News archive - 2014

Research into fruit fly cells could lead to cancer insights

New research by scientists at the University of Exeter has shown that cells demonstrate remarkable flexibility and versatility when it comes to how they divide – a finding with potential links to the underlying causes of many cancers.

Cambodian villagers best placed to prevent illegal logging

A study into deforestation in Cambodia has found that forests are better protected when villagers are given the responsibility to manage them locally.

Bat’s sea crossing is first from UK to mainland Europe

A tiny bat found in the Netherlands is believed to provide the first direct evidence that British bats migrate over the sea between the UK and mainland Europe.

Fungi are the rainforest 'diversity police'

A new study has revealed that fungi, often seen as pests, play a crucial role policing biodiversity in rainforests.

Protein discovery could pave the way for vaccine against deadly disease

A discovery by scientists at the University of Exeter concerning the structure of a protein may represent a significant step towards the development of a vaccine for a highly virulent and deadly disease.

Alumni sailors enjoy medal haul at Miami World Cup

Sailing alumni from the University of Exeter have helped the RYA British Sailing Team to an impressive medal haul at the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) World Cup event in Miami, USA.

What the jackdaw saw - study shows birds communicate with their eyes

Researchers in Cambridge and Exeter have discovered that jackdaws use their eyes to communicate with each other – the first time this has been shown in non-primates.

Hidden crop pest threat to poorer nations revealed

The abundance of crop pests in developing countries may be greatly underestimated, posing a significant threat to some of the world’s most important food producing nations, according to research led by the University of Exeter.

Satellite tracking identifies Atlantic Ocean risk zones for leatherback turtles

The last large populations of the leatherback turtle are at risk because their migratory routes in the Atlantic Ocean overlap with the locations of industrial fisheries, a new study shows.

Biofuels group in the running for Innovator of the Year award

A team of scientists from the University of Exeter who are developing methods to make bacteria produce diesel are amongst nine shortlisted finalists for the 2014 BBSRC Innovator of the Year competition.

‘Ground-breaking’ turtle study nets award for Tom

Unique research into endangered sea turtles, which will lead to a Caribbean government changing its conservation policy, has seen a student from the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus recognised in a national competition.

Feminised fish populations in polluted English rivers remain self sustaining

Research by scientists at the University of Exeter in collaboration with Brunel University has revealed that some populations of wild roach, Rutilus rutilus L (a common fish in European rivers) are stable, despite their exposure to feminising chemicals in oestrogenic effluents.

Managed honeybees linked to new diseases in wild bees

Diseases that are common in managed honeybee colonies are now widespread in the UK’s wild bumblebees, according to research published in Nature.

Legal harvest of marine turtles tops 42,000 each year

A new study has found that 42 countries or territories around the world permit the harvest of marine turtles – and estimates that more than 42,000 turtles are caught each year by these fisheries.

Understanding microclimate could improve wildlife conservation management in a warming world, say researchers

Understanding the relevance of microclimate for wildlife may improve the effectiveness of conservation management in a warming world; say a group of researchers who have this week published an article discussing the topic in the popular conservation magazine, British Wildlife

Water racket - fish reactions to noise vary between species

Fish exposed to increased noise levels consume less food and show more stress-related behaviour, according to new research from the University of Bristol and the University of Exeter. 

New £5.5 million University of Exeter development at the Penryn Campus

A new £5.5 million facility at the Penryn Campus will provide another home for the University of Exeter Business School, Marine Renewables team, and growing Centre for Ecology and Conservation (CEC).

Global warming may increase methane emissions from freshwater ecosystems

New research led by the University of Exeter suggests that rising global temperatures will increase the quantity of the key greenhouse gas methane emitted from freshwater ecosystems to the Earth’s atmosphere – which could in turn lead to further warming. 

New insight into the transport systems of cells

New insights into the basic operation of cells has been revealed in ground-breaking research carried out at the University of Exeter using a combination of advanced live-cell imaging, molecular genetics and quantitative analysis.

