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Environment - Agronomy / Food Science - 20.12.2022
Paying farmers to create woodland and wetland is the most cost-effective way to hit UK environment targets
Study of farmer preferences shows that turning whole areas of farmland into habitats comes with half the price tag of integrating nature into productive farmland, if biodiversity and carbon targets are to be met.

Environment - 20.12.2022
UK woodlands could store almost twice as much carbon as previously estimated
UK woodlands could store almost twice as much carbon as previously estimated
UK forests could store almost double the amount of carbon than previous calculations suggest, with consequences for our understanding of carbon stocks and humanity's response to climate change, according to a new study involving UCL researchers. For the study, published today in the journal Ecological Solutions and Evidence , the international team of scientists used a novel 3D scanning technique and analysis to assess the amount of aboveground biomass (AGB) - used to derive carbon storage - of 815 trees in a UK woodland.

Environment - 19.12.2022
Diving birds are more prone to extinction, says new study
Research suggests diving birds may have evolved into an evolutionary dead-end. Diving birds like penguins, puffins and cormorants may be more prone to extinction than non-diving birds, according to a new study by the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath. The authors suggest this is because they are highly specialised and therefore less able to adapt to changing environments than other birds.

Environment - Agronomy / Food Science - 16.12.2022
UK needs to use phosphorus sustainably
Phosphorus use in the UK needs to be better managed and used in a much more sustainable way to reduce river pollution and increase resilience over rising fertiliser prices, say researchers. Despite phosphorus being a key nutrient in the agricultural sector for which there is no alternative, the food and feedstock industries rely on imports from a small number of countries including China, Russia and Morocco.

Environment - Transport - 16.12.2022
World's first net zero transatlantic flight to fly from London in 2023
World’s first net zero transatlantic flight to fly from London in 2023
Researchers will work with Virgin Atlantic to launch the world's first transatlantic flight powered solely by sustainable aviation fuel. The passenger flight from London to New York will be fuelled by 100 per cent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), combined with carbon removal through biochar credits - a material that traps and stores carbon taken from the atmosphere - making the flight net zero.

Paleontology - Environment - 15.12.2022
Climate change played key role in dinosaur success story
Climate change played key role in dinosaur success story
Climate change, rather than competition, played a key role in the ascendancy of dinosaurs through the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic periods. According to new research, changes in global climate associated with the Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction - which wiped out many large terrestrial vertebrates such as the giant armadillo-like aetosaurs - actually benefitted the earliest dinosaurs.

Life Sciences - Environment - 15.12.2022
Analysis: A close look at chimpanzees challenges old theories on why humans walk on two legs
Dr Alexander Piel and Dr Fiona Stewart (both UCL Anthropology) discuss their new study in The Conversation which reveals the ability for humans to walk upright on two legs may have evolved in trees, and not on the ground as previously thought. There's no trait that distinguishes humans from all other mammals more clearly than the way we walk.

Environment - Life Sciences - 14.12.2022
Logged tropical forests are surprisingly vibrant and need protection
Logged tropical forests are surprisingly vibrant and need protection
Researchers find tropical forests that have been logged still retain good ecological health, and should be protected from conversion to plantations. Logged forests that have had some trees removed are often labelled as 'degraded', meaning they are lower priority for protection and can be cleared to make way for agriculture such as oil palm plantations.

Environment - 14.12.2022
Early humans may have first walked upright in the trees
Early humans may have first walked upright in the trees
Human bipedalism - walking upright on two legs - may have evolved in trees, and not on the ground as previously thought, according to a new study involving UCL researchers. In the study, published today in the journal Science Advances, researchers from UCL, the University of Kent, and Duke University, USA, explored the behaviours of wild chimpanzees - our closest living relative - living in the Issa Valley of western Tanzania , within the region of the East African Rift Valley.

Environment - Chemistry - 09.12.2022
Recycled gold from SIM cards could help make drugs more sustainable
Recycled gold from SIM cards could help make drugs more sustainable
Researchers have used gold extracted from electronic waste as catalysts for reactions that could be applied to making medicines. Re-using gold from electronic waste prevents it from being lost to landfill, and using this reclaimed gold for drug manufacture reduces the need to mine new materials. Current catalysts are often made of rare metals, which are extracted using expensive, energy-intensive and damaging mining processes.

