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Department of Zoology

Loch Sunart, Scotland

Economic benefits of protecting 30% of the planet outweigh the costs at least 5-to-1

10 July 2020

In the most comprehensive report to date on the economic implications of protecting nature, over 100 economists and scientists find that the global economy would benefit from the establishment of far more protected areas on land and at sea than exist today. The report considers various scenarios of protecting at least 30%...

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Limpet being pulled off a rock

Stick like a limpet? It's all in the mucus

21 June 2020

Limpets are renowned for their powerful attachments to rocks on wave-swept seashores: previous studies showed large limpets can withstand more than 80 kg of force. Unlike barnacles and mussels, limpets do not stick permanently to rocks; instead, they switch from strong attachment to free locomotion depending on the tide...

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Burying Beetle by Syuan-Jyun Sun

Rapid and finely-tuned evolutionary change in wild burying beetles

28 May 2020

A new paper published in Evolution Letters shows how quickly animals can adapt to new environments, and how well they can fine-tune their adaptations to match local conditions. Until about 4000 years ago, England was covered in ancient forest – ‘the Wild Wood’, as Oliver Rackham called it. In the Iron Age deforestation...

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Cat and iguna.  Photo credit: C. Marmion

Invasive species in the Galápagos

21 May 2020

Two species introduced to the Galápagos, the cat (brought to the islands decades ago) and the smooth-billed ani (a more recent arrival) have been studied by PhD student Sophia Cooke . The results of both these studies have just been published: Cooke, S.C ., Anchundia, D., Caton, E. et al. Endemic species predation by the...

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Praying Mantids can adjust the timing of their strikes on prey

13 May 2020

praying_mantid_strike.gif Most predators must be flexible to capture prey trying to evade them, but ambush predators are often thought to have a stereotyped behaviour. One such predator is the praying mantid who ambush their prey with raptorial strikes, often snatching them from mid-air. In a new paper published today in...

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Examples of phenotypic trans-species polymorphisms

The Persistence of Polymorphisms across Species Radiations

12 May 2020

In a recent paper published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Dr Gabriel Jamie and Dr Joana Meier explore the phenomenon that the same polymorphisms often recur in many members of a species radiation (e.g. colour/pattern morphs, heterostyly, mating types, shell chirality). This phenomenon is puzzling because speciation...

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Mountains in Northern Mozambique by Gabriel Jamie

A review of northern Mozambique’s Afromontane birdlife

20 April 2020

The birdlife of northern Mozambique is very poorly known. Much of the area was inaccessible during the country’s civil war, before which few expeditions studying the region’s avifauna had been undertaken. In recent years, however, northern Mozambique’s mountains, a series of isolated granitic inselbergs, have received...

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Tropical Ecosystems in the 21st Century

6 April 2020

logging_truck.jpg Tropical ecosystems are highly diverse and provide myriad ecosystem services to humanity. However, these habitats are increasingly threatened by human activities. A special issue of Advances in Ecological Research, brings together papers describing these anthropogenic threats, including the impacts of...

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Professor Jenny Clack, FRS, 1947-2020

26 March 2020

clack_prof_jenny_hres.jpg Professor Jenny Clack, F.R.S., F.L.S. 1947-2020. Jenny was a palaeontologist. Why restate what everyone who knew Jenny already knows? Well, the fact that they already know it, without having to think, is the point: Jenny was resolute in her dedication to her chosen field of study. Her ability to...

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New Holland honeyeater in flight (c) Jessica McLachlan

Alarm! Quick, move! And stay hidden.

20 February 2020

In the struggle between predators and prey, a split-second can separate the quick from the dead. Alarm calls warning of immediate danger must, therefore, send rapid messages, yet animals often signal more urgent danger using repeated notes. This is paradoxical because more notes take more time to deliver. New Holland...

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