Research News: September 2013

Second body clock discovered in the speckled sea louse

Separate timing mechanism presents an exciting new perspective on how organisms define biological time

The diminutive speckled sea louse (Eurydice pulchra) boasts two body clocks, one for night and day and another for the ebb and flow of the tide, according to research published today, Thursday 26 September.

Writing in the journal Current Biology, researchers from Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cambridge and Leicester Universities have confirmed the existence for the first time of a distinct and independent circatidal body clock that follows the 12.4 hour cycle of the tide.

Publication date: 27 September 2013

Clams reveal secrets of changing marine climate

Marine scientists at Bangor University’s School of Ocean Sciences are collecting useful information about climate change from an unlikely source – seashells.

Publication date: 26 September 2013

Science Park preferred site announced

Menai Science Park has today announced that a 50 acre site at Gaerwen is the preferred location for the new Science Park to serve North West Wales. The site, currently owned by the Isle of Anglesey County Council was one of three sites on the island shortlisted by the Science Park project team.

Publication date: 25 September 2013

Bangor University to lead multi million pound Europe-wide project to study the history of our seas

The history of the European marine environment during the past thousand years is the target of a €3.1 million (£2.6 million) project, funded by the European Union and led by scientists from School of Ocean Sciences at Bangor University.  The project, which also involves researchers from Norway, Germany, France, Croatia, Portugal and the Netherlands, will use the shells of very long-lived molluscs as a record of environmental change over the past thousand years.  It builds on research originally developed at Bangor by Professor James Scourse and Professor Chris Richardson that led in 2007 to the discovery of the longest-lived animal known to science – a clam from Iceland that had lived for 507 years.

Publication date: 24 September 2013

Young Food Dudes Lead the Way for Healthy Nurseries

An exciting new programme to establish good eating habits in very young children received the top Health Research Award from LARIA (Local Authorities Research Intelligence Association), at an awards ceremony in Manchester University.

Publication date: 17 September 2013

Let’s produce really tasty, outdoor-grown tomatoes in Wales and the UK

One not-for-profit organisation, the Sárvári Research Trust, is working with experts at Bangor University to develop new  outdoor-grown tomato crops for horticulturists in the UK. The aim is to develop a commercially viable new strain of hardy tomato that would be resistant to late- blight, the disease or organism that usually spells disaster for any outdoor grown tomato crop. The same organism has caused potato blight that resulted in the Irish potato famine.

Publication date: 10 September 2013

Micro-gels in Arctic and Antarctic pack ice

Since 2006 Professor Graham Underwood & Dr Shazia Aslam from  the University of Essex and Professor David Thomas from Bangor University's School of Ocean Sciences have led several projects (funded by the Natural Environment Research Council) to study the production of micro-gels, and their widespread importance to the frozen realms of the worlds oceans. They teamed up with colleagues from Australia and Canada to collect and analyse ice cores from both the Arctic and Antarctic. Seven years on, and many frozen trips later they are publishing a rather surprising finding – They, and their co-workers found that there is a strong relationship - spanning ice from both the Arctic and Antarctic - between the physical nature of the ice, the amount of microbiology it contains and the concentrations of gels.

Publication date: 10 September 2013

The neuroscience of erogenous zones

Our erogenous zones are a little odd. There are certain areas of our bodies, which if touched gently, create erotic feelings, while other adjacent body parts do not. For example a woman may enjoy having her neck or ear lobe stroked, but not her cheek or forehead. Why is that?

Publication date: 10 September 2013

Student project shows it is safe to eat roadside Blackberries

It is the time of year when many people pick fruit such as blackberries from roadsides. However, some fear that roadside soft fruits may contain high levels of heavy metals due to vehicle emissions.

A scientific study undertaken by student James Slack, of County Durham, as part of his degree in BSc Conservation & Forest Ecosystems at Bangor University, aimed to determine whether this was true.

Publication date: 9 September 2013

Bio-economy innovation recognised

The BEACON Bio-refining Centre of Excellence, an innovative research centre dedicated to developing industrial products from plants to reduce reliance on fossil-based resources such as coal and gas, has been shortlisted for the European Commission’s RegioStarts Awards 2014.

Publication date: 2 September 2013

Harnessing our Welsh sunshine

In Wales, we receive on average, 1,390 sunshine hours each year, which could potentially be converted to electricity. If we could capture and convert a small fraction of that, we would need no other source of generation to meet all our energy needs.

The technology to capture this energy is photovoltaics, which harnesses the sun’s rays and converts the energy into electricity which can then be used locally or fed into the national grid.

Publication date: 2 September 2013