Science and Technology

International ‘animal spy’ to share wild encounters at Irwin lecture

A renowned animal researcher who spies on unsuspecting species from around the world will present The University of Queensland’s 9th Annual Steve Irwin Memorial Lecture on 13 September 2018.

Members of the public will have the opportunity to hear from Honorary Associate Professor Anne Goldizen as she recounts her escapades in the untamed world of animal research, having immersed herself in long-term, in-habitat field studies exploring animal social behaviour.

Associate Professor Goldizen said that she looked forward to sharing some of her wildest encounters with the audience.

“I’ve been lucky enough to track Amazonian and African primates, impalas, mongooses, threatened wallabies, eastern grey kangaroos and Namibian giraffes, just to name a few,” she said.

“It’s incredible following wild animals around their habitats, trying to understand their behaviour patterns and how they might have evolved to thrive so well in that environment.

“In this sort of work, you see something new and different and interesting every day, and the longer you study a species, the more you figure out how their social system works.”

Tamarin monkeys were one of the species that most surprised Associate Professor Goldizen and her colleagues.

“In South America I was researching polyandrous behaviour – meaning a female might have two or more male partners – in adorable, but feisty, tamarin monkeys,” she said.

“I was busy watching a female monkey who had two boyfriends, and she gave birth to twins, which could have been fathered by either, or even both, of those males.

“After the birth, all three of them just went on living as a happy ménage à trois – with the males doing most of the work carrying the twins – she really had it made.”

Associate Professor Goldizen says you don’t have to go far to find similar animal behaviour in your own backyard.

“It turns out that here in Australia, the Tasmanian native hen does exactly the same thing as the tamarin monkeys,” she said.

“And the breeding system of dusky moorhens – which can even be found here on the UQ lakes – is even more odd and extreme.

“I can’t wait to share some of the most incredible and intimate moments that the animal kingdom has to offer.”

The 9th Annual Steve Irwin Memorial Lecture will be held at 6pm on Thursday 13 September 2018 at UQ’s St Lucia Campus. Tickets are free to the public, but must be secured via this page.

Source: UQ

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