Jim Clapp (University of Ulster) will reveal how bird droppings can be used to measure radioactive fall-out in the environment. Solid urate spheres found in bird excretions can be screened for man-made pollutants such as radioactive caesium, providing a new non-invasive way to monitor the environment. Mr. Clapp will present his latest results today at the annual meeting of the Society for Experimental Biology at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh (29 March – 2 April 2004).
“This is a new method which does not interfere with the birds or with the environment” explains Mr. Clapp. “There is no need to sacrifice birds or disrupt them, which may cause them to leave their breeding site”. The technique involves collecting solid urate spheres found in bird droppings and testing the levels of contaminants against the amount of uric acid in the spheres. Solid urine is ideal since it remains in place for several days, can be collected year-round without disturbing the birds, and birds excrete toxins and their metabolites in their urine so it provides a direct measure of the toxicity of their environment.
Mr. Clapp expects that this new technique can easily be extended to test for other man-made pollutants such as heavy metals and toxins in the near future. “If there are any concerns about a particular site, we can identify a local bird population and use this new technique to test the level of pollutants.” says Mr. Clapp.
Yfke van Bergen | alfa
Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society
Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine