news 2013



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Life Sciences - Environment - 23.12.2013
Scientists highlight the resurrection of extinct animals as both a strong possibility and a major potential conservation issue
Scientists from across the world have "scanned the horizon" in order to identify potentially significant medium and long-term threats to conservation efforts.

Environment - 12.12.2013
Lack of monitoring impairs bat conservation research
Lack of monitoring impairs bat conservation research
Millions of pounds are being spent to protect bats from disturbance by building development and renovations, however a lack of follow-up monitoring makes it difficult to tell whether conservation efforts are effective. Researchers from the University of Bristol Mammal Research Unit found that between 2003 and 2005 an estimated 4.3 million was spent by developers in England to provide new homes for displaced bats, but less than 20 per cent of sites were monitored afterwards for their impact on bat populations.

Environment - 06.12.2013
Scientists simulate the climate of Tolkien’s Middle Earth
Ever wondered what the weather and climate was like in Middle Earth, the land of hobbits, dwarves, elves and orcs, from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings ? Climate scientists from the University of Bristol, UK have used a climate model, similar to those used in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, to simulate and investigate the climate of Middle Earth.

Environment - 28.11.2013
Lakes discovered beneath Greenland Ice Sheet
I strongly suspect that there are more lakes awaiting discovery as our radar investigations of the ice-sheet base continue Julian Dowdeswell The study, published in Geophysical Research Letters , discovered two subglacial lakes 800 metres below the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The two lakes are each roughly 8-10 km2, and at one point may have been up to three times larger than their current size.

Environment - 07.11.2013
Climate change scientists must turn their attention to clean skies
Natural aerosols, such as emissions from volcanoes or plants, may contribute more uncertainty than previously thought to estimates of how the climate might respond to greenhouse gas emissions. An international team of researchers, led by the University of Leeds, has shown that the effect of aerosols on the climate since industrialisation depends strongly on what the atmosphere was like before pollution – when aerosols were produced only from natural emissions.

Environment - Mathematics - 06.11.2013
Creatures of influence
In the children's game "Jenga", removing the wrong block from a tower of wooden blocks can cause the entire tower to collapse. In the same way, removing certain species from an ecosystem can cause a collapse in ecological function. A common scientific question has been to identify these critical species in different ecosystems and an international research team has developed mathematical tools that can estimate which species are most influential in a food web.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 31.10.2013
Pinpointing the timing of sudden climate change
Pinpointing the timing of sudden climate change
A team of scientists has shown that during a 1000-year cold period at the end of the Ice Age, known as the Younger Dryas, the climate started to recover in Germany 120 years before Norway. The researchers looked at changes in the sediment of a lake in Germany and compared it to lake sediment records of a Norwegian lake.

Environment - 30.10.2013
Wytham Woods 'shields local plants'
Wytham Woods 'shields local plants'
A recent study has found that forests with dense canopies, including Oxford's Wytham Woods, can partially shield ground-level plants from the local effects of global warming. As the planet warms, the general trend is for species adapted to survive at higher temperatures to thrive at the expense of those better-suited to colder climates.

Environment - Life Sciences - 28.10.2013
Study of Brazilian Amazon shows 50,000 km of road was built in just three years
Study of Brazilian Amazon shows 50,000 km of road was built in just three years
Nearly 17,000 kilometres of road were built in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest every year between 2004 and 2007. Although road-building is a major contributor to deforestation and habitat loss, the way in which road networks develop is still poorly understood. A new study is among the first to measure the number of roads built in a rainforest ecosystem over an extended period of time.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 28.10.2013
Reading ancient climate from plankton shells
Climate changes from millions of years ago are recorded at daily rate in ancient sea shells, new research shows. For slow-growing plankton it opens the way to seeing seasonal variations in ocean temperatures Simon Redfern A huge X-ray microscope has revealed growth bands in plankton shells that show how shell chemistry records the sea temperature.

Environment - Astronomy / Space - 21.10.2013
Atmosphere of Mars turned to stone
Scientists at the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, the University of Glasgow and the Natural History Museum in London may have discovered how Mars lost its early carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere to become the cold and arid planet we know today. This research provides the first direct evidence from Mars of a process, called 'carbonation' which currently removes carbon dioxide from our own atmosphere, potentially combating climate change on Earth.

Environment - 18.10.2013
Ecologists uncover ’hyperdominant’ tree species in the Amazon
Academics from the University of Leeds have joined researchers from around the world to generate the first basin-wide estimates of the abundance and distribution of trees in the Amazon rainforest. The research which spans nine countries, belong to only a tiny fraction of the different species found there.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 10.10.2013
Royal Research Ship Discovery to be named by HRH The Princess Royal
Head of the University of Liverpool's School of Environmental Sciences , Professor George Wolff, will join British scientists at a ceremony attended by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, for the naming of a new Royal Research Ship – RRS Discovery. The vessel, based at NERC'S National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, is a state-of-the art platform for world-leading oceanographic research and represents a 75m investment in frontier science by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills.

Life Sciences - Environment - 09.10.2013
Early bird catches the worm... for dinner
Early bird catches the worm... for dinner
Birds, such as great and blue tits, scout for food in the morning but only return to eat it in late afternoon to maximise their chances of evading predators in the day without starving to death overnight, Oxford University research has found. This 'early bird' strategy was revealed by a team studying the winter foraging behaviour of birds in Wytham Woods, near Oxford.

Environment - Physics - 07.10.2013
CLOUD gives clarity on climate change
University of Leeds experts have helped scientists get a step closer to understanding how aerosol particles are formed in the atmosphere and the effect these particles have on our climate.

Environment - 04.10.2013
Climate puzzle over origins of life on Earth
04 Oct 2013 The mystery of why life on Earth evolved when it did has deepened with the publication of a new study today (Friday). Scientists at the CRPG-CNRS University of Lorraine, The University of Manchester and the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris have ruled out a theory as to why the planet was warm enough to sustain the planet's earliest life forms when the Sun's energy was roughly three-quarters the strength it is today.

Environment - 23.09.2013
Smouldering peat fires may contribute to climate change
New research into smouldering wildfires in the UK has found that they could be a contributor to climate change. A team from the University of Glasgow's School of Interdisciplinary Studies, studied an area in the Scottish Highlands that had a peat fire which lasted for longer than a month. The wildfires kill all vegetation and effectively sterilise the area.

Environment - 18.09.2013
Climate change news reports focus on 'disaster' or 'uncertainty'
Climate change news reports focus on 'disaster' or 'uncertainty'
An Oxford University study shows that recent newspaper articles covering climate change are centred on narratives about disaster and uncertainty. Researchers from Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism analysed 350 articles about climate change between 2007 and 2012 published by three different newspaper titles in six countries (UK, France, Australia, India, Norway and the USA).

Environment - Astronomy / Space - 15.09.2013
Achilles’ heel of ice shelves is beneath the water, scientists reveal
New research has revealed that more ice leaves Antarctica by melting from the underside of submerged ice shelves than was previously thought, accounting for as much as 90 per cent of ice loss in some areas. Iceberg production and melting causes 2,800 cubic kilometres of ice to leave the Antarctic ice sheet every year.

Environment - Life Sciences - 12.09.2013
The overlooked effects of global change
Although the Earth is in the midst of one of the largest and most rapid ever reductions in biological diversity, we may be overlooking some of the most important aspects. That's the conclusion of a new path-finding study by University researchers and the Leibnitz Institute of Freshwater Ecology in Berlin.
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