Environment - Life Sciences - 08.12.2022
Forest restoration - ’balance nitrogen-fixing trees with other species’
Reforestation projects could be made more effective with the findings of new research into the constraints on nitrogen fixation among plants. Some trees, such as those from the Fabaceae or legume family, form a symbiotic relationship with bacteria, enabling them to them take in nitrogen from the air.

Environment - 05.12.2022
Climate change for food projects
Climate change for food projects
SCI Honorary Researcher Ulrike Ehgartner co-published the report 'Climate change for food projects: What it means and what to do about it' for Food Research. Many people working in local or community food projects already know that they need to review how they operate in order to ensure they are doing as much as possible to reduce future negative impacts on the climate.

Environment - Life Sciences - 29.11.2022
Dormant microbes can ’switch on’ to cope with climate change
Dormant strains of bacteria that have previously adapted to cope with certain temperatures are switched back on during climatic change, study shows. The results, led by a team at Imperial College London and published today in eLife , have important implications for predicting the impact of global warming on ecosystems.

Environment - Life Sciences - 29.11.2022
New study suggests climate change may be affecting animal body size
New study suggests climate change may be affecting animal body size
A new study finds treeshrews increase in size in warmer settings, contrary to established norms. Our study is the first to demonstrate a rule reversal over time in any species. We need to revisit some of our assumptions about size variation as our climate continues to rapidly change. Maya Juman New evidence shows that some mammals increase in size in warmer settings, upsetting established norms and suggesting that climate change may be having an unexpected impact on animal body size.

Environment - 29.11.2022
Pet ferret owners’ awareness of animal boredom can impact their pet’s welfare
New research from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has revealed the extent to which pet ferret owners are aware of and understand ferret boredom. The study found that, although most owners believed their ferrets could experience boredom, owners who doubted this capability in ferrets provided a significantly less stimulating environment for their pets.

Life Sciences - Environment - 28.11.2022
Live fast, avoid extinction: fast-lived species more resilient to human influences
Live fast, avoid extinction: fast-lived species more resilient to human influences
Animals that live fast - that is, frequent or abundant reproduction and short lifespans - are more resilient to human-driven land use changes than those with slow life-histories, finds a new study led by UCL researchers. Across the globe, in areas that have experienced rapid expansion of cropland or bare soil, fast-lived species have increased in numbers in recent decades while slow-lived species are in decline, according to the findings published in Global Change Biology .

Environment - Life Sciences - 28.11.2022
Mussel survey reveals alarming degradation of River Thames ecosystem since the 1960s
Mussel survey reveals alarming degradation of River Thames ecosystem since the 1960s
Scientists replicated a 1964 River Thames survey and found that mussel numbers have declined by almost 95%, with one species - the depressed river mussel - completely gone. This dramatic decline in native mussel populations is very worrying, and we are not sure what's driving it David Aldridge The detailed study measured the change in size and number of all species of mussel in a stretch of the River Thames near Reading between 1964 and 2020.

Environment - 24.11.2022
Intensive grassland management hampers the recovery of soil food webs from drought
New research led by a team of scientists from The University of Manchester has shown that intensive grassland management impairs the capacity of soils to buffer extreme droughts, which are becoming more frequent and intense. The study investigated how management of grasslands across northern England modifies the transfer of recently photosynthesised carbon by plants to roots and soil organisms and the transfer of soil nitrogen to plant and soil organisms following a severe drought.

Environment - 24.11.2022
Low-traffic neighbourhoods reduce pollution in surrounding streets
Low-traffic neighbourhoods reduce pollution in surrounding streets
Low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) reduce traffic and air pollution without displacing the problem to nearby streets, new research has shown. The study by researchers at Imperial College London looked at three LTNs in London, to identify their impact on both air pollution and traffic within the LTN zones and in the surrounding area.

Environment - 22.11.2022
Views wanted ahead of Bristol’s Clean Air Zone
Psychologists want to hear from people who live, work, or regularly travel into Bristol, in advance of the City's Clean Air Zone coming into force on Monday. Researchers at the University of Bath want to hear from people living or working in Bristol ahead of the City's Clean Air Zone (CAZ), which is being introduced on Monday 28 November.