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News: April 2019

Not so sexy salmon

New research reveals that farmed salmon have smaller ‘jaw hooks’ or ‘kype’- a secondary sexual trait, likened to the antlers of a stag, making them less attractive to females than their wild salmon cousins.

This new finding published in the peer–reviewed science journal Royal Society Open Science, implies that farm-bred salmon are less sexually attractive than their wild brethren, and that despite only being bred in captivity since the 1970’s, within some 12 generations, that they are already diverging from wild salmon.

Publication date: 30 April 2019

Safeguarding our natural resources – how do decision-makers decide?

Human activities are increasingly threatening the very elements that we need for our own survival, from clean water from forests, to ensuring the survival of crop-pollinating insects.

Scientists call these naturally occurring aspects on which we rely ‘ecosystem services’ and many governments are shifting their conservation policies to take these vital ‘ecosystem services’ into consideration.

Scientists are rushing to create ‘models’ which can predict both the availability of these services, sometimes as basic and intrinsic as water, grazing or land for crop growth and the demand for them.

There are now many such models- but they need validating- checking against reality, so that decision-makers know which model would be most suitable for their needs.

Publication date: 24 April 2019

DNA analysis finds that type of grass pollen, not total count, could be important for allergy sufferers

As the winter cold is replaced by warmer temperatures, longer days and an explosion of botanical life, up to 400m people worldwide will develop allergic reactions to airborne pollen from trees, grasses and weeds. Symptoms will range from itchy eyes, congestion and sneezing, to the aggravation of asthma and an associated cost to society that runs into the billions.

This article by Simon Creer, Professor in Molecular Ecology and Georgina Brennan, Postdoctoral Research Officer, at the School on Natural Sciences is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Publication date: 16 April 2019

Student research on freshwater microplastics hits the headlines

Research conducted by students at Bangor University, working with Friends of the Earth, has attracted global media attention.

Bangor University was commissioned by the environmental organization, to measure the amount of plastics and microplastics in British lakes and rivers- and what they found was widely reported in print and broadcast media across Britain and beyond.

Publication date: 3 April 2019

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