Male extinction prevented by promiscuous females

Female fruit flies with a large number of sexual partners are playing an invaluable role in preventing the extinction of males, new research has shown.

Running geese give insight into low oxygen tolerance

A new study into how the world’s highest flying bird, the bar-headed goose, is able to survive at extreme altitudes may have future implications for low oxygen medical conditions in humans.

Online Easter egg hunt helps scientists unlock secrets of camouflage

An online Easter egg hunt in which players act as ‘predators’ to find hidden bird eggs will help scientists better understand camouflage and its evolution.

How Australia got the hump with one million feral camels

A new study by a University of Exeter researcher has shed light on how an estimated one million-strong population of wild camels thriving in Australia’s remote outback have become reviled as pests and culled on a large scale.

'Rotten' gas may help fish survive low oxygen environments

Research investigating how fish sense oxygen, carried out by the University of Exeter’s Dr. Cosima Porteus and her Canadian colleagues, has been published today in the prestigious Journal of Physiology.

Biosciences academic appearing on BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Living World’

Dr Fiona Mathews, a Senior Lecturer in Mammalian Biology will be appearing on the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Living World’ discussing voles with presenter Chris Sperring.

Sexual conflict affects females more than males, says new research on beetles

Researchers at the University of Exeter have found that sexual conflict over mating impacts the parental care behaviour and reproductive productivity of burying beetles.

Females prefer lovers not fighters, study finds

It’s official (in the horned beetle world at least), females prefer courtship over competitiveness – and it doesn’t matter about the size of your mandibles either.

Developing and testing models of fish behaviour around tidal turbines

A new project funded by NERC to provide an evidence-based tool to forecast the effects of anthropogenic noise on marine fish for Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA).

Exeter Biologist Elected Fellow of the Royal Society

Professor Nick Talbot of the College of Life and Environmental Sciences has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), the premier scientific accolade in the United Kingdom.

Degraded coral reefs will threaten the livelihoods of fishermen

If coral reef health continues to decline, reefs of the future may not be able to support the food demands and livelihoods of millions of people living in the coastal tropics, according to new research from the Universities of Exeter and Queensland.

Leverhulme success for Biosciences

Exeter Biosciences has had great success with the latest round of funding from the Leverhulme Trust with the procurement of three separate grants.

New £2 million partnership puts Exeter as research leader in Europe

The University of Exeter has announced a unique collaboration that will pioneer world-leading research to boost the effectiveness and safety of vital new drugs for both patients and the environment.

Scientists find best way to rid a garden of snails

Gardeners wanting to rid their spring flowerbeds of pesky snails can ditch the beer traps and egg shells and instead develop a strong throwing arm.

Allotments yield healthier soil, study finds

The soils under Britain's allotments are significantly healthier than intensively farmed soils, researchers have found.

Gannet sat nav reveals impact of fishing vessels

Fishing vessels have a far bigger ecological footprint than previously thought, according to research which tracked the movement and behaviour of seabirds using GPS devices.

The fungal eye

Researchers at the University of Exeter and São Paulo University, Brazil  have discovered a new light-sensing mechanism in a fungus, which is similar to that found in the human eye.

Biosciences student receives Fulbright scholarship

Will George a student from Biosciences has received a place on a Fulbright Summer Institute to study at Kansas State University on one of the most prestigious and selective summer scholarship programmes operating world-wide.

Mobile phones negatively affect male fertility, new study suggests

Men who keep a mobile phone in their trouser pocket could be inadvertently damaging their chances of becoming a father, according to a new study led by the University of Exeter.

Scientists unravel the genetic secrets of nature’s master of mimicry

Scientists investigating how one of the greatest shape shifters in the natural world is able to trick predators to avoid being eaten have identified the gene behind the fascinating feat.

SEB President's Medal for Exeter researcher

Early Career Researcher Dr George Littlejohn has won the Society of Experimental Biology President's Medal, for Education & Public Affairs.

Exeter 6th in UK for most cited researchers says new global ranking

Eight University of Exeter academics feature in an authoritative new list of the most highly cited researchers, published this week by Thompson Reuters. This places Exeter 6th in the UK.

