Marinelife, has been monitoring whales and dolphins in the English Channel continuously for the last 12 years. The surveys, which have chiefly been conducted from Portsmouth, have confirmed that the Western English Channel, although an incredibly busy area for shipping and fishing remains an important area for whales and dolphins. Minke Whales have returned to the waters in recent years, and other species present include the endangered Bottlenose Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise, both protected under the EU Habitats Directive.
Other species have also been seen in these waters, but little is known about whether these sightings are unusual or within their natural range. Sightings include Common Dolphin, Pilot Whale and Risso’s Dolphin, together with Basking Sharks which are often seen off Plymouth during the spring and summer months.
Dr Tom Brereton, Marinelife Research Director commented “We are excited about the new survey, as it will enable us to better monitor the changing status of whales and dolphins in the region. We hope that the new data will play an increasingly important role in helping to conserve these beautiful and charismatic animals, so beloved by the general public. We are a small charity, and the research would not be possible without the generous support of Brittany Ferries, for which we are extremely grateful”
Marinelife plans to run its whale and dolphin research trips from Brittany Ferries on a monthly basis and record the distribution, abundance and types of whales, dolphins, other marine life and birds present in these UK waters. This data can then be used to identify whale and dolphin hotspots, seasonal and annual movements and threats to the marine life including fishing by-catch, which accounts for a large proportion of the dead Common Dolphin washed up annually on the West Country coast, especially during the winter months.
Research on the Plymouth to Roscoff route commenced on Tuesday 13th June 2006, with sightings of endangered and protected Bottlenose Dolphin on the maiden research crossing. This helps to confirm the vital nature of further research in this busy area of ocean to aid in the conservation of marine mammals around the British Isles.
Adrian Shephard | alfa
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Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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