2015 Review: All creatures great and small

It’s been a busy year for animal health and welfare stories, so we are taking a look back at a few of the highlights. From whales to fruit flies, our researchers have made fascinating discoveries from right across the animal kingdom.

Test tube foal
The first foal to be born as a result of IVF for 15 years marks the first step to producing an embryo bank that could be the last lifeline for some rare, traditional British breeds that are on the verge of disappearing. Read more…

Fish health monitor
A novel automated fish health monitor was showcased to visitors at Blue Planet Aquarium for the first time. The monitor aims to improve the way fish are looked after and cared for in captivity. Read more…

Prize-winning dogs
Researchers found that one in four dogs competing at Crufts is overweight, and raised concern that if significant numbers of ’perfect’ specimen dogs are actually overweight, this may normalise obesity in the eyes of the pet owners. Read more…

Whale genome
The genome of the bowhead whale was sequenced for the very first time. Estimated to live for more than 200 years with low incidence of disease, knowing more about the secrets to its long and healthy lifespan could help inform future studies in longevity and cancer resistance. Read more…

Poisonous frogs
The evolution of predator defence toxins was found to make frogs more likely to become extinct. The findings could help support the conservation of endangered species, like the iconic poison-dart frog, by allowing some predictability of extinction risk. Read more…

Forest laboratory
The different ways that animals and humans respond to infectious disease was explained by analysing the biology and environment of the genetically diverse, wild vole. Read more…

Winter is coming
Winning our award for the best use of a Game of Thrones reference in a paper title, winter hibernation was found to reverse the normal outcome of sperm competition in fruit flies. This interesting finding could explain some of the puzzling variation seen in sperm and sperm storage across the natural world. Read more…

Shape-shifting jellyfish
A study of shape-shifting jellyfish revealed that changes in body shape in ’skin-breathing’ aquatic animals could explain why animals use energy more slowly as they grow. Read more…


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