March 2, 2024

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

On the news this week: Berlin’s unwanted Christmas trees; growing jellyfish numbers; and the rehoming of Madagascar Pochards.

First up, Berlin’s unwanted Christmas trees have ended their days as a festive snack for zoo elephants, and stocking fillers for some of their fellow residents. The once-a-year treats arrived last Friday at the Tierpark, one of the German capital’s two zoos. The elephants eat the trees themselves, whereas the monkeys are presented with trees decorated with vegetables, and the tigers get meat decorations. The latter two can then treat the decorations as a fun and tasty snack.


Next, it has been reported that jellyfish numbers are booming worldwide, with the potential to disrupt ocean ecosystems in a flash. The cause of this mayhem is thought to be due to a combination of warmer seas, polluted waters where the hardy jellyfish remains able to breed despite the death of other sea creatures, and overfishing – allowing the creatures to take advantage of disrupted ecosystems. Many scientists don’t think the ocean ecosystem can revert back to what it was. What is clear is that we need to take better care of our oceans, and work to tackle climate change, pollution and overfishing.


Finally, the rarest bird in the world – a species of duck called the Madagascar pochard – has been given a new home in time for 2019. An international team of researchers released 21 of the birds at a lake in the north of Madagascar. It is a step towards the recovery of a species that just over a decade ago was though

t to be extinct.


This week’s news was presented by Madeleine Openshaw, who is studying for a MSc in Science Communication at Imperial College London.

Banner image: Moon jellyfish at Gota Sagher, Wikipedia