Journal Comparative Physiology Ed Board


What was I thinking!?

Seriously, though, I’ve just been invited by Professor Heldmaier to be a member of the Journal of Comparative Physiology B editorial board.  I am honoured!  More especially as one my earliest memories of an influential paper was Heldmaier and Ruf’s 1992 paper on “Body temperature and metabolic rate during natural hypothermia in endotherms” published in J Comp Physiol B.  Their paper really helped to spark my interest in hibernation and thermoregulation as it so elegantly explained concepts that can trip up any novice student of physiology.  Anyhow, it is an honour to be part of Dr. Heldmaier’s team.

So, now, I put out a call to anyone reading this post to consider submitting their comparative physiology research to J Comp Physiol B for consideration.


Symposium in Seville – July 2019

Come join us in Seville next year to present on or listen to a great line up of speakers presenting on heat exchange with the environment.


When the call for abstracts come out, please consider submitting a topic that we might be able to feature in the symposium.

And by the end of our session, you should be able to put this type of image into context!


Alas, my co-organiser, Dr. Dom McCafferty is 5-6 hours ahead of me and has already posted this!

Unreasonable requests…

A letter I wrote explaining why I declined to review a manuscript for PLOS One:

Dear PLOS One,

I am sorry, but 10 days is an unreasonable turn around time to request a peer reviewer. I prefer to focus my peer review activities toward journals that outwardly promote work-life balance and value the peer reviewers’ busy schedules. I realise PLOS one is a large journal so I would ask that these comments not be taken personally, but perhaps be passed along to someone who might be able to effect change. Let PLOS One set an example by returning to the halcyon days of a 3 week turn around request time for reviews and providing reviewers with compensation for their time! I know that won’t happen, but if reviewers don’t explain their reasons for declining to review, how will journals change their practises. As a fee based journal, this is something that could potentially be structured into the publication costs.


This evoked an immediate and sympathetic response from the editor, and as a result I think it only fair that I agree to review the manuscript now.  I guess I cannot really be unreasonable to the scientific editor or the authors.  Now if we can only convince the journals to stop obsessing over rapid turnaround times, and recognise that volunteers are what keep their machines running.



Visiting Pymatuning

One of the pleasures of academia is the “seminar invite”.  I just returned from a visit to the University of Pittsburgh Pyamunting Laboratory of Ecology.  Only a 3 hour drive from my house:


Many thanks to Dr. Corinne Zawacki for the invitation and for hosting me and showing me around the field station.  This truly is an impressive place for doing field research.  Hopefully we can collaborate in the future.

Thanks also to my supportive grad students (who put up with disappearances) and the unwitting co-authors (Ray Danner, Jaime Chaves, Danielle Levesque).  I was speaking about our research on Darwin’s finches….

The flight of the carpenter bee

I’ve often thought that I wait too long to post anything about research until it has been completed.  However, in this case I make an exception.  We were able to get our flight mill working today with a male carpenter bee!  Video evidence below:


Full credit to the two fantastic high school mentorship students (Hailin Wang and Sam Langdon) who built the flight mill with the assistance of Brock University’s Electronic’s Shop and Machine Shop, and to Miriam Richards, my colleague in all matters related to bees.

Now, we simply have to put the final touches and hopefully Lyndon Duff (Miriam’s PhD student) will be flying bees this summer.


Visitor to the lab

The lab has recently had the pleasure of hosting a Post-Doctoral Fellow visitor to the lab (funded by an Aharon Ephraim Katzir Study Grant – Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities).  Dr. Vlad Demartsev, from Tel Aviv University, has been spending the past 4 weeks in the cold of Canada (mostly indoors) learning the ins and outs of infrared thermal imaging, video analysis, and open-source data extraction methods we have been  developing, and will be taking his skills back home where he plans to incorporate this with his research into animal communication (here is a link to his recent paper on male Hyrax singing).

Here he is at the Toronto Zoo doing his best impression of a meerkat (many thanks to the African mammal keepers at the Toronto Zoo for allowing us the chance to visit!).


It was a great pleasure to have Vlad visit.  I only wish I had more time to spare to interact with him and his family.  I guess the solution will be to visit him in Israel or South Africa!  Stay tuned to this space…


Thermimage 3.1.0 Update on CRAN

Dear package maintainer,
> this notification has been generated automatically.
> Your package Thermimage_3.1.0.tar.gz has been built for Windows and
> will be published within 24 hours in the corresponding CRAN directory.
> R version 3.4.2 (2017-09-28)
> All the best,
> (Maintainer of binary packages for Windows)

Here is the link:

How to cite:
Glenn J. Tattersall. (2017, December 3). Thermimage: Thermal Image Analysis (Version v3.1.0). Zenodo.


Classic Article by Bob Boutilier

Our article just came out in the Journal of Experimental Biology!  A few months ago, I was invited by Kathryn Knight of the JEB, to write a classic article highlighting a piece of work by Bob Boutilier that might be considered “classic”.  Bob was my PhD supervisor, who passed away far too young.  Choosing an article that would be deemed a “classic” was initially daunting, since, by definition, a classic might be the “most influential” or “most cited”.  I decided to go with my gut, and choose one of Bob’s papers that was crucial to my own training in comparative physiology, and invited Warren Burggren to help pen a thoughtful tribute to Bob.  Here is the link to the article:

Extrapulmonary Loop.jpg