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History / Archeology - Environment - 23.05.2024
A rare find in Timorese mud may rewrite the history of human settlement in Australasia
A rare find in Timorese mud may rewrite the history of human settlement in Australasia
In The Conversation, Dr Ceri Shipton (UCL Institute of Archaeology) explores his new research that has found a large wave of migration reached the island of Timor not long after 50,000 years ago. Humans arrived in Australia at least  65,000 years ago , according to archaeological evidence. These pioneers were part of an early wave of people travelling eastwards from Africa, through Eurasia, and ultimately into Australia and New Guinea.

Environment - 22.05.2024
Researchers propose use of electrical blackouts to determine impact of artificial light on wildlife
Researchers propose use of electrical blackouts to determine impact of artificial light on wildlife
New research proposes the use of electrical blackouts, such as those experienced during loadshedding in South Africa, to enhance our understanding of how artificial light in urban areas may be affecting wildlife behaviours. Artificial light at night, known as ALAN among urban ecologists, has become ubiquitous worldwide, with a notable increase in recent years.

Life Sciences - Environment - 17.05.2024
Earth's earliest sea creatures drove evolution by stirring the water
Earth’s earliest sea creatures drove evolution by stirring the water
3D reconstructions suggest that simple marine animals living over 560 million years ago drove the emergence of more complex life by mixing the seawater around them It's exciting to learn that the very first animals from 580 million years ago had a significant impact on their environment, despite not being able to move or swim.

Environment - Life Sciences - 15.05.2024
Most dangerous areas for whale shark-shipping vessel collisions revealed
Most dangerous areas for whale shark-shipping vessel collisions revealed
Researchers have found that heavily used shipping lanes pass through crucial whale shark feeding grounds, posing a threat to this endangered species. Research published in Science of the Total Environment has revealed areas where the sharks are at the highest risk of colliding with large shipping vessels by mapping the locations of whale shark aggregations and overlaying them with information on shipping traffic.

Paleontology - Environment - 15.05.2024
First ’warm-blooded’ dinosaurs may have emerged 180 million years ago
The ability to regulate body temperature, a trait all mammals and birds have today, may have evolved among some dinosaurs early in the Jurassic period about 180 million years ago, suggests a new study led by UCL and University of Vigo researchers. In the early 20 century, dinosaurs were considered slow-moving, "cold-blooded" animals like modern-day reptiles, relying on heat from the sun to regulate their temperature.

Environment - History / Archeology - 14.05.2024
2023 was the hottest summer in two thousand years
Researchers have found that 2023 was the hottest summer in the Northern Hemisphere in the past two thousand years, almost four degrees warmer than the coldest summer during the same period. When you look at the long sweep of history, you can see just how dramatic recent global warming is Ulf Büntgen Although 2023 has been reported as the hottest year on record, the instrumental evidence only reaches back as far as 1850 at best, and most records are limited to certain regions.

Environment - Health - 13.05.2024
Scientists ask the public to help find mosquitoes in Scotland
We're used to seeing the humble midge around the Scottish countryside, but now scientists are asking people in Scotland to be on the lookout for mosquitoes, as new research shows they can be found in many locations across the country. Mosquito Scotland - a collaborative project between the University of Glasgow, the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (CVR), the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) - has established a surveillance project across the country, and has been collecting data on Scottish mosquitoes for a year.

Environment - 13.05.2024
’Green grabbing’ of Brazilian public and common lands a threat
The privatisation of land for renewable energy infrastructure in Brazil is leading to the appropriation of once-public and common lands by large international corporations because of poor oversight and lack of transparency, finds a new study involving UCL researchers. The study, published in Nature Sustainability, found that land privatisation is the dominant means for solar and wind companies to secure land for their power generation infrastructure, which includes the transfer of control of formerly public and common lands to often international companies.

