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Bristol graduate to present new natural history TV series

Patrick Aryee filming for the new series BBC

Press release issued: 19 August 2014

Patrick Aryee, a University of Bristol graduate, will co-present a new three-part BBC series that explores the super senses of the animal kingdom.

Patrick, who graduated with a BSc in Cancer Biology from the School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, will present Super Senses: The Secret Power of Animals, with physicist Helen Czerski.

The show reveals how animal senses are much more sensitive than those of humans, with some entertaining and mind-boggling results.

To demonstrate the capacity of these super senses, Patrick and Helen take natural science from the laboratory into the field.  Throughout the series they travel five continents and conduct an array of experiments to uncover the weird and wonderful ways that animals sense our world.

Each episode will focus on a different theme: sight, sound and scent. To help their human viewers understand the magnitude of their discoveries the team use innovative demonstrations - including converting a 1960s camper van into a giant speaker so that Patrick can talk to elephants; using a pea shooter to discover how seeing in slow motion lets dragonflies make a kill in a blink of a human eye; and Patrick even controls the behaviour of a swarm of bees using tiny traces of pheromone scent.

Patrick said: “I’ve always been fascinated by how things work and studying at Bristol gave me the opportunity to nurture this curiosity and develop it into a passion for the natural world.

“Filming was both nerve-wracking and thrilling; conquering my fear of bees was one of the many challenges I had to face, while walking side-by-side with a cheetah was a childhood dream come true.  It’s truly amazing when you realise how the sensory adaptations of animals more often than not go beyond that of our limited human capabilities.  Taking the audience on this journey to uncover the latest discoveries about some of our favourite animals has been a real privilege.”

Patrick left Bristol University in 2007. From there he went to study an MSc in Science Communication at the University of the West of England. These courses helped Patrick to launch a career in the BBC, where he worked on several wildlife programmes, including Attenborough – 60 Years in the Wild.

The first episode of Super Senses: The Secret Power of Animals will be on BBC2 on 19 August at 9pm.

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