Less knowledge, more power: Uninformed can be vital to democracy, study finds16 December 2011Contrary to the ideal of a completely engaged electorate, individuals who have the least interest in a specific outcome can actually be vital to achieving a democratic consensus. These individuals dilute the influence of powerful minority factions who would otherwise dominate everyone else, according to new research published in Science.
House-hunting honey bees shed light on how human brains come to a decision8 December 2011Avoiding deadlock in group decision making is a common problem for committees – but house-hunting honey bees may hold the answer, according to new research from Cornell University, the University of Cailfornia-Riverside, the University of Sheffield and the University of Bristol. The study, published today in Science Express, also reveals a striking similarity between how honey bee swarms and our own brains choose between alternatives.
Excellent Ph.D. theses6 December 2011The Ph.D. theses of two SoBS graduate students have won faculty commendations for excellence.
Bristol Plant Sciences supreme6 December 2011Heather Whitney wins 2012 SEB President's Medal, to become the 5th Bristol Plant Scientist holding the award.
War, peace and woodhoopoes5 December 2011Andy Radford tells NERC Planet Earth Online about the challenges of investigating group solidarity in an African bird.
The musical katydid that dared to be different1 December 2011Using a sensitive optical diode and high-speed video to examine wing motion, and Laser Doppler Vibrometry, in his paper in the Journal of Insect Physiology Fernando Montealegre-Z from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Bristol (UK) describes the unusual mechanics of stridulation used by males of Ischnomela gracilis, an exotic neotropical katydid from a remote island in the pacific ocean in Colombia.
British butterfly is evolving to respond to climate change30 November 2011As global temperatures rise and climatic zones move polewards, species will need to find different environments to prevent extinction. New research, published today in the journal Molecular Ecology, has revealed that climate change is causing certain species to move and adapt to a range of new habitats.
New Defra contract29 November 2011New Defra contract to consider the potential impact of anthropogenic noise
Breakthrough: ‘Global Warming Gene’28 November 2011Scientists at the University of Bristol, along with their colleagues in Minnesota and at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, have recently published exciting new research in the journal PNAS, which increases our knowledge about the way in which rising temperatures affect plant growth.
How bats hear objects in their path24 November 2011By placing real and virtual objects in the flight paths of bats, scientists at the Universities of Bristol and Munich have shed new light on how echolocation works. Their research is published today in Behavioural Processes.
Biologist awarded Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship8 November 2011Dr Patricia Sanchez-Baracaldo, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Bristol, has been awarded a prestigious Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship by the Royal Society.
UK scientists come together to help feed the 7 billion30 October 2011The Universities of Exeter and Bristol, in partnership with Rothamsted Research have officially joined forces to tackle one of the biggest challenges facing humanity: how can we sustainably feed a growing population?
Moth ears are activated by movement the size of an atom19 October 2011Moths are so finely tuned to the ultrasonic calls of predatory bats that the nerve cells in their ears are activated by displacements of the eardrum the size of a small atom, according to new research from the University of Bristol.
Cichlid male nannies help out, especially if they’ve been sneaking13 October 2011Subordinate male cichlid fish who help with the childcare for the dominant breeding pair are occasionally actually the fathers of some of the offspring they help to rear, according to new research from the University of Bristol published today in PLoS ONE. This sneaky paternity increases the subordinate fish’s investment in the offspring in their care.
Grant awarded to study bat diet in Jamaica10 October 2011Elizabeth Clare (School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol), Brock Fenton (Canada) and Wieslaw Bogdanowicz (Poland) have been awarded a grant from the Polish Academy of Sciences entitled “Shifting Biotas: the changing role of bats in seed dispersal and insect consumption on the Island of Jamaica”.
Prestigious award for Bristol elephant group6 October 2011Dr Kate Evans and Elephants for Africa have been selected as the 2011 recipients of the prestigious ‘George B. Rabb Conservation Medal’ for their dedicated work in understanding elephant biology and supporting conservation in Africa.
Wild plants are good for pollinators5 October 2011A new study has shown that encouraging strips of wild plants at the edges of fields is important for supporting bees and other important pollinators.
Keith Edwards awarded 2011 Royal Agricultural Society Research Medal23 September 2011The Royal Agricultural Society of England’s 2011 Research Medal, for work of direct benefit to UK agriculture, has been awarded to Professor Keith Edwards in the School of Biological Sciences, in recognition of his work using genomics-based technologies to identify, map, isolate, manipulate and express genes of interest to plant breeders.
Matt Zeale wins 2011 Vincent Weir Scientific Award23 September 2011Congratulations to Matt Zeale for winning the 2011 Vincent Weir Scientific Award for his PhD research. Matt received a cheque for £1000 for contributions arising from his PhD thesis on the conservation biology of the barbastelle.
Some like it hot – European fish stocks changing with warming seas15 September 2011The first "big picture" study of the effects of rapidly rising temperatures in the northeast Atlantic Ocean shows that a major shift in fish stocks is already well underway. But it isn't all bad news. The research, published today [15 Sep] in Current Biology, shows that some fishes' losses are other fishes' gain.
BBSRC grant to study animal 3D perception and camouflage15 September 2011Innes Cuthill, in collaboration with psychologists Julie Harris and George Lovell (University of St. Andrews) and theoretical biologist Graeme Ruxton (University of Glasgow) has been awarded a £400K BBSRC research grant to study 'countershading'.
Jane Memmott wins Top Ecology Prize15 September 2011Professor Jane Memmott has been awarded the President's Medal by the British Ecological Society. Previous recipients of the award include Professor John Lawton FRS, Professor Mike Hassell FRS and Professor Georgina Mace FRS. The medal was awarded this week at the Annual Meeting of the British Ecological Society.
Manipulative mothers subdue show-off sons13 September 2011The gaudy plumage and acrobatic displays of birds of paradise are a striking example of sexual selection, Charles Darwin’s second great theory of evolution. But new research shows that this powerful process may collapse when mothers can decide whether to have a son or a daughter.
Why we need plant scientists8 September 2011‘Plant scientist’ should take its rightful place beside ‘doctor’, ‘lawyer’ and ‘vet’ in the list of top professions to which our most capable young people aspire, according to a hard-hitting letter by an international group of botanists and crop scientists published today.
Mark Viney awarded £550k NERC grant10 August 2011Mark Viney has been awarded a £550k grant from NERC entitled “The determinants of measures of immune function in a wild mammal” to investigate the immune responses of wild mice.
Bird massages reduce stress for both giver and taker28 July 2011[From Tamera Jones, NERC Planet Earth Online] As anyone who's had one knows, a good massage does wonders for reducing tension. This isn't just the case for us; it's also true for apes, monkeys and even birds.
Mother knows best for urban fox families21 July 2011In urban fox families, mothers determine which cubs get to stay and which must leave while fathers have little say in the matter, new research by biologists at the University of Bristol has found.