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Environment - Life Sciences - 19.05.2010
Study finds female damselflies prefer `hot´ males
Study finds female damselflies prefer `hot´ males
Researchers from the University of Sheffield have found that female damselflies prefer hot males. The study, which was published in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, found that hot male damselflies, who have warmed their bodies in the sun, are more attractive to their female counterparts.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 14.05.2010
Baby corals dance their way home
Baby corals dance their way home
Baby corals find their way home in their first days as free-swimming larvae by listening to the noise of animals on the reef and actively swimming towards it, an international team of researchers working in the Caribbean has discovered. These findings raise new concerns for the future of coral reefs as increasing human noise pollution in the world's oceans is masking reef sounds.

Environment - 09.05.2010
Greenland study aids sea level forecasts
In summer, surface meltwater drains to the bed of the ice sheet, enabling it to slide quickly towards the sea - at times, more than twice as fast in summer compared with winter. If summers continue to become longer and warmer, glacier acceleration caused by meltwater will reach further inland, drawing down ice from a larger area of the ice sheet.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 05.05.2010
University experts prove British summer is advancing
University experts prove British summer is advancing
The onset of summer in England has been advancing since the mid 1950s, research from a pair of University of Sheffield geographers has shown. The investigations, conducted by Amy Kirbyshire, a former undergraduate of the University, and Professor Grant Bigg, Head of the Department of Geography at the University, examined records of the first blooming date of early summer flowering plants (phenology) and the timing of first occurrences of warm `summer´ temperatures - events linked with the onset of summer.

Environment - Agronomy / Food Science - 03.05.2010
Climate study backs plants
Results from the study contrast with previous scientific research that had suggested that plants were responsible for producing large amounts of the greenhouse gas. To reach their conclusions, scientists created artificial leaves made from plant pectin and measured the methane produced when the leaves were exposed to sunlight.

Environment - 26.04.2010
Scientists get bird's eye view of how cuckoos fool their hosts
Scientists get bird’s eye view of how cuckoos fool their hosts
Using field experiments in Africa and a new computer model that gives them a bird's eye view of the world, Cambridge scientists have discovered how a bird decides whether or not a cuckoo has laid an egg in its nest. The finding offers unique insights into a 20 million-year-old evolutionary arms race.

Health - Environment - 22.04.2010
Proof that airports are air polluters
Proof that airports are air polluters
Scientists in the Environmental Research Group (ERG) at King's have undertaken research into the effects of the closure of UK airspace on air quality surrounding major airports after the Icelandic volcano eruption, following a number of enquiries from the public. In response the ERG analysed the concentrations of NOX (the generic term for oxides of nitrogen combined) and NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) surrounding Gatwick and Heathrow airports during the first three days of closure, Thursday 15 to Saturday 17 April 2010.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 20.04.2010
Informing Copenhagen
Informing Copenhagen
The University has several groups that are among the leaders in the field of climate change research. In the run-up to the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, a flurry of articles was published in prestigious journals, six of which included researchers from these groups. A study in Science (12 November) reported that satellite observations and a state-of-the art regional atmospheric model independently confirmed that the Greenland ice sheet is losing mass at an accelerating rate.

Environment - 19.04.2010
Concern that British common frogs could croak it
Concern that British common frogs could croak it
Adapted from a news release issued by the Woodland Trust Tuesday 20 April 2010 By Lucy Goodchild Mass observations of frogs spawning have sounded a warning bell not only for the future of the common frog but also for Britain's wildlife more generally. Frogs are so locally adapted that they may not be able to cope with even modest climate change, new research led by Imperial College London has found.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 14.04.2010
Scientists identify freezing times for Cretaceous dinosaurs
Scientists studying fossils and minerals from Arctic Svalbard, in Norway, have discovered evidence that the ‘greenhouse’ climate of the Cretaceous period was punctuated by a sudden drop in global temperatures. The drop is estimated to have occurred some 137 million years ago during a time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, and would have seen the islands fall from an average of 13 degrees centigrade (ocean temperature) to as low as four degrees.

Life Sciences - Environment - 14.04.2010
Genetic fingerprinting explains evolution of tree species unique to Avon Gorge
Genetic fingerprinting explains evolution of tree species unique to Avon Gorge
The evolution of unique tree species found only in Bristol's Avon Gorge can be explained by new genetic fingerprinting evidence, say scientists from the University of Bristol.  Their findings have important implications for the conservation of trees in the gorge.  The research, led by Professor Simon Hiscock from the University's School of Biological Sciences , examined fifteen types of Sorbus tree, more commonly known as whitebeams, rowan or wild service tree, including three of the rarest trees in Britain.

