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Department of Zoology

Tropical rainforest destruction

Oil palm replanting may decrease arthropod biodiversity

28 September 2020

Oil palm replanting may decrease arthropod biodiversity New study suggests biodiversity impact in multiple microhabitats Oil palm is the most traded vegetable oil in the world, featuring in products ranging from instant noodles to lipstick . It has long been the source of huge controversy as plantations – most of them in...

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Professor Simon Maddrell, FRS

10 September 2020

dsc_7652.jpg Professor Simon Maddrell, FRS 1937 - 2020 We are very sad to announce that our colleague Simon Maddrell passed away yesterday. Simon was an exceptional insect physiologist, an inspiring teacher, a talented financial manager and an infectiously enthusiastic colleague. Simon was a PhD student with Sir Vincent...

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We don’t know what works in conservation for many threatened species and habitats

7 September 2020

Go to your doctor and they’ll give you the best treatment based on the scientific evidence. So why can’t we do the same for biodiversity? Using evidence can help us learn from others past failures and successes and help find the best ways to conserve and protect species threatened with extinction. To enable this, the...

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Dr Marta Zlatic receives Royal Society Award

14 August 2020

We are delighted to offer our congratulations to Dr Marta Zlatic , Principle Research Associate, and former student and research fellow, in the Department on the award of the Royal Society’s Francis Crick Medal and Lecture. She receives the award for discovering how neural circuits generate behaviour by developing and...

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Multimodal mimicry of hosts in a radiation of parasitic finches

Mimicry in Africa’s brood-parasitic finches

10 August 2020

Dr Gabriel Jamie , Professor Rebecca Kilner and Dr Claire Spottiswoode from the Department along with colleagues from Zambia, Princeton University, University of Puerto Rico and University of Exeter recently published a paper on mimicry in Africa’s brood-parasitic finches in the journal Evolution. They studied the...

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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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