Welcome to The Albatross Project

We are very excited to announce the launch of the Albatross Project blog!

This blog will primarily serve as a way for the members of our team to communicate our research to both the public and other researchers. We also hope to give a bit of insight into the research process. Research papers and popular media tend to portray science as a linear process: either slow and steady, or with big leaps, but always knowing where you’re going. The reality is often very different.

For me the path to this project has been slow and circuitous. I came across an advertisement for a position at the British Antarctic Survey by chance while I was a postdoc at the University of Cambridge. I applied for the job, got an interview and met Richard Phillips (collaborating on this project) along with Mervyn Freeman and Nick Watkins, who together had worked on a project evaluating Levy flight models for albatross movement. In my interview I suggested that a better way forward may be to build more biologically explicit foraging models, such as state dependent foraging models. I didn’t get the job. But Mervyn and Richard were interested enough in my ideas to collaborate on a couple of grant proposals (unsuccessful) and to co-mentor a summer student. Then my position at Cambridge ended and I thought that the albatross work was behind me. Instead I started focusing on other things including a cool, new (to me) approach called Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) theory. I still was thinking about albatrosses occasionally, but I knew I couldn’t do much until I had my own lab. So I waited…

Almost 5 years after I met Richard and Mervyn, with my new appointment to USF and a new collaborator, Sadie Ryan, I got to dream about albatrosses again. Combining my old ideas with new methods (including DEB) and Sadie’s spatial and data experience, we were successful in getting funding for this project. I am really excited about the possibilities, and looking forward to sharing with you all.