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Environment - History / Archeology - 01.03.2024
Seeing the wood for the trees: using hazelnuts to reconstruct ancient woodlands
Humans in northern Europe have been snacking on hazelnuts - a key accessible source of energy -for at least 12,000 years. Now, a study led by the University of Oxford has shown that it is possible to analyse the carbon isotope values of hazelnuts found at archaeological sites to reveal what the places humans lived in millennia ago looked like.

Physics - Environment - 01.03.2024
Scientists make nanoparticles dance to unravel quantum limits
Two optically trapped nanoparticles are coupled together by photons bouncing back and forth between mirrors The image shows two nanoparticles (green) trapped by optical tweezers / laser beams (red) and placed in between two mirrors (white) which forms an optical cavity (periodic blue blobs). The photons scattered by the nanoparticles (squiggly purple arrows) are trapped in the cavity, resulting in an interaction between the two nanoparticles (straight purple line).

Environment - 19.02.2024
UK offshores emissions through used vehicle exports
UK offshores emissions through used vehicle exports
A new study by researchers at the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science reveals that used vehicles sent from Great Britain to lower-income countries fail British roadworthiness standards, are more polluting and less fuel efficient than those sent to be scrapped. Published in Nature Climate Change , the study found that exported used vehicles generate at least 13-53% more emissions per mile than those that are scrapped or on the road in Great Britain.

Agronomy / Food Science - Environment - 19.02.2024
Potassium depletion in soil threatens global crop yields
Potassium depletion in soil threatens global crop yields
Potassium deficiency in agricultural soils is a largely unrecognised but potentially significant threat to global food security if left unaddressed, finds new research involving researchers at UCL, University of Edinburgh and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. The study, published in Nature Food, found that more potassium is being removed from agricultural soils than is being added, throughout many regions of the world.

Environment - 19.02.2024
Spilling the dirt on Combined Sewer Overflows
Researchers from Cardiff University are calling for a ban on flushing wet wipes down the toilet in a bid to prevent raw sewage from being spilled into UK waters. A team of ecologists, engineers, mathematicians, and economists from across the University have worked together to start addressing the challenges of Combined Sewer Overflows and sewage spillage, suggesting short and long-term strategies to ensure cleaner waters in the UK in the future.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 09.02.2024
Industrial pollution leaves its mark in Mediterranean corals
Industrial pollution leaves its mark in Mediterranean corals
For the first time, pollutants from burning fossil fuels have been found embedded in corals, offering scientists a potential new tool to track the history of pollution, finds a new study led by UCL researchers. The study, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment , identified carbon particles emitted by burning fossil fuels embedded in the corals of Illa Grossa Bay, off the Columbretes Islands in the Mediterranean Sea.

Environment - 05.02.2024
28% of Covid-19 spend could harm climate adaptation
How to adapt to the impacts of climate change - and who should pay - was a key topic of debate at COP28. New research from the University of Oxford analyses 8,000 government policies across 88 countries to reveal how Covid-19 recovery spending contributed to climate adaptation and resilience. The research finds that only 10% of Covid-19 recovery spending was likely to enhance direct climate adaptation - though this rose to around 27% when potential indirect impacts were accounted for.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 02.02.2024
Ancient seafloor vents spewed tiny, life-giving minerals into Earth's early oceans
Ancient seafloor vents spewed tiny, life-giving minerals into Earth’s early oceans
Researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Western Australia have uncovered the importance of hydrothermal vents, similar to underwater geysers, in supplying minerals that may have been a key ingredient in the emergence of early life. Their study , published in Science Advances , examined 3.5-billion-year-old rocks from western Australia in previously unseen detail and identified large quantities of a mineral called greenalite, which is thought to have played a role in early biological processes.

Environment - Veterinary - 02.02.2024
Handwashing a major source of pet pesticide pollution in UK rivers
A new study reveals that handwashing in the weeks after spot-on flea and tick treatments is the largest source of pet pesticide pollution in rivers. The study's authors, from the University of Sussex and Imperial College London, are calling for a review of the regulatory framework and prescribing practices to address toxic pet pesticides washing into rivers.

Environment - Health - 01.02.2024
Scientists measure air pollution from domestic wood burners in new study
Researchers have started a six-week study to measure airborne pollutant emissions from domestic wood burning stoves, using a dedicated laboratory-based test facility at The University of Manchester. Atmospheric chemists from the National Centre for Atmospheric Science , University of Manchester, and University of York are working together to quantify the gases and aerosols that come from stoves in people's homes.

