Introducing our 2nd Leeds Uni masters candidate

June 20, 2012 by dyertrust

Lauren Duffield – University of Leeds

I am originally from Birmingham in the UK, and have spent the past four years at the University of Leeds, having completed my undergraduate degree (BSc Hons. Ecology and Environmental Biology) in July of 2011. I began my masters degree (MRes Biodiversity and Conservation) the following September, also at the University of Leeds.

I have always been fascinated by carnivorous animals, the different strategies they have evolved in order to outwit their prey, as well as the power they display when they are bringing it down. As with many modern-day biologists, I have been greatly inspired by nature documentaries, which I used to watch avidly as a child, the fantastic scenes on the screen always led to questions of why and how. I now feel privileged to be part of a global team of scientists striving to answer these questions, and really enjoy the whole process of biological research.

During the next two months, I will be collecting data on the white sharks behavioural responses to certain stimuli. This is to ascertain whether the sharks display distinct individual differences in their responses to these stimuli, and whether these responses are affected by the size and sex of the sharks. Studies of the personality of animals is a relatively recent development in behavioural ecology, and the white shark will provide another behavioural model for scientists to explore the phenomenon of individual differences in behaviour.

So far at Marine Dynamics, I have enjoyed fantastic visibility in the water, which really helps with my research, and had some of the most memorable experiences of my life so far! The next two months will be absolutely amazing and I will be extremely sad to leave this beautiful place.

When I have finished my masters degree, I hope to go on to do a PhD, and have my eye on one at the University of British Colombia, studying orca behaviour!