Faculty of Biological Sciences

Prof John Altringham

BA (York) PhD 1981 (St. Andrews)
Professor of Animal Ecology and Conservation
School of Biology

Background: Professor of Biomechanics (Leeds, 1999-)
Lecturer, Sr. Lecturer and Reader (Leeds, 1989-1999)

I studied Biology at the University of York before going on to St Andrews University to carry out a PhD on the physiology and mechanics of fish swimming muscle. I was awarded a NATO Fellowship to work at the University of Washington in Seattle, testing some controversial theories about how muscle worked at the molecular level. I returned to St Andrews to study how muscle has evolved to power locomotion in different animals and different environments, including fish as diverse and fascinating as high-speed tuna and Antarctic ice-fish. A long-standing interest in the biology and conservation of bats led to a major change in the direction of my research and teaching. To help my teaching I wrote Bats: Biology and Behaviour, published in 1996 by OUP, which I'm currently rewriting and expanding. In 2003 my British Bats was published in the long-running New Naturalist series.

Contact:  Manton 8.21d | +44(0) 113 34 32832 | email address for  

You can read more about Prof Altringham's interests here:
www.fbs.leeds.ac.uk/staff/Altringham/


Research Interests

The biology and conservation of bats (and animal mechanics)

graphFor many years I studied how evolution shapes the form and physiology of animals for locomotion, in particular for swimming and flying. To catch food, avoid becoming food, to find a mate or to migrate, animals must be able to move effectively and efficiently if they are to be successful in the evolutionary race. Integrating studies on muscle function with whole animal movement was the major theme of my research.

I then became increasingly interested in bats, with the aim of relating their ability to fly and echolocate to their behaviour, ecology and ultimately, population biology. Despite their small size, bats have a life history strategy of low fecundity and longevity and through their ability to fly, they utilise the landscape on a large scale. Given these factors, and bats' enormous diversity, they have considerable potential as a model group for studying mammalian ecology. Much of my work on bats is driven by a concern for their conservation: the very features which make them interesting also make them vulnerable in an ever more fragmented landscape.

Our research is multi-faceted, using a variety of field and lab-based techniques. In field studies, the foraging and social behaviour of bats is related to the distribution of their resources (e.g. food, roosts, mating and hibernation sites) and to the mating systems that have evolved within the constraints of the system. In the lab, in collaboration with Prof. Roger Butlin at Sheffield University, molecular genetics approaches are used to probe mating systems and to study the effects social structure migration and mating patterns have on population structure. With Prof. Stuart Bearhop at Exeter University and Dr Jason Newton at SUERC (Glasgow) we are using stable isotope analysis to study the migration of swarming bats and trophic niche space.

Some of our research has more immediate practical goals, for example we are currently investigating new techniques for identifying bats in the field from their echolocation calls, surveying and monitoring mating and hibernation sites in need of protection, building GIS-based habitat suitability maps and studying the effects of roads on bats.

Funding for our work currently comes from NERC, DEFRA, The Leverhulme Trust, several conservation charities, including the People's Trust for Endangered Species, and government conservation organisations including Natural England, the Countryside Council for Wales and the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Park Authorities.

Current Projects

  • Swarming ecology of bats
  • Applications of stable isotope analysis to bat ecology
  • Habitat suitability modelling of bats and the application of GIS
  • The effects of roads on bats
  • Automated identification of bats from their calls
  • Survey techniques for woodland bat species
  • The effects of forest fragmentation in the Western Ghats, India
 

Faculty Research and Innovation


Studentship information

Postgraduate studentship areas:

  • Biology and conservation of bats

See also:

Modules managed

BLGY2330 - Terrestrial Ecology and Behaviour Field Course
BLGY3123 - Bats: from Evolution to Conservation
BLGY3241 - Conservation Biology
BLGY5116M - Habitat Management
BLGY5131M - Practical Conservation with the National Trust

