1 month to go till I slip away back to tropical storms and toucans. Preparations from afar continue... A taxi driver conversation today took a weird turn when he asked (in deep Bristolian) what I'm doing with my life. Turns out "trying to attach miniature radio-tags to hundreds of wasps around abandoned buildings on the edge of South American rainforests" is a hilarious answer. Cue a long drive to Temple Meads station with the taxi driver doubled over in hysterics.
I won't give away exactly what I'm doing, in case other South-American-abandoned-building-wasp-radio-taggers (?) go in for a bit of industrial espionage. (Though I suspect that isn't too much of a risk.) In short, there's a fascinating evolutionary mystery concerning animal cooperation that we're interested in at Bristol, part of a rich tradition in evolutionary biology stretching back to the greats like W. D. Hamilton and John Maynard Smith. It's fantastic to have the chance to explore this enigma in high resolution using techniques like radio-tagging on wild populations.
I'm finding it an interesting exercise setting up a field project from abroad! Logistics are just about sorted now. And I'm very much looking forward to meeting Professor Alain Dejean (of the University of Toulouse) and Dr Bruno Corbara (Global Canopy Programme), who are both kindly lending their advice in French Guiana.
That's all for now then. Ciao!
Adventures of a
Dr Patrick Kennedy
Postdoc in zoology at the University of Bristol