Environment - 09.05.2024
New method for quantifying ’invisible’ plastics in rivers
Current methods to count plastic pollution in rivers are insufficient and do not account for the fragments which sink below the surface, a team of scientists have warned. These 'invisible' plastic particles can be suspended below the water line or sink to the riverbed where they are potentially harmful to the ecology of the river.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 07.05.2024
Study charts how north Africa’s climate changed 5,000 years ago
Climate tipping points can either result from a slow but linear development, or can "flicker" between two stable climatic states that alternate before a final, permanent transition occurs, finds a new study featuring a UCL researcher. The study, published in Nature Communications , confirms this alternating transition for the end of the African Humid Period, a time between about 14,000 and 5,000 years ago when northern Africa was much wetter, as it shifted to the pronounced aridity that is typical today.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 03.05.2024
Ice shelves fracture under weight of meltwater lakes
Ice shelves fracture under weight of meltwater lakes
Heavy pooling meltwater can fracture ice, potentially leading to ice shelf collapse When air temperatures in Antarctica rise and glacier ice melts, water can pool on the surface of floating ice shelves, weighing them down and causing the ice to bend. Now, for the first time in the field, researchers have shown that ice shelves don't just buckle under the weight of meltwater lakes - they fracture.

Environment - Social Sciences - 30.04.2024
Believing environmental damage is done by others can cause 'race to the bottom'
Believing environmental damage is done by others can cause ’race to the bottom’
A study shows that if communities think outsiders are stealing their forest resources, they are more likely to want to increase their own harvest. The research, led by Imperial College London and Max Plank Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology researchers, shows why effective boundaries around a community's common-pool resource are key to sustainable management of that resource.

Environment - 26.04.2024
Energy trades could help resolve Nile conflict
Energy trades could help resolve Nile conflict
Scientists have shed light on a new, transformative approach that could help resolve a dispute over the Nile river's water resources. The Nile is one of the longest rivers globally and spreads over 11 countries in East Africa, supplying water, energy production, environmental quality and cultural wealth.

Environment - 24.04.2024
Finding bat roosts no longer like searching for 'a needle in a haystack'
Finding bat roosts no longer like searching for ’a needle in a haystack’
A new algorithm is making it easier for ecologists and conservationists to find bat roost locations - reducing search areas by nearly 375 times their previous size. The technology combines microphone detector data with a bat movement model to identify optimal searching regions and predict roost locations.

Environment - 23.04.2024
More support needed to help households transition to green energy, research concludes
Citizens will need greater financial support and advice as they make the switch to decarbonised heat sources, research from Cardiff University shows. Published in the journal Nature Energy , this is the first paper to examine in-depth householder perceptions across a diverse range of low carbon heating technologies including heat pumps, hydrogen, hybrid heating and heat networks, as well as upgrades to home insulation and energy networks that will be needed to make each technology work.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 22.04.2024
Mystery behind huge opening in Antarctic sea ice solved
Mystery behind huge opening in Antarctic sea ice solved
Researchers have discovered the missing piece of the puzzle behind a rare opening in the sea ice around Antarctica, which was nearly twice the size of Wales and occurred during the winters of 2016 and 2017. A study published today [1 May 2024] in Science Advances reveals a key process that had eluded scientists as to how the opening, called a polynya, was able to form and persist for several weeks.

Environment - Social Sciences - 18.04.2024
New study on Amazonia’s fire crises urges action ahead of the next burning season
In response to the escalating fire crises in the Amazon, a timely study has revealed alarming shortcomings in the emergency fire bans implemented by the Brazilian Government. Initially seen as a promising solution in 2019, these bans have consistently fallen short in subsequent years, revealing a pressing need for strategies that address the underlying causes of each type of fire.

Life Sciences - Environment - 17.04.2024
Interspecies competition led to even more forms of ancient human - defying evolutionary trends in vertebrates
Interspecies competition led to even more forms of ancient human - defying evolutionary trends in vertebrates
Competition between species played a major role in the rise and fall of hominins, and produced a "bizarre" evolutionary pattern for the Homo lineage. This is almost unparalleled in evolutionary science Laura van Holstein Climate has long been held responsible for the emergence and extinction of hominin species.

Environment - Life Sciences - 17.04.2024
Coral reef microbes point to new way to assess ecosystem health
Coral reef microbes point to new way to assess ecosystem health
A new study shows that ocean acidification is changing the mix of microbes in coral reef systems, which can be used to assess ecosystem health. The study, published today in Microbiome , looked at coral reefs specifically, but the researchers say it could be widely applicable as a method for measuring how ecosystems are responding to human activities.

Environment - Economics - 16.04.2024
Most countries struggle to meet climate pledges from 2009
Nineteen out of 34 countries surveyed failed to fully meet their 2020 climate commitments set 15 years ago in Copenhagen, according to a new study led by UCL researchers. The study, published in Nature Climate Change , compared the actual net carbon emissions of more than 30 nations to their 2009 pledged emission reduction targets set during the Copenhagen Climate Summit.
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