"Stealing" genes helps microbes to adapt

Scientists have identified how microbes can adapt their contents to different environments by “stealing” genes from other species.

Cornwall academic awarded medal for scientific contribution

Professor David Hosken from the Penryn Campus has been awarded a prestigious prize from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) in recognition of outstanding scientific merit.

Exeter shows off cutting-edge research to budding scientists

Year 12 science students from across the South West are discovering cutting-edge scientific research in the “Britain Needs Scientists” conference hosted by the University of Exeter, held on Wednesday 2nd July.

Exeter scientist reveals secrets of Scotland’s basking sharks in new report

Seas between the islands of Skye and Mull on Scotland’s west coast are highly important for basking sharks, according to a report published today by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

Business and bees could benefit from new research

Researchers from the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) are collaborating with Cornwall’s leading vegetable growing company to increase its courgette yields by understanding more about how bees and other insects pollinate the plants.

Showcase highlighted innovation to improve healthcare and treatment

A wide range of research which is advancing knowledge on some of the greatest health challenges of our time was showcased at a dynamic event.

Rotten egg gas holds key to healthcare therapies

It may smell of flatulence and have a reputation for being highly toxic, but when used in the right tiny dosage, hydrogen sulfide is now being being found to offer potential health benefits in a range of issues, from diabetes to stroke, heart attacks and dementia.

Science could help Cornwall lead the world in sustainable lobster fishing

Biologists from the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute at the Penryn Campus are assessing the impact of the National Lobster Hatchery’s activities on wild lobsters around Cornwall’s coast.

Academic to feature on BBC One programme ‘Talk to the Animals’

An academic from the Centre for Ecology and Conservation is appearing on the BBC One programme ‘Talk to the Animals’ explaining more about the team's work on communication in clans of banded Mongoose in East Africa.

Microplastics worse for crabs and other marine life than previously thought, study shows

The tiny plastic particles polluting our seas are not only orally ingested by marine creatures, but also enter their systems through their gills, according to a new study led by the University of Exeter.

New report takes stock of jellyfish in UK seas

A new report by the University of Exeter and the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) takes stock of where and when UK jellyfish occur in UK seas for the first time in over 40 years.

Stress can make hard working mongooses less likely to help in the future

Researchers studying banded mongooses in Uganda have discovered that those who work hard to care for pups may be less likely to invest in future offspring in the same way due to elevated stress hormones.

New device costing just £10 detects deadly lung disease

A scientist from the University of Exeter has developed a simple, cheap and highly accurate device for diagnosing a frequently fatal lung disease which attacks immune deficient individuals such as cancer patients and bone marrow transplant recipients.

Noise pollution impacts fish species differently

Acoustic disturbance has different effects on different species of fish, according to a new study from the Universities of Exeter and Bristol which tested fish anti-predator behaviour.

Ocean acidification increases the toxic effects of copper pollution on marine worms

A team of researchers at the University of Exeter have found that the change in seawater pH caused by increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide, a phenomenon called ocean acidification (OA), will increase the toxicity of a common coastal pollutant on the early life stages of marine worms.

Major turtle nesting beaches protected in one of the UK's far flung overseas territories

Sea turtles are not a species one would normally associate with the United Kingdom. But on the remote UK overseas territory of Ascension Island, one of the world’s largest green turtle populations is undergoing something of a renaissance.

Boat noise impacts development and survival of vital marine invertebrates

The development and survival of an important group of marine invertebrates known as sea hares is under threat from increasing boat noise in the world's oceans, according to a new study by researchers from the UK and France.

Cornish winemakers could benefit from climate change study

The UK’s burgeoning winemaking industry will benefit from new research to assess climate change's impacts on Cornwall’s vineyards.

Go nuts with nature at Science in the Square 2014

After the huge success of previous events, researchers from the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus will be back sharing their passion for our planet at this year’s free Science in the Square.

