Bioluminescent Plankton

Bioluminescent Plankton

According to the Oxford dictionary bioluminescence is the ‘biochemical emission of light by living organisms’. It is a clever mechanism used by organisms to attract mates, find food and to respond to attacks.About 80% of bioluminescent species live in the deep sea and it is estimated that most species that live 700 meters below sea level can produce their own light.To produce their own glow-in-the-dark magic trick they use variations of a chemical reaction using three ingredients: an enzyme called luciferase, oxygen and luciferin.This enzyme allows the oxygen to bond to the organic molecule luciferin. The high-energy molecule that is created releases the energy in the form of light.These light producing molecules are interestingly good antioxidants and so it was believed that once they were used as such until they were eventually adapted for signalling. This is because as the oxygen content of the sea increased organisms were forced to dive to deeper depths away from...
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Coronavirus: Calls to shut down ‘dirty fur trade’

Coronavirus: Calls to shut down ‘dirty fur trade’

Around two weeks ago in the Netherlands, two fur farms reported Mink (Neovison vison) infected with Covid-19. Farmers at the facility caught the virus but are now safe in quarantine.This is now adding to the ever-expanding list of animals known to be able to contract the virus which even includes lions and tigers.In a new case, lions and tigers from the New York Zoo caught the disease from their keepers.This evidence shows that this deadly virus can spread between humans and animals, threatening endangered animals even more.To keep the virus from spreading, we need to keep the interactions between wild animals and humans to a minimum. Some animals that can catch the virus include horseshoe bats, red foxes, wild boar and possibly even domestic cats and dogs.This means that there needs to be tougher regulations surrounding the wildlife trade as well as regulations to keep our ecosystems safe where human interaction is necessary.The potential of this virus spreading is another...
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Rewilding

Rewilding

Imagine. Imagine vast natural forests casting dappled lights across mossy nutrient rich ground, glades full to the brim with wild long-forgotten flowers filling the air with their rich aroma, and vast open spaces full of lush green grasses rippling in the wind like the sea on a stormy winter’s day.A natural mosaic of mottled purple and yellow stretches over wide-open spaces, all untouched by mankind. Animals once roamed that land and they may once again if time allows it.No matter how pleasant we may think Britain is today with its gently sloping hills and patched blanket work of farmers' fields it is merely a reminder of what is once was.Now that that first scene has all but disappeared, Britain is one of the few countries that doesn’t have top predators and as we all know, top predators help other species flourish.Some conservationists believe that some parts of the UK should be left to live in a totally wild...
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Myths About Climate Change

Myths About Climate Change

Firstly, what is climate change?Climate change is defined as 'the long-term shift in average weather patterns across the world'. It is a natural process and without it our planet would be 30°C cooler. Hostile to life.The release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere creates a thick blanket around our planet, insulating it. This is where the name 'greenhouse' comes from.When we burn fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil, we release gases that trap heat from the sun's incoming rays. Faster warming corresponds with the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and therefore carbon dioxide is labelled as a major offender contributing to this crisis. Our apparent need for burning hydrocarbon fuels such as wood and coal really doesn't help.As we cut down forests and burn fossil fuels, we are releasing carbon that combines with oxygen in the air which predominately forms CO2 and water vapour.It has been said that there is now...
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Jellyfish or Jellymonsters?

Jellyfish or Jellymonsters?

Imagine a creature older than dinosaurs themselves, with lips pulled back in an endless scream, trailed by a ghoulish bunch of tentacles laced with poison. You guessed it, cnidarians, more commonly known as jellyfish.Before I tell you more about these graceful aliens of the sea, I would like you to first know that there are approximately 50 million jellyfish stings each year, which equates to around 411,000 stings each day, 17,000 stings per hour or 4-5 stings every second.So, by the time you have read this sentence (depending on how quickly you read) 105 people across the world will have been stung by a jellyfish. I would like you to keep that in mind while you read this blog.Did you know that jellyfish are older than dinosaurs? This means that they have been pulsing through Earth's waters for at least 600 million years! So, by my calculations, if all of the time that jellyfish have lived on Earth was...
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Making the Coronavirus Wildlife Trade Ban Permanent

Making the Coronavirus Wildlife Trade Ban Permanent

The coronavirus. Where to start? Well, the coronavirus started in the city of Wuhan, China and has spread to several countries across the world within a matter of weeks. To date, 43,104 cases have been reported, of which 38,043 people are currently infected, 7,345 are in a serious or critical condition and 1,018 have died. The total number of people who have recovered from the virus currently stands at 4,043 people.The name ‘corona’ refers to the virus’s distinct wreath-like shape. It is common in mammals and birds and in rare cases can spread to humans like it has done. Researchers believe that SARS-CoV-2, newly named Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019), originated from an animal in a seafood and animal market in Wuhan. Identification of this animal is key to controlling the current outbreak and gauging its threat going forward.It is estimated that 70% of emerging infections have come from wild animals and strong evidence now indicates that Covid-19 originated from...
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