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Oxford scientists recognised at ‘Zoological Oscars’

The Zoological Society of London awards makes a series of annual awards to recognise outstanding contributions to conservation and zoological research, and reward individuals who help us to better understand the natural world. The 2015 awards were presented at a ceremony at ZSL London Zoo on Tuesday 21 June 2016. Oxford zoologists won three of the awards.

Professor Peter Holland FRS

Fish can recognise human faces

The research, carried out by a team of scientists from the University of Oxford (UK) and the University of Queensland (Australia), found that archerfish were able to learn and recognise faces with a high degree of accuracy – an impressive feat, given this task requires sophisticated visual recognition capabilities.

Ilkka Hanski

10 May 2016: It is with great sadness that we learnt today of the death of distinguished ecologist Ilkka Hanski. Ilkka did his DPhil in the Department in the late 1970’s and then returned to the University of Helsinki where he pioneered the field of spatial ecology doing hugely influential experimental and theoretical studies on metapopulations and related topics. He was a friend and collaborator of many people in the Department and will be much missed.

Unpredictable environments lead to the evolution of parental neglect in birds

Work by Shana Caro, Ashleigh Griffin, Camilla Hinde and Stuart West has shown that environmental variation can explain variation in the way that parents and offspring communicate. Examining data from 143 bird species, they have shown that in predictably good environments, the offspring in the worse condition beg the most, and are fed the most. In contrast, in unpredictable and poor environments, the parents pay less attention to begging and preferentially feed the offspring in the best condition.

3D seminar

Oxford Zoology experiences a 3D seminar, presented by Sarah Reece, showing how malaria parasite males search for females.