SciEnvy

For All Things Environmental Science
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Snake fungal disease: potential impacts on European snakes

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In the past decade, snake populations in North America have declined – attributed to snake fungal disease. Snakes benefit ecosystems in a number of ways; one of the most important is to keep pest species such as rats under control. As I’m sure you’re aware, in the US snakes are heavily persecuted for events such as ‘rattlesnake roundups’ and harmless snakes are often targeted due to mistaken identity. Over the past few decades, conservationists have worked hard to help these populations recover but now a new nemesis is on the horizon. Read More...

St Vincent blog: St Vincent Volcano Awareness Week 2018

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3 PhD Students, one beautiful Caribbean island and 130 kilograms of volcano……


Sometime in the dark and dreary months of February/March this year, we three first year PhD students got some AMAZING news….. Our supervisor/co-supervisor was headed to the Caribbean for a week of volcano-related outreach and guess what?
She needed to take some extra people to carry her GIANT VOLCANO EXHIBIT!!!!
This presented a very difficult choice, go to the Caribbean…. or stay in Norwich. Ultimately, we were “
persuaded” to take up the offer of an all-expenses paid trip to the island of St Vincent – not just for the sun, sea and sand but because this was an excellent opportunity to hone our skills in organisation, science communication, community outreach and time management (of course!). Not to mention the chance to climb an active volcano – something we volcanologists literally can’t get enough of!

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Nature's Farmers

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The transition from human hunter-gathering to agriculture occurred approximately 10,000 years ago and is often heralded as a major transition in human evolution. However, millions of years earlier, several other unsuspecting species had already taken the step towards intensive agriculture and were busy cultivating their own crop varieties.
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Scat Dog Blog


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As a Conservation Scientist, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of the animal you are studying, and the environment in which it lives. This often involves spending long periods of time in the middle of nowhere conducting field surveys and, in my case, at the mercy of miniature predators such as leeches, ticks and mosquitoes in hot and humid rainforest. Surveys are a necessary routine when playing wildlife detective. Usually repeated over several weeks, months or years, depending on your animal and scientific questions, they provide a range of valuable information on a chosen species, helping us to build a picture of their behaviours such as habitat selection, diet, and mating habits.

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Chai, Massai and a long way to fly

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Fairly early on in my PhD, I started the process of applying for a research permit for Kenya. I’d hoped to model changes to water resources that could arise because of climate change and then discuss my findings with those making decisions on water management in the country. After facing long delays to this process, I finally (if slightly reluctantly) decided to take my research in another direction.

Now, as well as using computer models to examine changes to water resources, I also investigate changes to the distribution of plants, animals and agricultural crops. Integrating these topics into my research has been fascinating and I will never regret my decision to change pathways, but not being able to visit the country I was researching - that
was something that always haunted me. At every conference, public talk or training course, I felt like someone was going to call me out. What right had I to talk about this place, when I’d never spent any time there?
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