Modules taught

BLGY1304 - Research Exp. Skills Level 1
BLGY2301 - Research Experience and Skills Level 2
BLGY2330 - Terrestrial Ecology and Behaviour Field Course
BLGY3021 - Research Project
BLGY3123 - Bats: from Evolution to Conservation
BLGY3241 - Conservation Biology
BLGY3340 - Biology Research Projects
BLGY5107M - Biodiversity & Cons. Skills I
BLGY5116M - Habitat Management
BLGY5131M - Practical Conservation with the National Trust
BLGY5180M - Conservation Skills
BLGY5191M - Biodiversity and Conservation MSc and MRes Summer Project
BLGY5198M - Biodiversity and Conservation MRes Research Project 1

Committees

Member of Graduate School Committee

Centre membership: The Earth and Biosphere Institute

Group Leader Prof John Altringham  (Professor of Animal Ecology and Conservation)

The biology and conservation of bats (and animal mechanics) 


Dr Chloe Bellamy  (Visiting Research Assistant)

Miss Anna Berthinussen  (Research Fellow)


Postgraduates

Thomas Fletcher  
Marion Kauffmann  
Claire Wordley  

Fletcher T; Peakall J; Wignall P; Dorrell R; Altringham J Hydrodynamics of fossil fishes Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 281 -, 2014
DOI:10.1098/rspb.2014.0703
View abstract

Wordley CFR; Foui EK; Mudappa D; Sankaran M; Altringham JD Acoustic identification of bats in the Southern Western Ghats, India Acta Chiropterologica 16 213-222, 2014
DOI:10.3161/150811014X683408
View abstract

Bellamy C; Scott C; Altringham J Multiscale, presence-only habitat suitability models: fine-resolution maps for eight bat species Journal of Applied Ecology 50 892-901, 2013
DOI:10.1111/1365-2664.12117
View abstract

Bradter U; Kunin WE; Altringham JD; Benton TG; Thom TJ Identifying appropriate spatial scales of predictors in species distribution models with the random forest algorithm Methods in Ecology and Evolution 4 167-174, 2013
DOI:10.1111/j.2041-210x.2012.00253.x
View abstract

Angell RL; Butlin RK; Altringham JD Sexual segregation and flexible mating patterns in temperate bats. PLoS One 8 e54194-, 2013
DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0054194
View abstract

Jan C; Altringham JD; Dawson DA; Burke T; Butlin RK Development of conserved microsatellite markers of high cross-species utility in bat species (Vespertilionidae, Chiroptera, Mammalia) Molecular Ecology Resources 12 532-548, 2012
DOI:10.1111/j.1755-0998.2012.03114.x
View abstract

Berthinussen A; Altringham J The effect of a major road on bat activity and diversity JOURNAL OF APPLIED ECOLOGY 49 82-89, 2012
DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2664.2011.02068.x

Rigby EL; Aegerter J; Brash M; Altringham JD Impact of PIT tagging on recapture rates, body condition and reproductive success of wild Daubenton's bats (Myotis daubentonii). Vet Rec 170 101-, 2012
DOI:10.1136/vr.100075
View abstract

Berthinussen A; Altringham J Do bat gantries and underpasses help bats cross roads safely? PLoS One 7 e38775-, 2012
DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0038775
View abstract

Bradter U; Thom TJ; Altringham JD; Kunin WE; Benton TG Prediction of National Vegetation Classification communities in the British uplands using environmental data at multiple spatial scales, aerial images and the classifier random forest J APPL ECOL 48 1057-1065, 2011
DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2664.2011.02010.x

Altringham JD Bats: from evolution to conservation, 2011

Jan CMI; Frith K; Glover AM; Butlin RK; Scott CD; Greenaway F; Ruedi M; Frantz AC; Dawson DA; Altringham JD Myotis alcathoe confirmed in the UK from mitochondrial and microsatellite DNA ACTA CHIROPTEROL 12 471-483, 2010
DOI:10.3161/150811010X538043

Papadatou E; Butlin RK; Pradel R; Altringham JD Sex-specific roost movements and population dynamics of the vulnerable long-fingered bat, Myotis capaccinii BIOL CONSERV 142 280-289, 2009
DOI:10.1016/j.biocon.2008.10.023

