Meredith Palmer, Princeton University, USA
I am an NSF postdoctoral fellow with the Pringle Lab (http://pringle.princeton.edu) at Princeton University (https://eeb.princeton.edu/), studying predator-prey dynamics in African and North American terrestrial mammal systems. The overarching goal of my work is to tease apart the direct and indirect effect of predators on prey behavior, prey demography, and ecosystem functioning. I explore antipredator decision-making in herbivores in response to large carnivores and track the cascading effects of these predators on soil and plant communities. I incorporate behavioral and demographic information collected from long-term predator monitoring projects in addition to deploying and managing extensive camera trapping initiatives and utilizing a variety of manipulative experiments. Currently, I am examining how ecological communities respond to predator reintroductions, looking to see whether functional ecological relationships between predators and prey are restored and tracking the effects of renewed predation risk on plant productivity and community composition. I rely heavily on the involvement of citizen scientists and use these initiatives to develop educational tools and increase scientific literacy by engaging members of the general public in the scientific process. You can read more about my research and outreach at https://meredithspalmer.weebly.com/. I am looking forward to reading and promoting work focused on untangling ecological relationships within and among trophic levels, and predicting how altered relationship dynamics could have cascading effects across interaction webs. I’m particularly excited about studies looking at ecological and behavioral changes in predator-prey dynamics using innovative technologies like camera trapping, acoustic monitoring, drones, and more!
Nelson Miranda, Nelson Mandela University/Rhodes University, South Africa
I’m an early career scientist and received my PhD in Biology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2012. Over the last few years, I was part of the Research Chair in Shallow Water Ecosystems. This is one of the many excellent research chairs of the South African Department of Science and Technology / National Research Foundation, hosted by Nelson Mandela University. My research work is now based in South Africa and Mozambique, where I operate as a professional natural scientist and a Research Associate of Nelson Mandela University and Rhodes University.
I specialize in aquatic invertebrate ecology, mostly with a focus on alien invasive gastropods in southern Africa. In a way, I study small, invisible and often unknown things that actually provide great insights into the essence of life. I have broad discipline-based knowledge in invertebrate physiology, aquatic ecology and marine biology. Additionally, I want to contribute to the advancement and capacity building of African scientists, particularly in the South Western Indian Ocean region. It is clear that apart from following typical academic institutional paths, there are alternative career development pathways which can involve the whole community (from children to elders) and are in line with African values.
As an Associate Editor for Journal of Zoology, I hope to serve and promote meaningful contributions to scientific literature. I would like to see interdisciplinary papers combining biology, ecology, physiology, evolution, systematics and genetics, but also contributions relevant to conservation which include traditional knowledge systems and citizen science. I would like to see more inclusive, realistic and engaging hypothesis-driven studies that are well informed, sustainable and build robust data sets. I hope to see more manuscripts highlighting science in Africa, written by emerging and established African scientists.
Hazel Nichols, University of Swansea, UK
I am a Lecturer in Bioscience at Swansea University, focusing on behavioural and molecular ecology. I have been fascinated by animals all my life, having grown up very close to Chester Zoo, so decided to go on to study biology at the University of Sheffield as an undergraduate. Here, I became interested in the use of molecular genetic methods to understand animal behaviour, evolution and conservation, and for my honours project, I investigated the conservation genetics of Père David’s deer with Prof John Slate.
For my PhD and post-doctoral work, I moved to the University of Cambridge to investigate the evolution of cooperative mammalian societies, working with Professors Bill Amos, Mike Cant and Tim Clutton-Brock. My work used genetic techniques to study helping and harming behaviour in the banded mongoose, a small (<2kg), African cooperatively-breeding mammal and I continue my work on this species today. More recently, I have begun to work on a variety of other mammals including pilot whales, mole-rats, wild equids and pinnipeds.
The main focus of my research is to use a multidisciplinary approach to investigate how animal societies evolve, combining behavioural data with genetic, ecological and biochemical data. In particular, my work has focused on four interconnecting themes; 1) exploring the evolution of cooperation; 2) understanding the importance of inbreeding and inbreeding avoidance in cooperative species; 3) investigating the role of scent communication in cooperation and breeding decisions, and; 4) understanding the genetic structure of mammalian societies. My work has extensively used population genetic techniques and is currently expanding to use genomic methods (such as RADseq and metagenomics data) to address these themes as they provide a powerful tool to understand the genetic basis of traits associated with social evolution.
Essie Rodgers, University of Antwerp, Belgium
I’m a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Antwerp in the Systemic Physiological and Ecotoxicological Research Department. My research focuses on determining how a myriad of stressors interact to impact the physiology, behavior and ecological success of a range of taxa (from glowworms to crocodilians). I received my Ph.D. from the University of Queensland (Australia) in 2017, where I investigated the thermal constraints on crocodilian diving physiology and behavior. From there, I accepted a postdoctoral position at the University of California Davis, where I led several projects which examined the effects of environmental stressors on developmental trajectories in larval sturgeon. My research interests span conservation physiology, comparative physiology, multi-stressor assessments, meta-analytics, thermal biology and mechanistic niche modelling. I’m excited to read papers which are hypothesis-driven, integrative and span multiple levels of biological organization.
