Fossil poop shows fishy lunches from 200 million years ago3 November 2020A new study of coprolites, fossil poop, shows the detail of food webs in the ancient shallow seas around Bristol in south-west England. One hungry fish ate part of the head of another fish before snipping off the tail of a passing reptile.
Patrick Kennedy awarded prestigious PhD thesis prizes30 October 2020Patrick Kennedy has won three awards for his PhD thesis. In addition to the University of Bristol prize for the best thesis in the Faculty of Life Sciences, he has won the John C. Marsden Medal from the Linnean Society and the Thomas Henry Huxley Award and Marsh Prize from the Zoological Society of London.
Deep sea coral time machines reveal ancient CO2 burps29 October 2020The fossilised remains of ancient deep-sea corals may act as time machines providing new insights into the effect the ocean has on rising CO2 levels, according to new research carried out by the Universities of Bristol, St Andrews and Nanjing and published in Science Advances.
Giant lizards learnt to fly over millions of years29 October 2020Pterodactyls and related winged reptiles that lived alongside the dinosaurs steadily improved their ability to fly, becoming the deadly masters of the sky, over the course of millions of years.
Battling with neighbours could make animals smarter
6 October 2020From ants to primates, ‘Napoleonic’ intelligence has evolved to help animals contend with the myriad cognitive challenges arising from interactions with rival outsiders, suggest researchers at the University of Bristol in a paper published in Nature Communications today [Tuesday 6 October].
Flexible genes establish widespread bacteriophage pan-genomes in cryoconite hole ecosystems29 September 2020Researchers from the University of Innsbruck, Austria, University of Bristol, Reading and Aberystwyth, UK, the University of Minnesota, USA and Aarhus University, Denmark, sequenced the genomes (their total DNA) of viruses which infect microbes found on the surface of glaciers from the Alps, Greenland and Svalbard, to show that they are remarkably stable in the environment.
Discovery of a druggable pocket in the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein could stop virus in its tracks24 September 2020A druggable pocket in the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein that could be used to stop the virus from infecting human cells has been discovered by an international team of scientists led by the University of Bristol. The researchers say their findings, published today [21 September] in the journal Science, are a potential 'game changer' in defeating the current pandemic and add that small molecule anti-viral drugs developed to target the pocket they discovered could help eliminate COVID-19.
True size of prehistoric mega-shark finally revealed3 September 2020To date only the length of the legendary giant shark Megalodon had been estimated but now, a new study led by the University of Bristol and Swansea University has revealed the size of the rest of its body, including fins that are as large as an adult human.
The genetic basis of bats’ superpowers revealed30 July 2020For the first time, the raw genetic material that codes for bats’ unique adaptations and superpowers such as the ability to fly, to use sound to move effortlessly in complete darkness, to survive and tolerate deadly diseases, to resist ageing and cancer - has been fully revealed by an international research team including scientists at Bristol. The findings are published in Nature.
Scientists outline potential of soil-free farming which could see crops grown in the desert23 July 2020A new study has outlined the potential of soil-free, computer-controlled farms as climate change and soil erosion limit our ability to grow crops. The research, published in New Phytologist and led by scientists at the University of Bristol, John Innes Centre and LettUs Grow, describe the growing environmental and economic case for vertical farming methods which could see crops grown in previously unfarmable environments such as the deserts of Dubai to countries with short daylight hours like Iceland.
Shelling out for dinner: dolphins learn foraging skills from peers26 June 2020A new study demonstrates for the first time that dolphins can learn foraging techniques outside the mother-calf bond – showing that they have a similar cultural nature to great apes. The findings, led by an international research team including academics at the University of Bristol, are published in Current Biology.
Insect crunching reptiles on ancient islands of the UK
18 June 2020By analysing the fossilised jaw mechanics of reptiles who lived in the Severn Channel region of the UK 200-million-years ago, researchers from the University of Bristol have shown that they weren’t picky about the types of insects they ate - enjoying both crunchy and less crunchy varieties.
What are the effects of climate change on pollinators and human health?12 June 2020Three quarters of crop species depend on pollinators, but the service they provide is under increasing threat from climate change. An international collaboration, led by the University of Bristol, will investigate the effects of climate change on pollinators and people’s diet thanks to funding of nearly €1 million from The Belmont Forum.
‘Matador’ guppies trick predators12 June 2020Trinidadian guppies behave like matadors, focusing a predator’s point of attack before dodging away at the last moment, new research shows.