Glover AM; Altringham JD Cave selection and use by swarming bat species BIOL CONSERV 141 1493-1504, 2008
DOI:10.1016/j.biocon.2008.03.012

Papadatou E; Butlin RK; Altringham JD Seasonal roosting habits and population structure of the long-fingered bat Myotis capaccinii in Greece J MAMMAL 89 503-512, 2008

Papadatou E; Butlin RK; Altringham JD Identification of bat species in Greece from their echolocation calls ACTA CHIROPTEROL 10 127-143, 2008
DOI:10.3161/150811008X331153

Furmankiewicz J; Altringham JD Genetic structure in a swarming brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus) population: evidence for mating at swarming sites Conservation Genetics 8 913-923, 2007
View abstract

Rivers NM; Butlin RK; Altringham JD Autumn swarming behaviour of Natterer's bats in the UK: Population size, catchment area and dispersal BIOL CONSERV 127 215-226, 2006
DOI:10.1016/j.biocon.2005.08.010

Senior P; Butlin RK; Altringham JD Sex and segregation in temperate bats P ROY SOC B-BIOL SCI 272 2467-2473, 2005
DOI:10.1098/rspb.2005.3237

Rivers NM; Butlin RK; Altringham JD Genetic population structure of Natterer's bats explained by mating at swarming sites and philopatry MOL ECOL 14 4299-4312, 2005
DOI:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2005.02748.x

Pugh M; Altringham JD The effect of gates on cave entry by swarming bats ACTA CHIROPTEROL 7 293-299, 2005

Ellerby DJ; Askew GN; Altringham JD Pectoralis muscle power modulation in small birds, 2004

Altringham JD New Naturalist: British Bats, 2003

Altringham JD Sensory ecology and communication in the Chiroptera In Bat Ecology , 2003

Askew GN; Cox VM; Altringham JD; Goldspink DF Mechanical properties of the latissimus dorsi muscle after cyclic training Journal of Applied Physiology 93 649-659, 2002

Harwood CL; Young IS; Altringham JD How the efficiency of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) ventricular muscle changes with cycle frequency J EXP BIOL 205 697-706, 2002

Ellerby DJ; Altringham JD Spatial variation in fast muscle function of the rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss during fast-starts and sprinting J EXP BIOL 204 2239-2250, 2001

Ellerby DJ; Spierts IL; Altringham JD Fast muscle function in the European eel (Anguilla anguilla L.) during aquatic and terrestrial locomotion. J Exp Biol 204 2231-2238, 2001
View abstract

Ellerby DJ; Spierts ILY; Altringham JD Slow muscle power output of yellow- and silver-phase European eels (Anguilla anguilla L.): Changes in muscle performance prior to migration J EXP BIOL 204 1369-1379, 2001

Altringham JD; Shadwick RE Swimming and muscle function In Tuna: physiological ecology and evolution , 2001

Ellerby D; Altringham JD; Williams T; Block BA Slow Muscle Function of Pacific Bonito (Sarda chiliensis) During Steady Swimming Journal of Experimental Biology 203 2001-2013, 2000

Harwood C; Howarth FC; Altringham JD; White E Rate dependent changes in cell shortening, intracellular calcium and membrane potential in single, isolated rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) ventricular myocytes Journal of Experimental Biology 203 493-504, 2000

Warren RD; Waters DA; Altringham JD; Bullock DJ The distribution of Daubenton's bats (Myotis daubentonii) and pipistrelle bats (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) (Vespertilionidae) in relation to small-scale variation in riverine habitat BIOL CONSERV 92 85-91, 2000

Shilton LA; Altringham JD; Compton SG; Whittaker RJ Old World fruit bats can be long-distance seed dispersers through extended retention of viable seeds in the gut P R SOC B 266 219-223, 1999

Altringham JD; Ellerby D Fish swimming: patterns in muscle function Journal of Experimental Biology 202 3397-3403, 1999

