Author: Andrew

  • How do animals perceive time?

    Good question Daniel from Gizmodo! Cavefish can ‘keep time’ via the circadian clock but whether they perceive it and what keeping time means when you’re underground is a mystery. Other researchers give more information in Daniel’s article: Gizmodo asks – How do animals perceive time?

  • Rhythms in red blood cells and the ever-present casein kinase

    My latest research was published in Journal of Biological Rhythms this week. It is open access here: Casein Kinase 1 Underlies Temperature Compensation of Circadian Rhythms in Human Red Blood Cells.

  • Sleep during the early stages of urbanisation

    This week, I publised an article entitled Comparison between an African town and a neighbouring village shows delayed, but not decreased, sleep during the early stages of urbanisation in the journal Scientific Reports. The article is Open Access, which means it is freely available for all to read. I hope the research has contributed to the discussion […]

  • Jet lag – the disadvantage of having a clock in the modern world

    Air travel challenges our bodies in a way that has never before been encountered in our evolutionary history. It allows us to move rapidly across multiple timezones, quicker than we could have ever moved by foot or animal. Unfortunately, our bodies are unable to adjust quickly enough. We are constrained by our circadian clocks, the things that give our bodies a […]

  • The Mount Mulanje Pygmy Chameleon

    By far the rarest animal that I have encountered during my time in Mozambique has been the Mount Mulanje Pygmy Chameleon, Rhampholeon platyceps. A stunning little creature, it is endemic to the Mulanje massif, only being found in the southern and eastern-facing mid and high altitude evergreen forest of the massif. This includes the Ruo Gorge, where we came […]

  • Do we have the right to eradicate species?

    While living in Mozambique I have seen first-hand the tremendous suffering caused by mosquitoes and the diseases that they transmit, especially in children. Friends have lost children to malaria and, in this rainy season especially, neighbours are frequently coming down with the disease. According to the Gates Foundation, malaria, transmitted by the mosquito Anopheles gambiae, caused 627,000 […]

  • What can a blind cavefish tell us about circadian clocks?

    Circadian clocks and a revolving planet go hand-in-hand. But why so many plants and animals have a circadian clock from an evolutionary perspective is relatively unknown. One way to find out is to study animals that live in non-rhythmic environments. And at the end of 2013, my team published a study on exactly that: the […]

  • Presentiment – circadian clocks giving plants and animals a sense of time

    Presentiment is that long shadow on the lawn Indicative that suns go down; The notice to the startled grass That darkness is about to pass. Emily Dickinson Sometimes you find in literature beautiful expressions of technical terms that are otherwise dry and stuffy. Presentiment, by Emily Dickinson, is one of those beautiful expressions. Why did […]

  • Solstice

    In the northern hemisphere, today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. The Solstice normally falls on either the 21st or the 22nd, the date changing based on the exact position of the north pole in relation to the sun. This is the same reason why we have leap years – our […]

  • Parasitoid wasps and GM butterflies

    Foreign pieces of DNA are found in the genomes of many animals – these ‘Genomic parasites‘ are pure, genome hopping pieces of DNA code which embed their lifecycle within the DNA in our own cells. You could call this genomic parasitisation a form of genetic modification, just as scientists in labs the world over use […]