By studying the genetic make-up of these creatures — which are often targeted as garden pests — scientists can trace their origins and find out how they colonised our islands. This in turn could shed light on where our ancestors originally came from, because snails may have arrived by hitching a ride with people.
By using a combination of genetic techniques and fossils, researchers at The University of Nottingham already know that snails arrived in the mainland of Britain around 10,000 years ago. Now they want the public to help in the collection of snails from specific locations which have a special human and archaeological interest.
Dr Angus Davison from The School of Biology says snails could be important in helping us trace our past. “Snails are normally considered a bit of a menace for bedding plants and shrubs, but we are hoping to turn people’s knowledge of them into a more useful purpose. Although people have moved around a lot, snails move so slowly that descendents of the original snails should still be the same place. We can use information from them to help understand where the people came from.”
A lot of questions remain unanswered about some of the plants and animals of Ireland and the Scottish Islands. Many are clearly distinct from the equivalent organisms in England and Wales and it is not clear how they got there. Using genetics to trace the origins of snails suggests that one species of snail in Ireland came from the North of Spain, meaning that the very first settlers of Ireland were “Spanish”. In Scotland a Viking link could be strengthened.
Scientists want snails from many areas, but would particularly like them from some specific sites: In Ireland: Co. Mayo (Swinford, near Knock) and Dublin (Newlands Cross). In Scotland: Skye, the Hebrides, Shetland, Orkney.
Dr Davison is asking anyone prepared to help collect snails to contact him for an information pack.
Emma Thorne | alfa
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
25.04.2017 | Life Sciences