Joanna Hedley BVM&S DZooMed (Reptilian) DipECZM (Herpetology) MRCVS


Jo qualified from Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in 2003 and spent time in mixed, small animal, exotic and wildlife practice before undertaking a residency in Exotic Animal and Wildlife medicine back at R(D)SVS. She obtained her RCVS Diploma in Zoological Medicine in 2012 and ECZM specialist status in herpetology in 2014. She is currently Head of the Exotics Service at the Royal Veterinary College in London, where she has established the exotics clinical service and is developing student teaching.

Professor Graham Martin BSc, PhD, DSc

Emeritus Professor in Avian Sensory Science

Centre for Ornithology, University of Birmingham


Professor Graham Martin did graduate work at the University of Exeter into the sensory bases of nocturnal activity in owls. He followed this with Post-Doctoral work at The University of Sussex on the function of coloured oil droplets in the colour vision of pigeons. He took up his first post at the University of Birmingham in 1976 as a lecturer in Biology based in the then Department of Extramural Studies and the then Department of Zoology and Comparative Physiology. He became head of the School of Continuing Studies and also held a central University post for regional Development. However, he always based his research in Biosciences.

He moved full time to the School of Biosciences in 2002 where he established the Centre for Ornithology and set up the MSc programme in Ornithology, the only such programme in Europe. His research has been into the senses of birds, mainly their vision and hearing, and has always attempted to understand these from the perspective of understanding how sensory information helps birds to carry out different tasks in different environments. He has published papers on more than 60 species, from Albatrosses and Penguins, to Spoonbills and Kiwi. He has collaborated and travelled widely and pondered diverse sensory challenges that birds face in the conduct of different tasks in different habitats, from mudflats and murky waters, to forests, deserts and caves. In recent years he has focused on how understanding bird senses can help to reduce the very high levels of bird deaths that are caused by human artefacts; particularly, wind turbines, power lines, and gill nets. In early 2017 his book on The Sensory Ecology of Birds was published by Oxford University Press.

In 2010 he delivered a Plenary lecture about his work in Avian Sensory Ecology to the International Ornithological Congress in Brazil, just before taking retirement and being awarded the title of Emeritus Professor. He continues to research avian senses. He has been active in ornithology having edited the journal Bird Study on behalf of the British Trust for Ornithology for six years, he was Vice-President of the British Ornithologist’s Union, Council member of the European Ornithologists’ Union, and chaired the Scientific Programme Committee for the EOU2015 conference held in Spain.

Rudiger Korbel

Professor Korbel studied veterinary medicine in Munich, graduating in 1984. He then specialised and completed his habilitation at the Clinic for Birds in Munich. He was then a guest professor at the Clinic for Poultry at the University of Vienna followed by an appointment at the Raptor Centre at the University of Minnesota. Since then he has been the Head and Director of the Clinic for Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians and Ornamental Fish at the Vet School at the University Ludwig Maximilian of Munich, Germany.


His professional interests include imaging techniques and medical photography, orthopaedics, anaesthesia and ophthalmology, with special emphasis on visual perception and animal welfare related aspects of poultry keeping.

Professor Ron Douglas BSc, PhD


Department of Optometry and Visual Science, City University London


After university education at Sussex, Santa Barbara and Stirling, and postdoctoral positions in Ulm and Sussex, I joined the staff of City, University of London in 1984, where I am still trying to teach optometry students the rudiments of human anatomy, physiology and pathology.  The main focus of my research, however, is not humans, but the visual system of fish, especially those that live in the deep-sea largely beyond the reach of sunlight.  To this end I have spent long periods of time at sea on research vessels. However, I have also worked on the eyes of shallow water fish and cephalopods, and have occasionally even ventured onto dry land, publishing work on the eyes of amphibia, reptiles, and mammals.  I even looked at chickens once!  My areas of interest include; retinal morphology, pupillometry, visual pigments, lens biology, visual optics and psychophysical studies of colour vision and depth perception.  My motivation for research is simple interest in the natural world.  Unlike my audience today, I have never knowingly done anything useful!

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