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Lloyd Davis's Research Interests

Penguins on the Screen

Penguins are arguably the world’s most loved animals. With documentaries like March of the Penguins and animated feature films like Happy Feet, penguins have proven to be the kings of the box office – but this is not a recent phenomenon. Lloyd has been examining the portrayal of penguins on screen from the time of the Antarctic cinematographers like Frank Hurley to natural historians like David Attenborough and finds that penguins have always proven to be a major curiosity for us. However, the persona of penguins as portrayed on the screen often bears little resemblance to the real thing. Lloyd has been investigating whether it matters when it comes to communicating the science associated with penguins.

Enhancing Communication Skills in Science Students using New Media

This project is designed to develop the graduate attributes of science students via science communication, specifically through student publication on the web – a medium of learning and publication that students find engaging, staff increasingly see as practical, and employers value as relevant. The web also offers ready opportunities for cross-university and international collaboration, the latter having particular appeal for universities with a strong international focus in research and/or teaching.

Lloyd's co-investigators are Will Rifkin (University of Sydney), Nancy Longnecker (University of Western Australia) and Joan Leach (University of Queensland).

The project is attempting to identify, develop, and disseminate teaching strategies and resources suited to large classes in science; strategies that have students creating "new media," such as podcasts, blogs, webzines, and web sites. New media are an appropriate focus not only because of their increasing relevance professionally but because they engage university students in authentic tasks and work-integrated learning, strategies that have proven effective in development of graduate attributes.

Science of Wine

Wine, in many ways, encapsulates so much about science: from geography to geology, from botany to chemistry, from ecology to physiology. Name a science and it is almost certain that it will apply in some way to the production and consumption of wine. This project is using wine and viticulture as a vehicle for communicating science relating to climate, soils, topography, landscape and winemaking. As part of this, students in SCOM 403 have been writing a blog about the science of wine.

The Representation of Climate Change and Environmental Stories on Television News

Climate Change has been identified as the single most important threat facing the future of humankind and the ecology of our planet Earth. Yet studies show that the vast majority of the public do not understand the science or the evidence as to why human-induced global warming should pose such a risk. By and large, the main source of information on climate change for the public comes from television news.

Working in association with Bienvenido Leon (University of Navarra, Spain), as well as Jenny and Michael Bourk from the University of Otago, this study sets out to ask the question: how are climate change and other environmental issues reported on television news broadcasts in New Zealand and Spain?

National Parks as vehicles for Science Communication

Just as winemaking as a process encapsulates aspects of virtually all sciences, national parks are internationally recognized venues that can be foci for a multitude of science stories.

By definition, national parks are usually associated with a region of special significance. Often this will include sites of geological or geographical uniqueness. Often national parks will contain unique combinations of flora and fauna.

Most marketing and information about national parks promotes the key points of interest in a superficial "gee whiz" sort of way. Yet these attractions typically have major science stories sitting behind them – from Yellowstone's Old Faithful geyser to the kiwis of Rakiura. This project is looking to unveil those stories and measure the effectiveness of using well-known landmarks and iconic creatures as a means of conveying science.