Research News: November 2019

Did human hunting activities alone drive great auks’ extinction?

eLife news release

New insight on the extinction history of a flightless seabird that vanished from the shores of the North Atlantic during the 19th century has been published today in eLife.

The findings suggest that intense hunting by humans could have caused the rapid extinction of the great auk, showing how even species that exist in large and widespread populations can be vulnerable to exploitation

Publication date: 26 November 2019

Scientists complete largest global assessment of ocean warming impacts

A group of international marine scientists has compiled the most comprehensive assessment of how ocean warming is affecting the mix of species in our oceans – and explained how some marine species manage to keep their cool.

Researchers from the UK, Japan, Australia, USA, Germany, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand analysed three million records of thousands of species from 200 ecological communities across the globe.

Publication date: 26 November 2019

Pico power protects oldest Welsh Bible

A 431-year-old Welsh Bible is staying warm this winter, following the installation of a small pico hydro turbine by the National Trust at Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant in Snowdonia, which will help manage humidity levels in the 16th-century farmhouse.

Through collaboration with Bangor University and Trinity College, Dublin, the renewable energy scheme is helping the charity protect one of the nation’s most culturally important manuscripts more sustainably, with the Bible dating back to 1588 and one of only 24 known original copies left, it’s housed at the birthplace of its translator, Bishop William Morgan.

Publication date: 22 November 2019

One hand and two hemispheres: How both sides of the brain get involved post-amputation

Psychologists have shown, for the first time, how our brains’ plasticity and ability to adapt, extends across both sides of the brain.

We have known for a while that if one body part or function is lost, then an adjacent part of the brain, which controls a different function, can extend into and ‘take over’ the part of the brain responsible for the missing function.

Now functional MRI scans have shown how, in people who have lost one hand, the functions controlling the surviving hand extend across both brain hemispheres.

Publication date: 21 November 2019

Underwater Gliders help improve weather forecasts

New measurements of how waters mix just below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean are to be used to improve weather forecasts. 

The water turbulence was measured by an underwater ‘glider’ and the results of the research, led by Bangor University researcher Natasha Lucas, are published in a new Journal paper.

Publication date: 18 November 2019

Packaging our foods without plastic

People worldwide are increasingly concerned by the amount of single use plastic which surrounds our purchases, and in particular our food shopping.

While such wrappings appear unnecessary, many fruit and vegetable producers would argue that packaging perishables ensures that consumers can easily carry away their food. Further, more food reaches the market place undamaged, increasing the food supply and reducing food waste.

The solution lies in developing sustainable food packaging alternatives.

Publication date: 13 November 2019

Prey-size Plastics are Invading Larval Fish Nurseries

New research has shown for the first time, that larval fish across a range of fish species from different ocean habitats are surrounded by and ingesting plastics in their preferred nursery habitat.

Many of the world’s marine fish spend their first days or weeks feeding and developing at the ocean surface, but little is known about the ocean processes that affect the survival of larval fish. Larval fish are the next generation of adult fish that will supply protein and essential nutrients to people across the world. NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center and an international team of scientists, including Bangor University in the UK, conducted one of the most ambitious studies to date, to shed light on this critically important knowledge gap.

Publication date: 12 November 2019