Cheng JY; Pedley TJ; Altringham JD A continuous dynamic beam model for swimming fish PHILOS T ROY SOC B 353 981-997, 1998

Park KJ; Masters E; Altringham JD Social structure of three sympatric bat species (Vespertilionidae) J ZOOL 244 379-389, 1998

Harwood C; Young IS; Altringham JD Influence of cycle frequency, muscle strain and muscle length on work and power production of rainbow trout (Onchorynchus mykiss) ventricular muscle Journal of Experimental Biology 201 2723-2733, 1998

Hammond L; Altringham JD; Wardle CS Myotomal slow muscle function of rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss during steady swimming Journal of Experimental Biology 201 1659-1671, 1998
View abstract

Altringham JD; Block BA Why do tuna maintain elevated slow muscle temperatures? Power output of muscle isolated from endothermic and ectothermic fish Journal of Experimental Biology 200 2617-2627, 1997
View abstract

James RS; Cox VM; Young IS; Altringham JD; Goldspink DF Mechanical properties of rabbit latissimus dorsi muscle after stretch and/or electrical stimulation. J Appl Physiol (1985) 83 398-406, 1997
View abstract

Askew GN; Young IS; Altringham JD Fatigue of mouse soleus muscle using the work loop technique Journal of Experimental Biology 200 2907-2912, 1997

Altringham JD The effects of adrenaline on the work and power generating capacity of rat papillary muscle in vitro Journal of Experimental Biology 200 503-509, 1997

Jones KE; Altringham JD; Deaton R Distribution and population densities of seven species of bat in northern England J ZOOL 240 788-798, 1996

Harwood CL; Young IS; Lee DL; Altringham JD The effect of Trichinella spiralis infection on the mechanical properties of the mammalian diaphragm. Parasitology 113 ( Pt 6) 535-543, 1996
View abstract

James RS; Young IS; Cox VM; Goldspink DF; Altringham JD Isometric and isotonic muscle properties as determinants of work loop power output. Pflugers Arch 432 767-774, 1996
View abstract

Altringham JD Scaling effects in the swimming of the African clawed toad, Xenopus laevis. I. Muscle function Experimental Biology Online 1.6 -, 1996

Park KJ; Altringham JD; Jones G Assortative roosting in two phonic types of bat Pipistrellus pipistrellus during mating season Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B. Biological Sciences 263 1495-1499, 1996
View abstract

Altringham JD Bats: Biology and Behaviour, 1996

Layland J; Young IS; Altringham JD The length dependence of work production in rat papillary muscles in vitro. J Exp Biol 198 2491-2499, 1995
View abstract

Layland J; Young IS; Altringham JD The effect of cycle frequency on the power output of rat papillary muscles in vitro. J Exp Biol 198 1035-1043, 1995
View abstract

James RS; Altringham JD; Goldspink DF The mechanical properties of fast and slow skeletal muscles of the mouse in relation to their locomotory function. J Exp Biol 198 491-502, 1995
View abstract

JAMES RS; YOUNG IS; ALTRINGHAM JD THE EFFECT OF TENDON COMPLIANCE ON IN-VITRO IN-VIVO ESTIMATIONS OF SARCOMERE-LENGTH J EXP BIOL 198 503-506, 1995

Altringham JD Tuning in to fish swimming waves: body form, swimming mode and muscle function. Journal of Experimental Biology 198 1629-1636, 1995

Winter MD; Ball ML; Altringham JD; Lee DL The effect of Trichinella spiralis and Trichinella pseudospiralis on the mechanical properties of mammalian diaphragm muscle. Parasitology 109 ( Pt 1) 129-134, 1994
View abstract

ALTRINGHAM JD HOW DO FISH USE THEIR MYOTOMAL MUSCLE TO SWIM - INVITRO SIMULATIONS OF INVIVO ACTIVITY PATTERNS, 1994

Altringham JD Myotomal muscle function at different points on the body of a swimming fish. Journal of Experimental Biology 182 191-206., 1993

