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Browsing: Science

Plenty of protestors crossed many miles to reach Bangor’s Climate Strike March yesterday. However, only two of those travellers elected to do so under their own power, in a canoe. Luke McNair and Deio Collwyn Williams set off from their homes on the Llŷn peninsula at 6am, in a canoe that would later sit proudly beside that day’s demonstrations in Bangor. From Porthdinllaen to Y Felinheli, the friends paddled over 25 miles (40km) that morning in the name of environmentally-friendly travel. Though smaller scale, the journey mirrored that of Greta Thunberg, the Swedish schoolgirl who founded the School Strikes for…

The forest has always been an environment deeply resonant with the human spirit. Since the dawn of mankind, it’s been a place of mystery and darkness, but also shelter and comfort. Few places on earth are richer with life, it buzzes, oozes and beats in every nook and cranny. Ecologically speaking, the forest had long been considered a place of fierce competition for sunlight, food and survival, but over the past few decades a discovery has emerged with profound implications for our understanding of this ecosystem. In 1988, plant scientist E. I. Newman argued the existence of a complex subterranean…

Two important Ukranian exports to Wales are to be combined to produce a drink which is sure to raise a few eyebrows. We’ve long been importing vodka, and since 1986 we’ve had a few years of importing radiation resulting from the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power station. Now scientists at the University of Portsmouth hope to combine these exports by making a vodka using ingredients from Chernobyl’s radioactive wasteland.  After the nuclear power plant exploded, a 30km exclusion zone was declared unfit for human habitation for twenty four thousand years. Three hundred and fifty thousand people were moved from…

Species such as fireflies, cuttlefish and squid light up to camouflage themselves, to communicate and attract each other, as well as for defence. These species produce light in two different ways. Bioluminescence occurs when an organism produces light following chemical reactions. While in biofluorescence, light falling on the organism excites an electron in a protein, raising its energy to unstable levels. When this happens, excess energy is released from the electron in the form of fluorescent light.  Corals use photoprotective biofluorescence to turn harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun into a harmless glow. This light production process could be a…

Tesco and ASDA have become the first retailers to sign up to trials with the National Grid, which will see their hundreds of thousands of aisles of fridges and freezers used as a ‘virtual battery pack’ to reinforce the UK’s electrical supply. The National Grid is responsible for managing and maintaining a steady supply of power to the entire UK. It is especially challenging to maintain this supply during times of ‘peak demand’ where the system’s capacity is pushed to its limits. If the Grid cannot supply sufficient power to an area, the network automatically disconnects to prevent damage to…

Tuna is a staple of the student diet; cheap, easy and healthy… right? A study conducted by the University of California suggests that some students may be eating dangerous amounts of this fishy treat. Fifty four students had hair samples taken and were asked to keep a record of the number of meals containing tuna they had eaten each week. The hair samples were used to measure the levels of mercury, a heavy metal found in most fish, in the participants’ bodies. Out of the fifty four participants, 54% reported eating more than 3 meals of tuna a week, and…

What’s the story behind the ‘fish tube’ meme? The Wooshh Passage Portal, or ‘Salmon Cannon’, has been used to transport thousands of fish safely over dams and other man-made obstacles. Like most fish, salmon stocks are in decline due to overfishing and man-made obstacles such as dams. Salmon migrate from the sea up freshwater rivers to ensure that their young have a safe place away from the many predators that patrol the oceans. Although they are famously proficient at surmounting waterfalls, they fall short at hundred meter high man-made dams. This is where the ‘Salmon Cannon’ comes into play. It…

A new data science hub for green energy is to be created at Bangor University, backed by £4.6m EU funds. The new Smart Efficient Energy Centre (SEEC) will develop joint research between Welsh and international organisations and businesses. It will investigate the options for using big data science to improve the efficiency of low carbon energy systems including nuclear, marine and offshore wind energy. The centre is forecast to become an international hub of excellence in North Wales, generating a further £9m of research income over the next four years, and encouraging collaboration on new ideas and innovative solutions to global energy efficiency issues. Research will be based…

by Fatima Ammar  Bangor’s student-led community garden at the Fron Heulog site (next to St James’s Church on Friddoedd Road), formerly nicknamed ‘HogSoc garden’ is undergoing a new project in collaboration with Headway Gwynedd, the brain injury association. On top of the pre-existing raised vegetable beds, cold frames, live willow dome, Welsh heritage fruit trees, and our charismatic shed, we’ll be creating a sensory garden for brain trauma patients to enjoy, benefit from, and relax in. Sensory gardens are used to help those suffering from various sensory problems, learning difficulties, brain injuries, or mental disorders to feel safe and comfortable…

Bangor University has been awarded a ‘First Class Honours’ for its sustainability credentials. by People & Planet, the largest student network in the UK campaigning for social and environmental justice. Only 29 of the 154 universities in the UK are placed in this category. This latest table sees the University rising nine places in the table, and achieving its highest ever score, and is assessed on a wide range of environmental, social and financial sustainability criteria. Dr Einir Young, Bangor’s Director of Sustainability said: “This is further evidence that we are making progress and underlines our commitment to sustainability as a…

Last week, Bangor University declared a climate emergency, joining other institutions across the world in the fight against climate change. But what does it imply? What are the changes that will be made? How will this impact students? The first point in understanding this topic is knowing what declaring a climate emergency means: It acknowledges climate change as an imminent threat It commits to certain local, national and global targets of combating climate change It acts as the beginning of the climate change mitigation process, influencing policy making and planning Simply said, declaring a climate emergency is sounding the alarm for action…

Undeb Bangor will issuing an official response to the Estates Strategy soon.  Bangor Healing Garden Volunteers and Project leaders are issuing a petition letter regarding Fron Heulog Site’s consultation by the University. The letter argues the university should embrace the Garden as an ecological and sustainable asset, by including the site in the ‘Biodiversity and sustainability’ section of this PACs strategy. The University’s consultation document “proposes a radical consolidation of the University’s Estate to reduce the footprint and improve the quality of the built estate, thereby reducing costs and improving the experience of students, staff and visitors.” The deadline for…

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…

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