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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…

January: Study reveals long time scale of recovery for marine sea fans and other species A team of scientists from the School of Oceans predicted that Pink seafans, Ross corals and white sea squirts could take up to 20 years to recover after an area of seabed, the Lyme Bay Special Area of Conservation, was closed due to scallop dredging in 2008. The scientists sampled Lyme Bay at the time of the change-over and resampled the sites in 2017. Former Professor Michel Kaiser said “The time-scale of recovery appears to be directly linked to the reproductive strategies shown by the different…

The School of Ocean Sciences research on the impact of climate change on coral reefs and sea ice and the School of Natural Sciences research into soil science and forestry was heard in the debate on Climate Change at the House of Lord. Baroness Walmsley, of the Liberal Democrats referred to a letter she received from four children from Year Six of The Rofft Primary School, Marford, where they expressed their concern “for climate change the polar bears losing their habitat”. Baroness Walmsley quoted research from the School of Ocean Science on the “increasing rate of decline of the sea…

Pioneering new techniques will enable leading aquarium visitor attractions to breed their own tropical fish, following a new collaboration. The larvae of many tropical fish species are so small, that they are invisible to the naked eye, and their food source is even more microscopic. This makes captive breeding of these fish challenging. But aquaculture experts at Bangor University believe that they can help the aquarium industry to develop techniques to rear their own coral reef fish from captive larvae. The Zoological Society of London (ZSL), The Deep and SEA LIFE, three of the UK’s leading aquariums are working…

The Chemistry department has been threatened, having knock on effects to other departments throughout the Environmental Sectors of the University. On 18th January 2019, students and lecturers alike came together to protest the proposed cuts that would see the entire chemistry department closed within the next three years. The general consensus remains that the anticipated loss of expert chemistry staff and the department as a whole would result in harm, as oppose to benefit for the university, and will have definitive negative impacts on Environmental-based courses. “We contribute to a lot of other courses; from Biology to Environmental Science. It’s…

In late 2018, the Fit Cymru Project at Bangor University saw the addition of new Solar PV panels on four of the universities buildings: Brambell, Thoday, Wheldon and Canolfan Brailsford. Since then, permission has also been granted to place additional panels on the library section next to the Grade 1 listed aspect of the main- arts building. Instillation is expected to begin over the Easter holiday period and staff are excited by the prospect of partaking in the creation of a low-carbon future for Wales. The funding came from a Welsh Government initiative to improve energy efficiency and lower overall…

Anglesey breathes a sigh of relief as plans are postponed to build the new Wylfa Power Station. In December of last year, the people of Anglesey engaged in a protest against the building of 100 new pylons across the island for the purpose of energy transfer from the Power Plant. Fortunately for the Islanders, the building has been postponed for the next 3 years following a funding deficit. We interviewed Bangor University’s own expert on Renewable Energies, Dr Paula Roberts (Senior Lecturer in Environmental Management), to gauge the situation, and give a broader overview of the idea of Nuclear energy:…

The ScienceAlliance Communication Workshop at Bangor University explains the crucial link between Journalism and Science, encouraging students to share their discoveries with the world and inspire change. Simon Willcock, a senior lecturer in Environmental Geography at Bangor University, organised and curated a workshop with the esteemed Environmental Journalist, Jeffrey Barbee. Their first collaboration entailed the scaling of a 125 m cliff to reach the ‘untouched’ forest of Mount Lico. This venture gained significant media attention and contributed a key turning point for Dr. Willcock in term of interactions with journalism: “A huge risk in science, and it has a bit…

Bangor University Primatology students were extremely lucky to have Matilda Brindle present a guest lecture on her PhD topic; Masturbation in Primates. Matilda is a PhD from University College London, Institute of Zoology, and is currently researching the evolution of auto-sexual behaviours (masturbation) in primates. Her previous project focused on the evolution of the penis bone (baculum), one of the most enigmatic structures in the animal kingdom. Matilda began the talk on why masturbation has become such a taboo subject. The history of masturbation reflects broad changes in society concerning ethics, sexuality and social attitudes. The bad stigma that surrounds…

Wombat faeces has baffled scientists for decades. The Australian marsupial passes cubed-shaped poo, and the only species of mammal to do so. Despite having a pretty normal shaped anus like other mammals, wombats do not pass normal shaped poo. Researchers revealed that the elasticity of their intestines help sculpt the faeces into cubes, the team compared wombat intestines to pig intestines by inserting a balloon and monitored variations of the stretching patterns. It was discovered that wombat faeces changed from liquid form into solid form in the last 25% of the intestines but the final 8% of the intestines varied…

NASA’s next mission involving the Mars rover will continue the hunt for life outside of earth. The 2020 mission will look for signs of ancient life in an ancient river delta. The rover is expected to launch during July 2020 and land on Mars during February 2021. The rover is hunting for signs of past life in the sediments of the Jezero crater, which used to house a 250m deep lake and a delta that flowed into the lake. The presence of the lake may have influenced and supported growth of life due to highly favourable abiotic conditions. River deltas…