DUNLOP JA; ALTRINGHAM JD; MILL PJ COUPLING BETWEEN THE HEART AND SUCKING STOMACH DURING INGESTION IN A TARANTULA J EXP BIOL 166 83-93, 1992

Young IS; Warren RD; Altringham JD Some properties of the mammalian locomotory and respiratory systems in relation to body mass. J Exp Biol 164 283-294, 1992
View abstract

Worthington J; Young IS; Altringham JD The relationship between body mass and ventilation rate in mammals. J Exp Biol 161 533-536, 1991

Moon TW; Altringham JD; Johnston IA Energetics and power output of isolated fish fast muscle fibres performing oscillatory work. J Exp Biol 158 261-273, 1991
View abstract

Altringham JD; Young IS Power output and the frequency of oscillatory work in mammalian diaphragm muscle: the effects of animal size. J Exp Biol 157 381-389, 1991
View abstract

JOHNSON TP; ALTRINGHAM JD; JOHNSTON IA THE EFFECTS OF CA-2+ AND NEUROMUSCULAR BLOCKERS ON THE ACTIVATION OF FISH MUSCLE-FIBERS J FISH BIOL 38 789-790, 1991

FLEMING JR; CROCKFORD T; ALTRINGHAM JD; JOHNSTON IA EFFECTS OF TEMPERATURE-ACCLIMATION ON MUSCLE-RELAXATION IN THE CARP - A MECHANICAL, BIOCHEMICAL, AND ULTRASTRUCTURAL-STUDY J EXP ZOOL 255 286-295, 1990

ALTRINGHAM JD; JOHNSTON IA SCALING EFFECTS ON MUSCLE FUNCTION - POWER OUTPUT OF ISOLATED FISH MUSCLE-FIBERS PERFORMING OSCILLATORY WORK J EXP BIOL 151 453-467, 1990

ARCHER SD; ALTRINGHAM JD; JOHNSTON IA SCALING EFFECTS ON THE NEUROMUSCULAR SYSTEM, TWITCH KINETICS AND MORPHOMETRICS OF THE COD, GADUS-MORHUA MAR BEHAV PHYSIOL 17 137-146, 1990

ALTRINGHAM JD; JOHNSTON IA MODELING MUSCLE POWER OUTPUT IN A SWIMMING FISH J EXP BIOL 148 395-402, 1990

ALTRINGHAM JD; JOHNSTON IA THE INNERVATION PATTERN OF FAST MYOTOMAL MUSCLE IN THE TELEOST MYOXOCEPHALUS-SCORPIUS - A REAPPRAISAL FISH PHYSIOL BIOCHEM 6 309-313, 1989

LANGFELD KS; ALTRINGHAM JD; JOHNSTON IA TEMPERATURE AND THE FORCE-VELOCITY RELATIONSHIP OF LIVE MUSCLE-FIBERS FROM THE TELEOST MYOXOCEPHALUS-SCORPIUS J EXP BIOL 144 437-448, 1989

ALTRINGHAM JD; JOHNSTON IA ACTIVATION OF MULTIPLY INNERVATED FAST AND SLOW MYOTOMAL MUSCLE-FIBERS OF THE TELEOST MYOXOCEPHALUS-SCORPIUS J EXP BIOL 140 313-324, 1988

JOHNSTON I; ALTRINGHAM J BIOMECHANICS - MUSCLE FUNCTION IN LOCOMOTION NATURE 335 767-768, 1988
DOI:10.1038/335767a0

Altringham JD; Johnston IA The mechanical properties of polyneuronally innervated, myotomal muscle fibres isolated from a teleost fish (Myoxocephalus scorpius). Pflugers Arch 412 524-529, 1988
View abstract

JOHNSTON IA; ALTRINGHAM JD MUSCLE-CONTRACTION IN POLAR FISHES - EXPERIMENTS WITH DEMEMBRANATED MUSCLE-FIBERS COMP BIOCHEM PHYS B 90 547-555, 1988

