If money and time was no object, what research idea would you investigate?

I would see whether I can turn bears into pandas (I expect that it might only take as short as 100 generations).

Who was your PhD supervisor, and what was the best thing you learned from them?

I had two: Prof Terry Burke and Prof Ben Hatchwell. I learnt that there are many ways to be successful as an academic.

Which paper of yours is your favourite? (and why)

Nakagawa, S. Lagisz, M., Hector, K. L. & Spencer, H. G. (2012) Comparative and meta-analytic insights into life extension via dietary restriction. Aging Cell. 11:401-409

This is nice because we used an evolutionary principle to non-evolutionary datasets.

What is the worst review you’ve ever had?

It said something like “this manuscript is a joke and laughable”!

Which other evolutionary biologist’s work do you most admire and why?

If I choose from ones still alive, Sean Carroll (the author of “Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo”). Of course he is a top scientist. He is also a wonderful writer and seems to enjoy his life.

Do you prefer reading Dawkins or Gould?

Dawkins because Gould’s writing is too arty for me.

What is your earliest memory?

A few years ago? I seem to have older memories but they probably come from photos, which I see afterwards.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Charles Darwin and Martin Luther King, Jr – I admire both and interesting to see what they would talk about.

What was the last film you saw? (any good?)

The Life of Pi – I saw this in 3D. Most beautiful – highly recommended

Who would win a fight between a kiwi and an echidna?

I need to support a kiwi as my kids are kiwis although I suspect poisonous echidnas have a better shot.

Which do your prefer – Beer or wine? (and what type?)

Beer (ale) but I have all beer, red wine and white wine nearly every night.

Tell us a secret that your colleagues don’t know about you

I watch Japanese animations excessively on Youtube.

Dr Shinichi Nakagawa, is a Rutherford Fellow and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Zoology at the University of Otago. He runs the Behavioural Ecology Research Group there, but his evolutionary interests span an extraordinary diversity of questions from bird mating systems, to neuroscience, to gerontology, to statistical methods. For more information see his research group webpage