Health - Environment - 25.01.2024
Cold water swimming improves menopause symptoms
Menopausal women who regularly swim in cold water report significant improvements to their physical and mental symptoms, finds a new study led by UCL researchers. The research, published in Post Reproductive Health , surveyed 1114 women, 785 of which were going through the menopause, to examine the effects of cold water swimming on their health and wellbeing.

Environment - Physics - 25.01.2024
New tech could help reduce ecological impact of underwater noise pollution
A new system that harnesses the power of AI to accurately model how sound waves travel underwater could help reduce the impact of noise pollution on marine life. A new system that harnesses the power of AI to accurately model how sound waves travel underwater could help reduce the impact of noise pollution on marine life.

Environment - 24.01.2024
Global groundwater levels declining rapidly, but they can recover
Global groundwater levels declining rapidly, but they can recover
Groundwater levels are declining at rapid and accelerating rates in numerous aquifers around the world, but the decline can be reversed in some cases, finds a new study involving researchers from University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), UCL and ETH Zürich. The research, published in Nature , analysed measurements taken over the last two decades from 170,000 wells in 1,693 aquifer systems across more than 40 countries.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 17.01.2024
Climate and health impacts of dust inaccurately represented
The source and amounts of different types of mineral dust reaching the Earth's atmosphere needs to be re-evaluated so its effects on human health and climate change can be more accurately understood, scientists claim. The international team, led by Cardiff University, says existing models have over-estimated the role of North Africa as the primary source of global dust emissions for nearly thirty years leading to inaccuracies in our understanding of the impacts on rainforests, oceans and ice.

Environment - 15.01.2024
Island plant life becomes more similar when humans move in
Island plant life becomes more similar when humans move in
New research by the University of Southampton shows that human settlement increases the similarity of flora growing across island groups - impacting ecosystems and the wildlife that relies upon them. Researchers have found that during approximately the last 3,000 years the distinctiveness of the range of plant species on any one island in the many groups of islands in the South Pacific has reduced - a process which scientists call 'homogenisation'.

Environment - 15.01.2024
Bats get back home to roost
Bats get back home to roost
Bats fly back to their roosts in a "leap frogging" motion ensuring they can stay out as long as possible foraging for food, researchers have found. The team from Cardiff University and the University of Sussex, developed a model from trajectory data on greater horseshoe bats - one of 18 species in the UK - to better understand how they move and engage with their environment.

Life Sciences - Environment - 15.01.2024
Urgent need to expand genetic monitoring of species in Europe
Urgent need to expand genetic monitoring of species in Europe
There is an urgent need to expand the genetic monitoring of species in Europe to help detect the impacts of climate change on populations. That's one of the findings of new research undertaken by an international team involving Cardiff University's late Professor Mike Bruford - a world-leading conservationist - in one of the last studies he undertook before his death.

Environment - 10.01.2024
Scientists name the commonest tropical tree species for the first time
Scientists name the commonest tropical tree species for the first time
A major international collaboration of 356 scientists led by UCL researchers has found almost identical patterns of tree diversity across the world's tropical forests. The study of over one million trees across 1,568 locations, published in Nature , found that just 2.2% of tree species make up 50% of the total number of trees in tropical forests across Africa, the Amazon, and Southeast Asia.

Environment - Social Sciences - 03.01.2024
How traditional cultures use their environment to navigate
How traditional cultures use their environment to navigate
Traditional navigation techniques from across the world, some of which have been in use for thousands of years, can inform western science, according to research from UCL and the University of York. The new review paper, published in Trends in Cognitive Sciences , sheds new light on remarkable feats of navigation from cultures ranging from sailors in the Marshall Islands using wave patterns to navigate the vast Pacific Ocean, to indigenous communities in Alaska using stars to find their way across the Yukon.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 20.12.2023
Satellite analysis of rivers could provide improved flood warnings
A new way to monitor the flow of rivers from satellites could provide a valuable early warning system for flood risk. A new way to monitor the flow of rivers from satellites could provide a valuable early warning system for flood risk, scientists say. University of Glasgow researchers have developed the first method of measuring the speed of river flows by analysing video footage captured from orbit.
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