University 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

More than eight in ten men in prison suffered childhood adversity – new report

Childhood adversity linked to more times in prison, violent offending and a history of time in youth offender institutions

Male prisoners are much more likely than men in the wider population to have suffered childhood adversities such as child maltreatment or living in a home with domestic violence, according to a new report by Public Health Wales and Bangor University.

Publication date: 29 April 2019

The last chance for Madagascar’s biodiversity

Scientists from around the world have joined together to identify the most important actions needed by Madagascar’s new government to prevent species and habitats being lost for ever.

In January, Madagascar’s recently-elected president, Andry Rajoelina, began his five-year term of office. A group of scientists from Madagascar, the UK, Australia, the USA and Finland have published a paper recommending actions needed by the new government to turn around the precipitous decline of biodiversity and help put Madagascar on a trajectory towards sustainable growth.

Publication date: 29 April 2019

Best Clubs and Societies Award for Bangor University

Bangor University has been chosen as the best in the UK for its Students’ Union Clubs & Societies in this year’s WhatUni.com Student Choice Awards. The University was also placed third in the UK in the Accommodation category and third  in the UK for the International award.

The latest accolade is a further endorsement of students’ place at the heart of the University’s extracurricular experiences. Taking part in activities improves students’ employability, giving them opportunities to develop a range of skills. It also creates communities and networking opportunities.

Publication date: 26 April 2019

How did the moon end up where it is?

Nearly 50 years since man first walked on the moon, the human race is once more pushing forward with attempts to land on the Earth’s satellite. This year alone, China has landed a robotic spacecraft on the far side of the moon, while India is close to landing a lunar vehicle, and Israel continues its mission to touch down on the surface, despite the crash of its recent venture. NASA meanwhile has announced it wants to send astronauts to the moon’s south pole by 2024.

This article by Mattias Green, Reader in Physical Oceanography, School of Ocean Sciences and David Waltham, Professor of Geophysics, Royal Holloway is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Publication date: 25 April 2019

Ligue 1: France gets its first female top flight football referee, but the federation scores an own goal

As the end of the 2018-19 football season approaches, a match between Amiens and Strasbourg in France’s Ligue 1 would normally attract little attention. However, Sunday’s game has already created headlines as Stéphanie Frappart will become the first ever woman to act as a main referee in the top tier of French men’s football.

This article by Jonathan Ervine, Senior Lecturer in French and Francophone Studies, School of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Publication date: 25 April 2019

Bangor’s expertise sees John reclaim the joy of speech

Innovative specialisms at Bangor University have meant that a man who lost his voice following cancer treatments two years ago is now able to communicate in his own synthetic voice.

The second episode of the DRYCH series on S4C on Sunday, 28 April, features the story of former University staff member, John Wyn Jones, from Beaumaris, and the efforts of the Language Technologies Unit at Canolfan Bedwyr, Bangor University's Center for Welsh Language Services, Technology and Research, to create a synthetic voice for him.

Publication date: 24 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

Royal Academy grant for the ‘Photo-Electric Light Orchestra’

An innovative outreach project delivered by Bangor University’s School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering in partnership with the University’s Widening Access Centre has secured a £30,000 grant from the Royal Academy of Engineering as part of its Ingenious scheme – a programme that seeks to engage the public with engineering.

Publication date: 16 April 2019

Migrating bats use the setting sun

Bats weighing no more than 6 grams, migrating over a thousand miles from the Baltic to Britain, could be the key to revealing how migrating mammals navigate.

We know more about how birds and reptiles and fish navigate than we do about mammals such as whales or wildebeest, but one part of the puzzle is revealed in the latest edition of Current Biology.

Publication date: 12 April 2019

Concert represents Bangor University’s ties with the East and stellar work of performers and composers

A concert will take place at Pontio Studio this Thursday, 11 April 7.30pm to capture the synergies of two distinct cultures and highlight the wealth of talent within Bangor University’s School of Music.

