Congratulations to Ryan Kempster, who made it into the
final round of the international Three Minute Thesis competition held at the
Octagon Theatre at UWA on 29 September.
is a marine neurobiologist at The UWA Oceans
Institute and School of Animal Biology studying the sensory biology of sharks.
Three Minute Thesis competition - or 3MT as it's known - PhD candidates have to talk about their research in an engaging way in only three minutes, in
language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.
Ryan spoke on ‘Survival of the stillest: predator avoidance strategies of
The talk focused on how shark embryos that develop in an egg sack outside
their mother's body can avoid being eaten by would-be predators by detecting
the minute electrical fields of the predators.
Ryan is undertaking a
four-year research program at UWA to further
understand the role of electroreception - the sensitive electrical signals
sharks use to detect prey and predators - in the feeding behaviour of
elasmobranchs (fish with cartilage skeletons).
Such work is useful is determining how sharks respond to
other electrical fields, such as those being developed for shark repellent
Earlier in the year, Ryan won the UWA heat of Three
Minute Thesis competition.
In the 3MT semi-finals on 29 September, Ryan competed
against 42 other researchers from Australia, New Zealand and Fiji and won his
way to become one of the Top 11 speakers competing in the final.
The eventual winner was Matthew Thompson, of the
University of Queensland, who spoke about his research involving more accurate
Runner up was Suzie Ferie, of the University of Sydney,
whose research focuses on determining the nutritional needs of patients in