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Wales could meet 100% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2035, under an “ambitious” new plan set out by policy experts Environmental Policy in Wales has long been at the forefront of the Climate movement with hefty targets for emission reductions and waste management strategies. Now, one aspect of the new policy has emphasised the need for reforestation of Wales and with targets to high – Welsh farmers have raised concerned of that this drastic land-use change will have the their industry. With Wales targeted to an 80% reduction in Carbon emissions by 2050, extensive measures must be…

Lent for many people is a time of giving up a favourite food or a bad habit, and for years I’ve given up things I love – I stopped drinking fizzy drinks, I gave up Bourbon biscuits (the horror!), and last year I went Vegan for lent. This year, however, I decided to go a step further than I’d considered before – giving up plastic; something that is found all around us, and is ever-lasting. With the hope of reducing my use of plastic, I embarked on this journey, aiming to challenge myself and see how possible it really is.…

Research led by Dr Christian Dunn from the Bangor University Wetlands group has found microplastic pollution in both the Afon Cegin and the Llyn Cefni Reservoir. Microplastics are defined as fragments or fibres of plastic that are less than 5mm. The most prominent source of the pollutant are car tyres; clothing; plastic pellets (use to make general plastic goods); paints and road markings. Previous investigations have shown the detrimental impact that ingestion of microplastics may have on aquatic life and their persistent qualities that enable bioaccumulation throughout trophic levels. Scientific investigations are still ongoing as to the consequences of these…

The media is full of scary and shocking descriptions as of late, and as I’m sure many of you are, I am panicked. Here I have digested some of the biggest topics of 2019 into more approachable and understandable concepts so everyone can get a true grasp on what’s happening in the world of science. Last year various naturalists and conservationist warned of an ecological apocalypse, but what does this really mean? The term encompasses everything that is going wrong in current world. Global populations of wildlife are declining at an extremely rapid rate, biodiversity and abundance of flora and…

No Such Thing as A Fish A weekly podcast from the writers of QI, where they discuss fun and obscure facts from the week. Some of the best facts include “the man with the world’s longest-ever beard broke his neck and died after tripping over it” and the “The Dalai Lama is frightened of caterpillars”. With over 200 podcasts are available on Spotify and it is a definite must listen whilst you soak up the summer freedom. As well as that it’s extremely funny and gives you great useless facts to wow your next tinder date with Death on…

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. The findings form part of a wider research project into the differences between wild, farmed and hybrid salmon.…

Research conducted by students at Bangor University, working with Friends of the Earth, has attracted global media attention. As mentioned in the last issue of Seren, 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. Luke Frears, 22 and Jedd Owens, 23 analysed all the water samples, filtering them and counting the microplastic particles in the samples for the report, they also demonstrated that using fluorescence during microscope analysis is an efficient…

Professor Simon Creer, a Professor in Molecular Ecology Georgina Brennan, Postdoctoral Research Officer, at the School on Natural Sciences release work using DNA analysis that may help allergy sufferers. With climate change hitting us hard our winters are becoming warmer, the plants are blooming earlier, it is expected that 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. Creer and colleges at PollerGEN, have been working on…

Veganism is becoming more mainstream. The latest statistics from the Vegan Society state that the number of Vegans in the U.K. has risen from 150,000 in 2006 to over 540,000 just 10 years later. It has also been stated that moving towards a plant-based diet cuts land-use by 76% in comparison to meat diets. It would seem that Veganism promotes an all-round win for the planet, but how can we take that one step further? Living as a strict vegan for some years, I found myself wrapped in an all pervading definition of what I thought it was to live…

Aquaculture promises to feed an ever-growing population, replacing the ‘poor-man’s protein’ – rice –  with fish protein. However, the conversion from rice paddies to create aquaculture environments is having far reaching and unintended consequence for global warming. Researchers across the globe have been focusing their efforts towards understanding how anthropogenic actions affect the quantities of GHGs in the atmosphere. Key to understanding the underlying mechanisms of emissions are the microbial interactions inherent in soil processes. “Paddy fields produce huge quantities of methane when decaying plant material is broken down by microbes called methanogens in the oxygen-free waterlogged paddy soils. But in the…

A discovery we should all be excited about: Scientists have found a way of turning CO2 back in to solid coal at room temperature, a promising technological innovation for climate change mitigation. It was in Melbourne that it first happened, the RMIT university research team deciphered a way of capturing the Carbon using liquid metal hydrolysis to create solid coal flakes. The novel discovery was first published in Nature Communications and has been hailed as a permanent way to remove the CO2 provoking climatic warming. The more one studies energy generation in depth, the more one comes to realise how…

A recent report has been leaked through the BBC expressing concerns from Natural Resources Wales staff regarding how internal restructuring may affect their ability to protect the environment. Formed in 2013 from three separate organisations, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) are one of the largest government sponsored organisations in Wales. Their role is essentially to protect the environment and their responsibilities span from advising the Welsh government to educating the general public to implementing flood control measures. Imperative to the proper functioning of ecosystems, NRW also bears responsibility for monitoring water quality and biodiversity along with numerous other responsibilities essential to…

New research undertaken by Bangor University and Friends of the Earth has found microplastic pollution in some of the UK’s most iconic rivers and lakes. The study, supposedly the first of its kind, looked at ten sites across the UK. The sites included the Lake District, Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, a wetland and a Welsh reservoir. Unfortunately, microplastics were found to be present in all of them. Dr Christian Dunn, School of Natural Sciences, Bangor University, states that the findings suggest that microplastic should be considered as an emergent contaminant and that consistent, routine monitoring of all UK…

Marine Biologists global work to save the world’s coral reefs has drawn attention to the fact that the reefs are being increasingly affected by human activity. This has led for such scientists to push for the inclusion of the assessment of the effects of non-direct activities, such as activities occurring in markets or cities. Writing in a special issue of Functional Ecology, “Coral reef functional ecology in the Anthropocene”, and using coral reefs as an example, the scientists call for the inclusion of socio-economic activity into account when predicting future ecosystem responses of coral reefs. This is in contrast to…

Chewing Gum It’s hard to believe that something we optionally place into our mouths is made out of plastic, but here it is, chewing gum consists of a large amount of plastic. Often manufacturers will leave this off of the label as it’s not the most appealing, but the plastic product is often listed on the label as “gum base”. Most gum bases will include polyethylene, a plastic that’s used to make plastic bottles and plastic bags. Gum bases also tend to contain polyisobutylene, this is literally the rubber used to make the inner tube of tyres. Truly appetising. Glitter…

By Ella Daly  After years of indecision surrounding how to tackle the UK’s grey squirrel problem, pine martens are an increasingly popular ecologically-based solution to manage the invasive species. Pine martens, whose British populations have long suffered, are currently being considered for re-introduction in more locations in the UK following recent releases in mid-Wales. The mustelid has been courted by the media and conservationists as a ‘perfect predator’ that preferentially hunts grey squirrels and leaves the beloved red squirrel alone. This optimism stems from research in Scotland and Ireland which has shown that the presence of pine martens is associated…

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