Changing climate is narrowing options for migrating birds

The volatility of seasons is affecting the breeding patterns of Brent geese, a migratory bird species. Image credit - Flickr/milo bostock, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Across an entire desert or ocean, migratory birds make some of the most extreme journeys found in nature, but there are still huge gaps in our understanding of how they manage to travel these vast distances and what a changing climate means for their migration patterns. ‘Some species of migrants might be affected by a … Read more

Dried-out tardigrades could point way to drug preservation, resilient crops

Scientists are trying to work out how tardigrades survive extreme environments such as heat and drought. Image credit - Frank Fox, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

by Gareth Willmer New insights into how tardigrades survive extremely dry environments could reveal new ways of preserving drugs, boosting crops’ tolerance to drought or fighting disease, but so far there is no simple answer to how these tiny creatures endure desiccation. Despite being nicknamed moss piglets, tardigrades do an awful lot more than just … Read more

Scientists speed up the evolution of yeast to create tastier and healthier alcohol

Scientists are speeding up the natural selection process of yeasts to help develop beer and wine that is low in alcohol content. Image credit - U3144362, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Researchers across Europe have started to speed up the evolutionary process of yeast to develop new or better flavours for wine and beer. The objective is for beer and wine producers to better accommodate changing consumer tastes and trends, such as anti-GMO sentiments and demand for low-alcohol products. ‘All kinds of fermentation beverages start out … Read more

Wing tip device for cleaner aviation wins 2019 EU young scientist prize

Magnus Quaade Oddershede says his wing tip design could reduce the climate impact of aviation. Image credit - EUCYS/ European Commission

by Annette Ekin An alternative aeroplane wing tip dubbed ‘new raked’ that would make flying more fuel efficient has been awarded one of four €7,000 first prizes at this year’s European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS). The Danish student behind the design, Magnus Quaade Oddershede, 19, said his model came out of a two-week … Read more

Five things you need to know about: decarbonising Europe

Countries in Europe are committed to decarbonising, but experts say not nearly enough is being done and that we need real political action. Image credit - Peter Castleton/Flickr, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

by Jonathan O’Callaghan Countries across Europe have, in the past few years, announced their intention to become carbon neutral in the coming decades. Some, like Norway, have targets for 2030, while others, like the UK and France, have goals that extend to 2050. Despite the differences, however, all have agreed to decarbonise, but just what … Read more

Land use puts huge pressure on Earth’s resources. Here’s what needs to change

Climate change will heat land five times more than oceans, creating immense soil and water challenges for food production. Image credit: photosforyou/Pixabay, licensed under Pixabay licence

by Emanuela Barbiroglio Deforestation, intensive agriculture and rising urbanisation are all putting intense pressure on the Earth’s natural resources and resilience to climate change. But how exactly does the way we use land need to change if we are to take care of the planet and provide enough food and resources to sustain a growing population? … Read more