Affordable event recording & statistical analysis with your Windows PC
BEAST, the behavioural events acquisition and analysis tool has been completely rewritten for Windows XP machines and today's more powerful processors as BEAST2005 version 2. Those familiar with BEAST 1.n will find the same user interface and functions. A student version is available for free download at www.WindwardTechnologyHawaii.com. The Professional version is available at the same site for the reduced price of $299.95. Current registered owners of BEAST Professional 1.n can obtain BEAST2005 for $99.95.
The student version is intended for use in Ethology and other Animal or Human Behaviour course laboratories. The package allows full event recording functions, logical manipulation of events, simple statistical analysis of durations, intervals and sequences with tutorials that invite classroom participation. It lacks many of the powerful analysis routines available in BEAST2005 Professional, but can introduce researchers to the possibilities opened with use of the professional package. The context-sensitive help file supplied with the student version serves as an instruction manual in standard Windows format and includes description of all of the features included in the professional version. Tutorials included in the student and professional version use data from published research projects to introduce the user to both simple statistical description of behaviour, testing assumptions of stationarity within and between observation sessions and sequence analysis ranging from dyad counting with information theoretical statistics and log-linear models to continuous time Markov chain models. Monte Carlo and Randomization techniques are used in several routines for data that would otherwise defy rigid statistical analysis.
For information visit www.WindwardTechnologyHawaii.com
or email Losey@WindwardTechnologyHawaii.com.
Educational film available on behaviour of domestic pigs
In the late 1970's and early 80's, Alex Stolba studied the behaviour of domestic pigs in a semi-natural enclosure, the Edinburgh "pig park", and developed a new housing system, the Family Pen System for Pig Production. The results of his research projects had a big impact on our understanding of the behavioural needs of pigs and, consequently, on changes in animal welfare legislation with regard to pig housing systems (e.g. group housing of dry sows, provision of foraging material and nest building material).
Alex Stolba filmed the behaviour of the pigs in the pig park as well as in the family pen system. The International Society of Livestock Husbandry (www.ign-nutztierhaltung.ch) has taken the initiative to digitalize these movies. The DVD is now available and contains 3 movies (Day-time activity; Reproduction and social behaviour; The pig family system) in an English and a German version. The price of the DVD is EUR 30, postage included. DVDs can be ordered by sending an email to the secretary of the International Society of Animal Husbandry, Nadja Brodmann (email@example.com).
Satellite tracking and analysis tool
Satellite tracking has the potential of offering great insights into the behaviour of many vertebrates, yet once transmitters are attached, workers often find resultant data more difficult to utilize than anticipated. Staff from the University of Exeter in Cornwall in collaboration with the USA-based NGO SEATURTLE.ORG, have helped develop a freely available Satellite Tracking and Analysis Tool (STAT) which helps take the pain out of working with ARGOS tracking data.
The package provides automated data archiving, back-up and mapping, and includes user-friendly data analysis and filtering tools. For specimen outputs see www.seaturtle.org/tracking where over 100 marine vertebrates (including turtles and albatrosses) are currently being tracked in near real-time on the web. The system would be equally useful for non-marine taxa and projects are welcomed.
Users can access all data and maps from any internet connection, with no need to purchase expensive software. The STAT system adds value to data by automatically providing all available speed, distance, time and angle calculations in exported data, as well as the topography and sea surface temperature value associated with each location. Features are available to share maps and project background with the general public, share specific data with educators and it is expected that, in the future, the facility will act as a clearing house to facilitate data sharing among researchers.
For further information, contact: Dr Brendan Godley, NERC Research Fellow, Marine Turtle Research Group, Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter in Cornwall; email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Michael Coyne, Director, SEATURTLE.ORG; email: email@example.com.
The Sheffield Molecular Genetics Facility
UK-based researchers are invited to apply to use the NERC Sheffield Molecular
Genetics Facility. The SMGF aims to make state-of-the-art molecular genetics
facilities and training available to the UK community in the science areas
that fall under the remit of the Natural Environment Research Council.
Access is open to all and not restricted to NERC grant holders and students.
At present, the main call on the Facility is for the development and
application of sets of genetic markers for use in population genetics
and behavioural ecology, and in particular the use of enrichment methods
to develop microsatellite marker sets. The Facility includes an Applied
Biosystems model 377 automated 96-lane DNA sequencer, which is used both
for sequencing and the automated genotyping of microsatellites. The Facility
also supports other applications, including multilocus and single-locus
minisatellite DNA fingerprinting, DNA sequencing and sex typing, and is
prepared to consider extending the range of available techniques, by discussion.
Projects that contribute to the training of research students or others
In most cases, the majority of the bench work is carried out by visitors
to the Facility under the supervision of Facility staff. Training will
be provided, as appropriate. Facility staff will carry out those procedures
that require a high level of training, such as the preparation of enriched
microsatellite libraries, and may complete some smaller projects in their
Successful applicants are provided with training and access to the SMGF
molecular genetics facilities free of charge for an approved time period.
No charge will normally be made for using consumables or equipment in
the Facility, but users must make separate arrangements for their accommodation
and travel costs. Users from outside the UK are welcome but are not eligible
for NERC support and would therefore be subject to an appropriate fee.
If you would like more details or wish to make informal enquiries regarding
the feasibility of your application please visit the Facility's web page
at www.shef.ac.uk/misc/groups/molecol/smgf.html or contact the Facility
Co-ordinator: Deborah Dawson (D.A.Dawson@Sheffield.ac.uk) or Head of Facility:
Prof Terry Burke (T.A.Burke@Sheffield.ac.uk), Department of Animal &
Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield S10