Emerson Vieira, University of Brasilia, Brazil
I am really excited with the opportunity of contributing to the Journal of Zoology. I am currently affiliated with the Universidade de Brasilia (UnB, University of Brasilia) in Brasilia, central Brazil. I have been working at UnB about 11 years, being the head of the Laboratory of Vertebrate Ecology (https://labecovert.wixsite.com/ecovert). I conducted my Master research in the Brazilian savanna (Cerrado), where I evaluated the effects of fire on small mammal communities, and my Doctorate research in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, investigating community composition and space use by small mammals at different altitudes. I also took a sabbatical and went to Australia where I studied habitat use by Australian marsupials (i.e., numbats, bettongs, wallabies and bilbies) for about 8 months. My research interests include population and community ecology of vertebrates, mammal-plant interactions, effects of fire on wild animals, and chronoecology. I have also interest on habitat use, conservation and natural history of mammals. I conduct research projects that rely mainly on the collection of high-quality field data both in the Brazilian Cerrado and in the Atlantic Forest. My students and I use data on biology and natural history of vertebrates (especially rodents and marsupials) to test relevant biological hypotheses for this group. We use several methods and techniques, such as standard capture-mark-recapture procedures, radio-telemetry, spool-and-line tracking devices, stable isotopes, direct observation, and others for gathering such data. With >20 years of experience with vertebrate research I am really excited with the opportunity of contributing to the Journal of Zoology as a member of the editorial board. I really enjoy reading the papers of this outstanding journal and I hope to help in keeping the high standards of its articles. I consider particularly appealing those studies that focus on some basic but still unknown aspect of the biology of an animal but also testing relevant hypotheses regarding the species or system studied.
Indrė Žliobaitė, University of Helsinki, Finland
I’m very happy to join as an Associate Editor, thanks for having me.
I’m Indrė Žliobaitė, an Assistant Professor in Life Science Informatics at the University of Helsinki, working at the intersection of data science and macroevolution.
My research background is in machine learning, and in my early career I worked exclusively in the machine learning community. I developed methods for learning from evolving streaming data, updating models over time when new data becomes available, and in particular, methods and theory for evaluating the performance of such models over time. I started my career as an independent researcher at Vilnius University, Lithuania, and later had the chance and privilege to work in larger and larger collaborative initiatives as a postdoc at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, a lecturer at Bournemouth University, UK and a researcher at Aalto University in Finland. The further I progressed in my career, the more cross-disciplinary my research became.
While already in Finland, I took an interesting offer and a part-time postdoctoral contract with the Evolutionary Palaeontology group at the University of Helsinki. Coming from evolving data research in machine learning, I ended up working with the ultimate evolving data – the fossil record documenting evolution of species. For a year and a half now, I am leading an interdisciplinary research group at the intersection of data science and macroevolution (http://www.helsinki.fi/data-science-and-evolution). While my collaboration with the palaeontology community in Helsinki and abroad continues, I’m now putting nearly equal emphasis on quantitative analysis of present day mammalian communities and their biogeography. I’m very much interested in the functional aspects of mammalian teeth, energy acquisition and metabolic scaling, as well as relationships between communities of plant-eating mammals and their edible environments. My most recently funded project focuses on structural estimation of vegetation cover in the past in relation to large mammalian herbivore communities.
I think zoology in general and animal physiology in particular are fundamental to the functional understanding of the fossil record and evolutionary processes in general, which is becoming the increasingly dominant research area for me. Given my background in computational sciences, I will support integrative and cross-disciplinary perspectives towards zoology. I will be happy to share my expertise, in particular, for assessing contributions that heavily rely on machine learning, artificial intelligence or ad-hoc computational methods in general. I expect to handle as an Associate Editor any computational method papers, papers related to mammalian teeth and chewing, as well as papers on macroecology and macroevolution.
Graeme Shannon, University of Bangor, UK
My research interests are at the intersection of animal behaviour, ecology and conservation, with particular focus on the effects of human activities on wildlife. I carried out my PhD research in South Africa at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where I explored the foraging and movement behaviour of male and female African elephants, and the implications of these behavioural processes on habitat utilisation. Following the completion of my PhD in 2006, I worked as a postdoctoral researcher with my PhD supervisor – Professor Rob Slotow – investigating the relative effects of elephants, fire and disease on the utilisation of large trees in the Kruger National Park. Later that year, I began a postdoctoral fellowship with Professor Karen McComb (Sussex University) on a five-year project that explored the cognitive abilities of African elephants using novel playback approaches. In particular, we set out to determine the impacts of social disruption on the processing of social and ecological knowledge, the role of matriarch age in leadership, and the use of complex acoustical cues to make subtle distinctions between predators. In 2012, I moved to Colorado State University to continue my interests in acoustical ecology and animal behaviour, but the focus now switched to the impacts of anthropogenic noise on wildlife. Following completion of the US postdoc in December 2014, I worked for 6-months at Liverpool University before securing a permanent position at Bangor University, where I have been a lecturer in zoology since November 2015. My research now focuses on three broad themes, the behavioural and population ecology of large herbivores, the effects of large herbivores on habitat structure and ecosystem function, and the consequences of noise and artificial light on animal behaviour and wildlife ecology. I greatly look forward to seeing applied ecological and behavioural papers submitted to the Journal of Zoology, which aim to use cutting edge science and technology to address challenges with managing and conserving animals in the wild.