After 24 years I have finally completed my PhD after starting my research on penguins and other seabirds in 1990. Oh I was awarded my PhD in 1994 but the final piece of research from that study was published this week in the journal Cladistics. Just to match the gravitas of the situation some photos of penguins that we had sent in were used on the cover of the journal. It's a curious fact about scientific data that some data can be out of date (or superceded) before the study is even completed whereas other data can be as relevant 100 years later. Luckily, my penguin behaviour data was of the long-lived variety. My PhD, at the University of Otago, looked at trait evolution in seabirds. One part of the research was on coevolution of feather lice and seabirds while the other was on behaviour evoultion in the same seabirds. I submitted and defended my thesis in 1993/1994, a time when Clinton was running for president, the biggest earning film was a Disney film (The Lion King), the soccer world cup was about to take place and Russian troops were being ordered into a former soviet area (Chechnya).
|Yellow-eyed Penguins - chilling!|
And then my coauthors, my former supervisors Graham Wallis (University of Otago) and Russell Gray (University of Auckland) and my colleague with interests in behavioural evolution (and one of my groomsmen!) Martyn Kennedy (University of Otago), waited. And waited. And waited. After repeatedly checking with the editor we finally got our reviews back 16 months later!
|Yellow-eyed penguins: still chilling|