Post-op behaviour in Sheffield

I recently gave a talk at this year’s ASAB’s Easter meeting in Sheffield. This is a change from previous ASAB meetings where I’d presented a poster. The other difference was that I was also presenting without an appendix. A somewhat superficial change, but one that made preparing my presentation interesting.

I ended up in hospital on the Tuesday of the week before and went into surgery on the Wednesday. When I was discharged on Thursday, some people told me it was a bit mad to still want to head up to Sheffield on Sunday: “You know, normal people would take some recovery time “. I was also behind on the work I’d intended to do in preparation for the talk.

Nevertheless, me and my large collection of medication travelled to Sheffield. My talk was scheduled for the final morning of the conference, which gave me a bit more time to prepare. The first day of the conference was something of a workshop, with discussion on various issues in science. The second day was comprised of talks from students and plenary speakers followed by a poster session (with free drink), a meal and a ceilidh. Unfortunately I couldn’t dance or drink, which as my talk was the next day was possibly for the best.

On the last day, fuelled by various painkillers and antibiotics, I gave my talk.

I didn’t realise I looked so serious!


Unfortunately these pictures probably represent the driest looking slides of my presentation, but I suppose the equations and graphs make it look more… sciencey.


The main body of the rest of the presentation was talking about the analysis of rafting data using collective behaviour techniques.

These are the trajectories of individual birds within the raft (run through a transformation to control for any distortion introduced by the camera). These trajectories allow us to extract information about the relative positions and alignment of individuals within the raft:


Which I’ll use later in models of movement within the raft. I still intend to do a more thorough write-up on collective behaviour at some point, when these models are more complete.

After the talk the final question  I fielded (as I was walking back to my seat) was from the ASAB president, who enquired what kind of surgery I’d had.

The answer (for enquiring minds) is keyhole surgery, otherwise I certainly wouldn’t have made it up to Sheffield. I’m very glad I did though!


(Thanks to Jared for photos!)


2 responses to “Post-op behaviour in Sheffield

  1. Pingback: Virtual birds | The Shag Project

  2. Pingback: The Shag Project

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