, Barbara Mable, Kirstyn Brunker, Julie Nati, , James Buckely, Darryl McLennan, and Shaun Killen.

Episode 13 – The Science of Jurassic Park

Episode 13 - The Science of Jurassic Park

Episode 12 – Research Roundup: Bacteria in Chicken Eggs, Antioxidants and Lifespan, and Maternal Effects on Growth in Salmon

In this Research Roundup episode we summarise three recent research papers published by Institute members. First we discuss Maureen Bain’s recent work examining the extent to which bacteria may pass through the shells of the chicken eggs we use for food. We then chat about Colin Selman’s recent paper showing that dietary antioxidant supplements may actually decrease lifespan in some animal populations. We then finish up by reviewing Tim Burton’s research examining maternal effects on early growth trajectories in Atlantic salmon.

We also touch on whether or not the titles of academic papers have become too “spoilerific”, patent a foolproof device for measuring E. coli levels in grocery store eggs, and propose that living with your parents until your middle age might actually be an optimal life-history strategy.

Episode 12 – Research Roundup: Bacteria in Chicken Eggs, Antioxidants and Lifespan, and Maternal Effects on Growth in Salmon

Papers Discussed:

MM Bain, K McDade, R Burchmore, A Law, PW Wilson, M Schmutz, R Preisinger, IC Dunn. 2013. Enhancing the egg’s natural defence against bacterial penetration by increasing cuticle deposition. Animal Genetics. 44:661-668

C Selman, JS McLaren, AR Collins, GG Duthie, JR Speakman. 2013.  Deleterious consequences of antioxidant supplementation on lifespan in a wild-derived mammal. Biology letters 9 (4)

Tim Burton, S. McKelvey, D. C. Stewart, J. D. Armstrong, and N. B. Metcalfe 2013. Early maternal experience shapes offspring performance in the wild. Ecology 94:618–626. http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/12-0462.1

Episode 11 part 1: The Science of Zombies Live Show!


In this very special episode we chat about the science of zombie-ism! Could zombies actually exist? Do zombies sleep? We discuss all this and more!

The first part of this episode contains the recording from a live event during the Glasgow Science festival, which took place at Nice ‘n Sleazy’s pub here in Glasgow. In this event, moderated by a totally scarifying Zara Gladman, Shaun Killen and Rowland Kao took audience questions regarding zombies and zombie outbreaks.

As it turns out, zombies are an amazing platform for talking about all kinds of topics in biology. In part 2 of this episode, we discuss all kinds of other zombie-related in ssues in science, including the affect of climate change on zombie-ism, how to tag andtrack zombie movements, and whether or not zombies have telomeres. Grab a nice bowl of brains, sit back, and have a listen! 

Episode 11a: Science of Zombies Live Show

Episode 10 – Understanding Infectious Disease

Woman with cows

Woman with livestock © Jo Halliday

Hello and welcome to our 10th podcast!

In this episode we talk with Jo Halliday and Sunny Townsend about their research into epidemiology, the study of patterns, causes and effects of disease.

Child with dog © Jo Halliday

Jo talks us through her work on the transmission of disease between people and livestock in Tanzania, and her recent paper in Philospohical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

Sunny explains her work on the spread and transmission of rabies, and a recent paper in the journal Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

Episode 10 – Understanding Infectious Disease