Broadly speaking, my interests lie in working to understand how wild animals cope with and adapt to changing environments. My research background has primarily involved addressing questions relating ecology to thermal biology, stress-physiology, energetics and bioacoustics, with a particular focus on using advanced technologies to collect data.
I’m currently working on the CITISENSE Project (ERC, Wouter Halfwerk), which aims to identify effects of urbanisation (specifically light and noise pollution) on signal evolution in túngara frogs. My main role is to develop an artificial evolution experiment, which will explore the fitness consequences of variation in call parameters between urban and rural habitats. The project will employ machine learning to automatically identify responses of females, predators and parasites – recorded in the field – to playback of synthesised male advertisement calls. Based on these responses, we will use a quantitative genetic approach to determine subsequent generations of calls, and so predict how traits might develop or diverge, as a result of urbanisation.
Additionally, I am investigating the use of near-field coherent sensing (NCS) – a radio-based technology – to non-invasively assess vital signs in frogs. NCS transmits radio waves at the subject, which are reflected back from the subject’s body to a receiving antenna. Body movements (external and internal) are captured by the returning waves, allowing breathing and heart rates to be inferred. Once validated, I plan to employ NCS to study the responses of frogs to a range of stressors. Also, as metabolic rate can be estimated from heart rate, I will use NCS to examine the energetic costs of male calling behaviour, including among groups of competing individuals. Being non-invasive, NCS has the particular advantage of allowing both applications to be conducted in the frogs’ natural environment, without interrupting natural behaviours.
Jerem, P., Mathews, F. (2020) Trends and knowledge gaps in field research investigating effects of anthropogenic noise: a systematic review. Conservation Biology (doi: 10.1111/cobi.13510 – online ahead of print)
Jerem, P., Jenni-Eiermann, McCafferty, D., McKeegan, D., Nager, R. (2019) Eye region surface temperature dynamics during acute stress relate to baseline glucocorticoids independently of environmental conditions. Physiology & Behavior, 210:112627.
Herborn, K. A., Jerem, P., Evans, N. P., Nager, R., McCafferty, D. J., & McKeegan, D. E. (2018) Skin temperature elevated by chronic stress. Physiology & Behavior 191, 47-55.
Jerem, P., Jenni-Eiermann, S., Herborn, K., McCafferty, D., McKeegan, D., Nager, R. (2018) Eye region surface temperature reflects both energy reserves and circulating glucocorticoids in a wild bird. Nature Scientific Reports, 8:1907.
Herborn, K. A., Graves, J. L., Jerem, P., Evans, N. P., Nager, R., McCafferty, D. J., & McKeegan, D. E. (2015) Skin temperature reveals the intensity of acute stress. Physiology & Behavior, 152, 225-230.
Jerem, P., Herborn, K., McCafferty, D., McKeegan, D., Nager, R. (2015) Thermal imaging to study stress non-invasively in unrestrained birds. Journal of Visualized Experiments, 105.