Jamie Thompson – Research Technician
Born and bred in the Leeds area, within the small commuter town of Guiseley, West Yorkshire, I did not have to venture too far from home pastures in order to study MBiolSci. Zoology at The University of Sheffield from 2008-2012.
Here, I developed a particular interest for the field of behavioural and evolutionary ecology, and it was not long – in fact, during my first year of undergraduate studies – that I first met Professor Tim Birkhead and Dr. Nicola Hemmings and began an enjoyable working relationship that exists to this day. Throughout this time, I have delved into a number of projects touching upon various areas in behavioural and evolutionary ecology from problem solving and sperm selection in zebra finches, to guillemot social and breeding behaviour and biology.
Since graduating, I have acted as a research assistant/technician for the TRB lab and I am currently contracted to remain in this position until mid-2016.
Previous project/dissertation topics I have been involved in include:
• Examining problem solving ability in inbred and outbred zebra finches
• Examining the potential ecological and evolutionary importance of animal innovation
• Examining the possible specificity of successfully fertilising sperm
• Understanding sperm competition and selection processes in the zebra finch
As well as involvement in academic projects for my undergraduate studies, I have also assisted in gathering information for a number of book projects Professor Tim Birkhead has gone on to publish including Bird Sense and Ten Thousand Birds.
Currently, I find myself involved on an ERC-funded research project, led by both Professor Tim Birkhead and Dr. Nicola Hemmings, examining and understanding sperm selection mechanisms and the allometric effects on such processes, using a number of bird species.
As well as involvement in this sperm selection project, after being involved previously in a number of outreach events at The University of Sheffield, I am eagerly and excitedly, along with others in the lab, involved in discussions and developments of ideas for future outreach events in relation to our work – watch this space!
During those times when I allow myself to switch off from science, I find myself following – perhaps foolishly – Bradford Bulls in rugby league, and Sheffield Steelers and Vancouver Canucks in ice hockey. When I am not devotedly following these teams, I try to enjoy various music events, along with reading and the odd spot of running or ice skating. I also enjoy appreciating the nice selection of ales at various pubs in Sheffield, whilst socialising with friends and, last but not least, I savour those occasions when I can get out to a lovely bit of countryside and view the wildlife (especially birds!).