Tuesday, June 2, 2009
What could one do with 250 000 SEK? A stepping stone towards a thermal image camera
Well, today I found out that I was awarded 250 000 SEK from The Crafoord Foundation, which is for an application I did send in this winter to buy a thermal image camera. This type of camera does of course cost more (around 400 000), but it is at least a start, and hopefully more money from other funding sources will come in so that I can eventually buy it to my research laboratory.
As some of you already know, I am interested in thermal image camera as a novel tool to quantify insect thermoregulation, and relate such variation to other interesting things, such as genotypes, phenotypes (e. g. wing colouration patterns), species or heritable colour morphs.
One recent scientific application where such an IR-camera has been used has been to look at differences between pygmy phenotypes in humans and normal-sized people (see picture above). One of the hypotheses for the evolution of small stature in many populations of humans inhabiting rainforest environments across the globe (Asia, Africa, South America) has been that short men and women do not have as much trouble with excess heat as tall men and women. This thermoregulation hypothesis, as well as other adaptive hypotheses for the evolution of the pygmy phenotype was recently discussed in a TREE-review by Perry and Dominier.
Back to the Crafoord Foundation. Although I am somewhat disappointed that I did not get the full amount I applied for, I am definitely happy that my hard-working scientific "Animal Ecology"-colleagues Staffan Bensch, Anders Hedenström and Susanne Åkesson also got grants from Crafoord. Money is not everything in research. But with money one can (sometimes!) do good research.