Environment - Life Sciences - 13.04.2010
Creepy crawly cockroach ancestor revealed in new 3D model
Creepy crawly cockroach ancestor revealed in new 3D model
Creepy crawly cockroach ancestor revealed in new 3D model An early ancestor of the cockroach that lived around 300 million years ago is unveiled in unprecedented detail in a new three-dimensional ‘virtual fossil' model - News release An early ancestor of the cockroach that lived around 300 million years ago is unveiled in unprecedented detail in a new three-dimensional ‘virtual fossil' model, in research published today in the journal Biology Letters.

Environment - 08.04.2010
Report reveals rabbit and dormouse threatening Britain's wildlife
Report reveals rabbit and dormouse threatening Britain’s wildlife
The Easter Bunny may have been a welcome visitor to many gardens at the weekend, but his fellow rabbits are among 14 invasive species threatening Britain's wildlife, a report by Oxford University academics has found. The report, entitled ‘State of Britain's Mammals', was written by Professor David Macdonald and Dr Dawn Burnham from the Department of Zoology's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU).

Environment - Earth Sciences - 01.04.2010
Ice sheet melt identified as trigger of Big Freeze
Ice sheet melt identified as trigger of Big Freeze
The main cause of a rapid global cooling period, known as the Big Freeze or Younger Dryas - which occurred nearly 13,000 years ago - has been identified thanks to the help of an academic at the University of Sheffield. A new paper, which is published in Nature today (1 April 2010), has identified a mega-flood path across North America which channelled melt-water from a giant ice sheet into the oceans and triggering the Younger Dryas cold snap.

Life Sciences - Environment - 22.03.2010
Links between trawlers and gannets investigated
"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea." - Eric Cantona Football legend Eric Cantona knew a thing or two about the feeding habits of seabirds that follow fishing trawlers in the hope of picking up a free lunch. But surprisingly, very little is known about the relationship between fishing boats and scavenging seabirds, nor what might happen to them if plans to ban this practice come into operation next year.

Physics - Environment - 16.03.2010
Jupiter's Red Spot has 'warm heart'
The international team, including scientists from Oxford University and NASA JPL , used thermal images from the Very Large Telescope (Chile), Gemini Observatory telescope (Chile) and Japan's Subaru telescope (Hawaii). They report their findings in the journal Icarus . ‘This is the first time we can say that there's an intimate link between environmental conditions - temperature, winds, pressure and composition - and the actual colour of the Great Red Spot,' lead author Leigh Fletcher, from Oxford University's Department of Physics, told me.

Environment - 07.03.2010
Wildlife corridors not sufficient to ensure species' survival
Can we predict which species are prone to extinction and which will persist and flourish' New research from the University of Plymouth has shown that the quality of the environment is more important than the area of habitat available for a species to survive. Wilco Verberk's research on Dutch ponds, which will be published in a forthcoming edition of the British Ecological Society's Journal of Animal Ecology, has revealed that specialist species, confined to a narrow range of habitats, are so well adapted to their particular environment that any change can be catastrophic.

Environment - Chemistry - 22.02.2010
39 Steps to understanding Ocean Acidification
Plymouth marine scientists have joined with international colleagues to help educate the public about "ocean acidification," the scientific details of which are intricate and sometimes counterintuitive. Twenty-seven scientists from five countries worked together to produce and distribute a document to provide accessible and accurate answers to the most commonly asked questions about this growing problem.

Environment - 17.02.2010
Revealed: New marine species and habitats under threat
Weird and wonderful new discoveries are continually being made in the unexplored depths of our oceans, but could disappear forever - before we even learn of their existence, warns one of the foremost marine biologists, the University of Plymouth's Jason Hall-Spencer. Hall-Spencer will share his fascinating research into the dangers facing pristine habitats and new species discovered on seamounts as he presents at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting in San Diego this week.

Environment - 09.02.2010
Data Soliloquies
Data Soliloquies
Data Soliloquies rose from a fruitful collaboration between Martin John Callanan and Richard Hamblyn, during their terms as artist and writer in residence at the UCL Environment Institute. The result is a witty and insightful book about the theatricality of scientific data, exploring the profusion of graphs, charts, computer models and other forms of visual advocacy that are now inescapable fixtures of public science displays.
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