I, Science Radio – 22 Oct 2018

On this weeks show: an interview with the I, Science co-editor; the Imperial Late Greenovate Festival; the Purple Earth Hypothesis; and the conservation efforts paradox.

Looking at mountains from a bird’s point of view

Emma Brown finds that mountains may not be the shapes we thought they were – when considering wildlife habitat – and this may be good news

Wild hope: Conservation successes

Our little blue planet is dying. For decades scientists have been warning of the potentially fatal affects of pollution, global warming and deforestation. Yet, we all continue to consume unsustainable quantities of …

Poor risk communication is tree-mendously worrying

I was born in Ipswich, Suffolk, and although I couldn’t wait to leave the place when I headed off to University, I have since come to love it in its own way. While Ipswich itself is a fairly bland place, my memories of the countryside around the town are pretty idyllic. I spent my 18th […]

Science Behind the Photo #46

Andean Flamingos Pink bodied and yellow legged, these Andean Flamingos sift through shallow silt at sunset in the Atacama desert. Flamingos are filter-feeders, mainly eating microscopic algae that they filter from the water with their uniquely structured upside-down beak. Unlike most other birds, the flamingo has a narrower top beak than bottom, and its top […]

Skiing’s Dirty Secret

With the summer coming to a close, your mind might be starting to wander onto more wintery thoughts. For some, this will mean deciding on where to take your next skiing holiday! However, I doubt that when booking your trip, the environmental policy of the resort will have crossed your mind. Whilst conservation may not […]

The Thames: Back from the Dead?

Dead fish after an overflow event. Image: Thames Anglers Conservancy. There once was a time when the Thames was teeming with life. Otters, eels, and even salmon were abundant. But time has not been kind to the river, and it has been subjected to the worst consequences of human development. The use and abuse of […]

Residents Lead the Way

Residents lead the way in restoring the River Wandle Bright and early on a June weekend morning, volunteers in a park in South London are pulling on waders, grabbing litter pickers, and slipping their hands into protective gloves. It’s time to clean up the River Wandle. The River Wandle starts in Croydon, runs through South […]

Conservation Canines: Update #2

Update #2 from science documentary filmmakers Jade Hoffman and Noah Baker, who are filming dogs that track whales in the Pacific Northwest. Looks like they’re having pretty good weather out there, which must be good for filming. We held back from posting this until the rain stopped, in case you spat coffee at your screen […]

Conservation Canines: Update #1

Last week Noah Baker and Jade Hoffman, documentary filmmakers from Imperial College London, left for the Pacific Northwest in the US to start making a film about dogs that track whales. The Conservation Canines project, run out of the University of Washington, Seattle, uses highly-trained sniffer dogs – similar to those used by customs officials […]

When the Familiar Vanishes

Adonis Blue This article is taken from the Winter 2011 issue of I, Science. Are we in a post-butterfly era? Kevin Edge explores the role amateur contributions could play in saving the British butterfly population. Mid-winter, many like to recall warm summer days when meadow, wood and cliff walks are alive with countless flowers, bees […]

Is Palm Oil So Evil?

Palm oil is indigenous to the tropical belt area but has only recently spread across the world in an industrial context. The industry reputation suffers damage as a result of the necessary destruction it causes to tropical forest, in order to clear land for plantations. Environmental standards have been introduced to improve the sustainability of […]

Safe Serengeti?

There will not be a highway through the Serengeti according to the government of Tanzania last Wednesday. But if that’s the case why aren’t all the conservationists celebrating the victory? The reason is because no-one seems to be entirely sure about what the government have conceded. The plan to build a motorway straight through the […]

Highway across the Serengeti

Tanzania’s plan to build a $480 million road through the Serengeti has been condemned by the world. Last week Johnnie Carson, US diplomat, told reporters he had already expressed concerns to the Tanzanian government over the road in April. The US is added to the list of countries against the road. The plan however is […]

Science Behind the Photo #23

White Stork  (Ciconia ciconia) You may be aware of species, such as kangaroos for instance, which use saliva to cool their bodies in the same way that humans and other primates use sweat. However, did you also know that some animals use their excrement for this purpose? This process is known as urohidrosis and is […]

Science Behind the Photo #21

  Increasing average global temperatures are allowing alien species from Mediterranean climates to invade into more northerly areas. This is a major problem in the large alpine forest areas of central Europe. A prime example of such an invasive species is the pine processionary moth (Thaumetopoea pityocampa). This moth species, originally from the Mediterranean is […]

The unseen threat of nitrogen

Nitrogen is one of those elements that never really gets much attention. It’s colourless, odourless and mostly inert. For the most part, it’s a bit of a loner as well, only bonding with itself in the form of N2. Unfortunately, it’s the quiet ones that can prove to me the most dangerous, as an international […]

Science Behind the Photo #11

Last week, the UK government put the Lake District forward as one of its 11 nominees for new UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Other sites nominated by the government include the Forth Bridge and St Helena, the South Atlantic island where Napoleon died in1821. The government is also making a third attempt to have Charles Darwin’s […]

Science Behind the Photo #10

Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) There is a paradox in nature conservation, that the efforts taken to protect a species from extinction, may be the very cause of their eventual demise. This can be seen clearly at the Tanjung Puting Rehabilitation Centre in Indonesian Borneo. Set out as a series of islands across the West coast, the […]

Science Behind the Photo #5

  Amur (Siberian) Tiger Panthera tigris altaica (Photo by Andrew Purcell) The Chinese Year of the Tiger came to an end on 3rd February. As part of the Year of the Tiger, a major conservation effort has taken place in China to protect the remaining Tigers in this region. According to the most recent WWF survey, […]

Plight of the Penguins

I realise that our blogs have been somewhat penguin-heavy this week and I can assure you that this was in no way planned (at least not on my behalf). I had originally intended this blog to be about the 25th anniversary of the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster. However, faced with the prospect of being branded […]

Science Behind the Photo #1

Painted Lady (Cynthia cardui) Almost a third of butterflies in Europe are in decline and one in ten is threatened with extinction. This also has a severe knock-on effect for the plant species which rely on butterflies for pollination. A recent report by Natural England has found that that the number of butterflies in the […]