Man-made noise makes fish more susceptible to predators

Despite their reputation as slippery customers, a new study has shown that eels are losing the fight to survive when faced with marine noise pollution such as that of passing ships.

Exeter scientists helping to protect rare horseshoe bat

Researchers at The University of Exeter are part of a major new project taking place across Devon aimed at finding out more about one of the country’s rarest bats.

New study reveals the effect of habitat fragmentation on the forest carbon cycle

Drier conditions at the edges of forest patches slow down the decay of dead wood and significantly alter the cycling of carbon and nutrients in woodland ecosystems, according to a new study.

Are flexible parents adaptable parents?

The flexibility of parental behaviours to respond to changes in behaviour of their offspring may actually constrain the ability of parents to adapt to changes in their wider environment.

Commitment eases access to medical advances in developing world

The University of Exeter has strengthened its commitment to encouraging access to medicine in low income and developing countries by adopting a new approach to health-related intellectual property on products and technologies deriving from its research.

Self-deceived individuals deceive others better

Over confident people can fool others into believing they are more talented than they actually are, a study has found.

New study charts the global invasion of crop pests

Many of the world’s most important crop-producing countries will be fully saturated with pests by the middle of the century if current trends continue, according to a new study led by the University of Exeter.

Exeter academics elected to the Academia Europaea

Exeter academics in both the Arts and Sciences have been honoured with election to the prestigious Academia Europaea.

Exeter Imaging Network workshop: 'Imaging Physiology', 1pm, Wednesday 3 September

The Exeter Imaging Network workshop this September is themed around ‘Imaging Physiology’, and will feature speakers from Exeter and several external institutions.

Burnt out birds suggest hard work could be bad for your health

Unequal sharing of workloads in societies could leave the most industrious individuals at higher risk of poor health and prone to accelerated ageing, according to a new study of a cooperative bird in the Kalahari Desert.

Behind the scenes at 'the biggest fish tank you have ever seen'

An unusual large scale experiment being led by a group of scientists at the University of Exeter investigating how fish respond to underwater noise is the subject of a new NERC Planet Earth podcast.

How plastic pollution may harm marine life

University of Exeter scientists are featured on the latest NERC Planet Earth Podcast on the effects of marine plastic on wildlife.

Biosciences research shortlisted for Times Higher award

A team from the University of Exeter which has designed and developed special strains of E. coli capable of producing diesel that is structurally and chemically identical to retail transport fuel has been shortlisted for a Times Higher Education (THE) award.

Expedition finds Nemo can travel great distances to connect populations

New research shows that as babies clownfish sometimes travel hundreds of kilometres across the open ocean.

Exeter bioscientist awarded Royal Society University Research Fellowship

A University of Exeter bioscientist is one of 43 UK scientists to be made a Royal Society University Research Fellow for 2014. 

Study identifies priority regions for conservation of iconic large marine animals

Oceanic fronts - areas where nutrients are drawn together resulting in foraging hotspots - should be priority regions for conservation efforts.

Research paves way for new generation of fungicides

Research by the University of Exeter has provided novel insight into the mechanism by which pathogenic fungi avoid the immune responses of the plants they attack.

Researchers solve riddle of the rock pools - Study shows rock gobies use rapid colour change camouflage to hide from predators

Study shows rock gobies use rapid colour change camouflage to hide from predators.

Fair Funding for Fungal Killers

Professor Ken Haynes from the University of Exeter has contributed to a letter published today in The Lancet, which emphasises an urgent need for the UK government to focus funding efforts on antifungal resistance, in addition to the currently well-funded area of antibacterial resistance.

Exeter researchers call for men to take part in fertility survey

New study to find out why increasing numbers of couples are suffering from fertility problems

Exeter researchers secure funding to sequence cryptic fungal genomes, one cell at a time

Funding from the United States Department for Energy, Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) has been awarded to an international team of researchers, including Dr Thomas Richards, to sequence the genomes of “uncultivable fungi” sampled directly from the environment.

Bioscience researchers awarded Darwin Initiative grant.