Johnston I; Altringham J Muscle function in locomotion Nature 335 767-768, 1988

ALTRINGHAM JD; JOHNSTON IA ENERGY-COST OF CONTRACTION IN FAST AND SLOW MUSCLE-FIBERS ISOLATED FROM AN ELASMOBRANCH AND AN ANTARCTIC TELEOST FISH J EXP BIOL 121 239-250, 1986

ALTRINGHAM JD; JOHNSTON IA EVOLUTIONARY ADAPTATION TO TEMPERATURE IN FISH MUSCLE CROSS BRIDGE MECHANISMS - TENSION AND ATP TURNOVER J COMP PHYSIOL B 156 819-821, 1986

ALTRINGHAM JD; JOHNSTON IA THE EFFECTS OF TEMPERATURE ON ATPASE ACTIVITY AND FORCE GENERATION IN SKINNED MUSCLE-FIBERS FROM THE PACIFIC BLUE MARLIN (MAKAIRA-NIGRICANS) EXPERIENTIA 41 1532-1533, 1985

ALTRINGHAM JD; BOTTINELLI R THE DESCENDING-LIMB OF THE SARCOMERE-LENGTH FORCE RELATION IN SINGLE MUSCLE-FIBERS OF THE FROG J MUSCLE RES CELL M 6 585-600, 1985

ALTRINGHAM JD; JOHNSTON IA CHANGES IN TENSION GENERATION AND ATPASE ACTIVITY IN SKINNED MUSCLE-FIBERS OF THE CARP FOLLOWING TEMPERATURE-ACCLIMATION PFLUG ARCH EUR J PHY 403 449-451, 1985

ALTRINGHAM JD; JOHNSTON IA EFFECTS OF PHOSPHATE ON THE CONTRACTILE PROPERTIES OF FAST AND SLOW MUSCLE-FIBERS FROM AN ANTARCTIC FISH J PHYSIOL-LONDON 368 491-500, 1985

JOHNSTON IA; ALTRINGHAM JD EVOLUTIONARY ADAPTATION OF MUSCLE POWER OUTPUT TO ENVIRONMENTAL-TEMPERATURE - FORCE-VELOCITY CHARACTERISTICS OF SKINNED FIBERS ISOLATED FROM ANTARCTIC, TEMPERATE AND TROPICAL MARINE FISH PFLUG ARCH EUR J PHY 405 136-140, 1985

ALTRINGHAM JD; BOTTINELLI R; LACKTIS JW IS STEPWISE SARCOMERE SHORTENING AN ARTIFACT NATURE 307 653-655, 1984

ALTRINGHAM JD; POLLACK GH SARCOMERE-LENGTH CHANGES IN SINGLE FROG-MUSCLE FIBERS DURING TETANI AT LONG SARCOMERE LENGTHS ADV EXP MED BIOL 170 473-493, 1984

ALTRINGHAM JD; JOHNSTON IA THE PCA-TENSION AND FORCE-VELOCITY CHARACTERISTICS OF SKINNED FIBERS ISOLATED FROM FISH FAST AND SLOW MUSCLES J PHYSIOL-LONDON 333 421-449, 1982

ALTRINGHAM JD; YANCEY PH; JOHNSTON IA THE EFFECTS OF OSMOREGULATORY SOLUTES ON TENSION GENERATION BY DOGFISH SKINNED MUSCLE-FIBERS J EXP BIOL 96 443-445, 1982

ALTRINGHAM JD; JOHNSTON IA QUANTITATIVE HISTOCHEMICAL-STUDIES OF THE PERIPHERAL INNERVATION OF COD (GADUS-MORHUA) FAST MYOTOMAL MUSCLE-FIBERS J COMP PHYSIOL 143 123-127, 1981

ALTRINGHAM JD; YANCEY PH; JOHNSTON IA LIMITATIONS IN THE USE OF ACTOMYOSIN THREADS AS MODEL CONTRACTILE SYSTEMS NATURE 287 338-340, 1980