René Swift, sometimes known as rs232, Curly Flat or FunkyFinWhale, is a research assistant within the D-Tag Lab and part time PhD student in the Miller Lab. René has an honours degree in Zoology from the University of Edinburgh, a Masters degree in Oceanography from the University of Southampton, and 18 years of field experience. René could be called a “jack of all trades and a master of none”; and he has broad research interests in acoustic ecology, the impact of anthropogenic noise in the oceans, estimating abundance using acoustic methods, and sensory & foraging ecology in baleen whales. René is happiest in the field or in the lab creating things with his hands.
Tag lab: I am biologist with engineering pretensions and working for Mark in the D-Tag lab has allowed me to understand “what makes it work”. I am involved in all aspects of work in lab and this old dog has learnt many new skills. In particular we are currently developing new tools that give scientists an animals’ eye view of the prey field.
PhD subject: Predator prey interactions in the open ocean. Foraging and sensory ecology in baleen whales.
Blue, fin and humpack whales, are some of the largest animals to live on the planet, yet feed on some of the smallest and most abundant prey (krill and schooling fish). Despite advances in technology and increasing research effort, we still don’t know how these ocean giants detect their prey or understand the cues that might be available to them at different scales in the ocean. My research uses sound and movement tags (Little Leonardo 3MPD3T and D-Tag3) coupled with prey field sampling (Simrad Ek60) to begin to tease apart some of these questions. As part of this research I have written several Matlab scripts that allow users to analyse Little Leonardo data using the D-Tag toolbox. For more information: Funky Fin Whale Weblog
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