Publication date: 9 April 2019

MOVE - Putting Research into Practice

Haemodialysis patients can now increase their physical activity while receiving lifesaving treatment, thanks to a new website developed by exercise specialists.

Exercise Physiologists, Dr Jennifer Cooney and Dr Jamie Macdonald from Bangor University’s PAWB Centre in the School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences put their research into practice by creating MOVE, a website and resources which help people with kidney disease feel better by moving more, despite having to spend a large amount of time being sedentary while receiving their essential lifesaving treatment. 

Publication date: 9 April 2019

Bangor University students awarded prestigious Drapers’ Company medals

Bangor University students were presented with the Drapers’ Medals recently. The Drapers’ Company is one of the historic Livery Companies of the City of London, and now a philanthropic organisation. The Drapers’ Company kindly donates two medals each year to be awarded to outstanding postgraduate students.

Publication date: 8 April 2019

Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences

Bangor University has its second ever Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences with the  awarding of a Fellowship to Howard Davis, Professor of Social Theory & Institutions at the School of History, Philosophy and Social Science.

Publication date: 5 April 2019

Our Planet is billed as an Attenborough documentary with a difference but it shies away from uncomfortable truths

Over six decades, Sir David Attenborough’s name has become synonymous with high-quality nature documentaries. But while for his latest project, the Netflix series Our Planet, he is once again explaining incredible shots of nature and wildlife – this series is a little different from his past films. Many of his previous smash hits have portrayed the natural world as untouched and perfect, Our Planet is billed as putting the threats facing natural ecosystems front and centre to the narrative. In the opening scenes we are told: “For the first time in human history the stability of nature can no longer be taken for granted.”

This article by Julia P G Jones, Professor of Conservation Science, School of Natural Sciences is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Publication date: 5 April 2019

Bangor figures in University impact table

A new league table just published gauges how universities are making a real impact on society outside their research and teaching.

The University Impact Rankings results reveal a brand new line-up of institutions, and place Bangor University among the world’s 200 top performing institutions. 23 other UK universities join with Bangor University among the top 200, with Bangor being the only University from Wales represented.

Publication date: 4 April 2019

HRH Prince of Wales notes shining example of best practice in sustainable management on expansion of the Cayman Islands Marine Protected Areas

Bangor University working in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy have assisted the Department of the Environment to expand the Marine Parks system in the Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean, through projects funded by the DEFRA Darwin Initiative. 

The expansion of Cayman’s existing marine parks was approved by the Cabinet and announced during the visit of His Royal Highness, Prince of Wales, on 28th March.  The Environment Minister indicated that “This expansion will serve to protect our local marine stocks, as well as the crucially important coral reef network surrounding our Islands for generations to come.”

Publication date: 4 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

Food banks are becoming institutionalised in the UK

I was one of 58 academics, activists and food writers who published a stark open letter warning against food banks becoming institutionalised in the UK. We believe the country is now reaching a point where “left behind people” and retailers’ “leftover food” share a symbiotic relationship. Food banks are becoming embedded within welfare provision, fuelled by corporate involvement and ultimately creating an industry of poverty.

This article by Dave BeckPostdoctoral Teaching FellowBangor University  is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Publication date: 2 April 2019

Solving one of the great mysteries surrounding the moon

Dr Mattias Green of Bangor University, in collaboration with researchers from Royal Holloway, University of London, have netted a research grant worth £520K from the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to tackle a major question in the understanding of the history of the moon.

Publication date: 2 April 2019

The arts can enhance relationships between dementia care staff and care home residents

The arts have been shown to affirm dementia care staff skills and confidence, enabling meaningful exchanges with residents that can be creative, ‘in the moment’, spontaneous and improvised.

A partnership between Bangor University’s DSDC Wales Research Centre (the research group from Ageing & Dementia at Bangor in School of Health Sciences), Dementia PositiveTenFiveTen Consultancyand Flintshire County Council Social Services resulted in an 18-month research project which developed and tested Creative Conversations, an art-based staff development programme for the dementia care workforce.

Publication date: 1 April 2019