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Sir David Attenborough presents some of our research

  • Date21 March 2018

Two episodes of Natural Curiosities, presented by the eminent and inspirational Sir David Attenborough who came to Royal Holloway to film some of our research in the School of Biological Sciences, were shown on BBC 2.



Dr Steve Portugal, Senior Lecturer in Animal Behaviour and Physiology at Royal Holloway, is pictured with Sir David in the Bourne teaching laboratory during filming for Natural Curiosities, a nature documentary series which examines some of Nature’s weird and wonderful through the work of scientists.

Episode five of the series, Incredible Shells, at 8pm on Friday 23 March, features Dr Portugal’s research on how the eggshells of different species are adapted to their specific nest environment, both in structure, colour and physiology. Eggshells work in various ways to protect the young inside until they hatch, and present some of the most striking colours and diverse patterns to be found in the animal kingdom 

Episode six, Ferocious Fighters at 8pm on Saturday 24 March, highlights Dr Portugal’s study of aggression physiology in fish, to show how air breathing fish like Siamese fighting fish have a trade-off between keeping up aggressive displays to other males while maintaining enough O2 stores. Their increased energetic requirement during display necessitates more trips to the surface and this can put individuals at risk from surface-based predation and attack from behind.

Dr Portugal said,

“Having Sir David Attenborough and members of the Natural Curiosities Production team here for three days filming our research with us was a thrilling experience, and we hope that everyone will enjoy watching the end results.”

The shows will be available online shortly after broadcast.

Find out more about the research and study opportunities in the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway here

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