University of Exeter researchers have been awarded a two-year grant to promote the conservation of threatened marine animals.

Rising ocean acidity threatens sea life

Researchers in Exeter have found that sea creatures will be affected by rising ocean acidity.

New model gives scientists insight into cells’ fat-metabolisers

Recent research from the University of Exeter has demonstrated that Ustilago maydis, a fungal pathogen, can act as an excellent model to study the interplay of the fat-metabolising organelles of mammalian cells.

New research shows that bats will hang out with their friends this Halloween

New research has shown that despite moving house frequently, bats choose to roost with the same social groups of ‘friends’. 

Study reveals startling decline in European birds

Bird populations across Europe have experienced sharp declines over the past 30 years, with the majority of losses from the most common species, say researchers from the University of Exeter.

Biosciences welcomes new PhD and Master’s students

The University of Exeter welcomed new postgraduate research students from the UK and abroad this September, who will be completing twenty-nine PhD and twenty-seven Master’s programmes at the Department of Biosciences.

Students secure gold at international synthetic biology competition

A team of Exeter students are celebrating after winning gold at a prestigious worldwide synthetic biology competition.

Marine Scientist nominated for WISE hero award

From putting her life on the line to collect valuable data on ocean acidification, increasing marine education in secondary schools, and improving public engagement with the sciences through social media, Dr Ceri Lewis has rightfully earned her nomination for the 2014 WISE Hero award.

Welcome to Dr Stefano Pagliara, a new lecturer in Exeter Biosciences

The Exeter Biosciences department is pleased to welcome Dr Stefano Pagliara, recently appointed Lecturer in Biosciences, working on the analysis of single cells with microfluidics tools. Currently based in Lab231 Geoffrey Pope building, he will be moving to the Living Systems Institute to pursue his interdisciplinary projects, which sit at the frontier between Biosciences and Physics.

Exeter researchers go to town with badgers and meerkats

A team of researchers from the University of Exeter will be heading to London on Friday to showcase their research on badgers and meerkats as part in the Great British Bioscience Festival. 

Reports identify areas where wildlife can survive in a changing climate

The University of Exeter has worked with Natural England on a project that helps to target conservation action.

Exeter researcher wins prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prize in Biological Sciences

A Biosciences researcher at the University of Exeter is one of only five UK bioscientists to be awarded £100,000 from the Leverhulme Trust.

Study reveals significantly increased risk of stillbirth in males

A large-scale study led by the University of Exeter has found that boys are more likely to be stillborn than girls.

Research finds clue to why females live longer than males

Results could help researchers understand the mechanisms involved in ageing. 

Cornwall’s mysterious Bluefin tuna dissected at Penryn Campus

Researchers from the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus have completed their post-mortem of a Bluefin tuna.

Prestigious European training network comes to Biosciences

From the 1st to the 3rd December, Biosciences is hosting a workshop designed to help develop the next generation of European researchers.

You can hear the coral reefs dying

You can hear the sound of former bustling coral reefs dying due to the impact of human activity, according to new research from the Universities of Exeter and Essex

University of Exeter receives £5 million investment for STEM subjects

The University of Exeter has today received a £5 million funding boost to create its next generation of world-class science facilities.

Study shows embryos can learn

Pond snails are able to sense chemicals released by their predators whilst they are still embryos in the egg and alter their behaviour accordingly, according to new research. 

Mother plants teach seeds about seasons and give them a thicker coat when it's cold

New research from the University of Exeter and the John Innes Centre has found that 'mother' plants remember the seasons and use this memory to teach their seeds the time of year and tell them when they should germinate. 

How Knowledge Exchange can benefit both industry and academia

Universities are working with businesses to shape research questions that can benefit both academia and industry.

Unwrapping the science of Christmas

Many species of animals do weird and wonderful things during the colder months. 

CLES research rated internationally excellent in latest national assessment

CLES research has been rated as world-leading or internationally excellent in the first assessment of the research quality of UK universities since 2008, the Research Excellence Framework (REF).