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OU on the BBC: Rules of Life - Meet Aubrey

Updated Wednesday, 9th November 2005


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Aubrewy with meerkats

Aubrey Manning is acknowledged as one of the country's leading experts on animal behaviour. He has been published widely and is author (and co-author with Marian Dawkins) of An Introduction to Animal Behaviour , now in its 5th edition with Cambridge University Press. His main research areas concern the genetics, development and evolution of behaviour in drosophila and mice.

He is also known for his work as a presenter for such programmes as BBC2's ‘Earth Story’ (1998, repeated 2001), BBC 2's ‘Talking Landscapes’ (2001, repeated 2002).and, with The Open University, 'Landscape Mysteries' (2003).  He has also presented five series of Radio 4's 'Unearthing Mysteries' , 'Sounds of Life' and one series of ‘Origins: the Human Connection’.

Aubrey was born in Chiswick, London in 1930. When WW2 broke out the family moved to Surrey - Englefield Green on the hill above Egham and Runnymede - and Aubrey can connect his love of the natural world and thus his career as a zoologist, to those days at the age of ten and being in 'the country' for the first time.

After attending a small grammar school in Egham he went straight to University College London and read zoology, doing well enough to get a place in Niko Tinbergen's group at Oxford for research on animal behaviour - his life-long career interest. National Service for two years followed Oxford and in 1956 he 'was lucky enough' to be offered the post of assistant lecturer at the University of Edinburgh.

He has been with the University ever since, having fallen in love with the place and Scotland as a whole. In 1959 he became a lecturer, in 1968, a reader, then in 1973 Professor of Natural History and in 1997, Professor Emeritus. He has been involved in environmental issues since 1966.

He has been bestowed many honours awarded many prizes for his work. In 1997, he was awarded the Dobzhansky Medal from the Behaviour Genetics Association and the ASAB medal in 1998. Among the many posts he has held are: Chairman of Edinburgh Brook Advisory Centre (1978-82), Chairman of Council, Scottish Wildlife Trust (1990-96) and is currently a trustee of the National Museums of Scotland. He holds honorary Doctorates from University Paul Sabatier (Toulouse) and The Open University.

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