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Ice sheet research: 'bigger tides in North Wales'

Credit: NASA/UPI/PA Images

Joint research by scientists at Bangor University claims the effects of melting ice sheets will go far beyond just changing water levels. It could have further reaching impacts on global climate.

They say along some coastlines the tidal range will be greatly increased, for example the North Wales coastline, whilst along others, like South Wales, the tidal range will be reduced. Moreover many functions of the ocean will be altered by the changes in the tides.

Tides currently play a key role in sustaining the large-scale ocean currents which redistribute heat from the tropics to higher latitudes and are responsible for the mild climate in the UK. Predictions provided by the new model show that the collapse of the ice sheets will significantly impact the global tides which could in turn impact ocean current systems which are important for our climate.

The global changes in the tides will also have profound impacts on a wide range of other ocean functions, such as changes to the regions of the ocean which absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and on the ecosystems of the temperate (shallow) shelf seas surrounding the continents.

– Dr Sophie-Berenice Wilmes, Bangor University

'Backpacks' for bees being developed at Bangor

Credit: Frank Rumpenhorst/DPA/PA Images

Lightweight bee “backpacks,” powered by the insects’ own electrical energy, are being developed at Bangor university so scientists can track and study them.

An ecologist and a microsystems engineer are working together to develop micro-backpacks for bees that will enable the bees to be followed by small drones as they fly from plant to plant.

It is hoped scientists will learn more about where the bees collect nectar and what might be affecting their numbers.

Existing bee monitoring devices face limits due to their weight, range, and how long their power source lasts- and these are the problems that we’ve set out to resolve using cutting-edge micro-technology.

We have proven our ability to harvest the bee’s electrical energy to enable us to do away with the need for a battery and our end product will weigh only a third of the bee’s body weight, or less than a raindrop. This solves the weight and battery longevity problems.

Our next step is to develop a mobile receiver to track and follow the bee’s transmitted signal as it forages.

– Dr Cristiano Palego, Bangor University

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Study could mean scallop fishing resumes in Cardigan Bay

Credit: ITV Wales

Scientists at Bangor University, working with the Welsh Fishermen's Association Natural Resources Wales and the Welsh Government, have published their findings from what they say is the world's biggest ever fishing impact study.

They chose twelve sites in Cardigan Bay where scallop fishing was halted in 2009.

The sites were fished at different intensities and compared to four areas which were left unfished. The results suggest the area can sustain a certain level of fishing.

The study could open the door for fishing to resume once a sustainable level is decided.

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Bangor scientists predict sea states

A computer simulation predicting tides around Anglesey. Credit: Bangor University

Scientists at Bangor University are working to maximise the efficiency of tidal and wave energy generating equipment.

They say computer modelling at the SEACAMS programme accurately predicts tidal currents, wave heights and other important measurements through the water column.

The UK's first tidal energy converter is planned for North Wales. Credit: Paul Faith/PA Wire

That helps identify the best sites for energy schemes.

They say one project is a 10MW tidal energy converter planned for The Skerries off the North West coast of Anglesey.

Welsh Universities struggling to attract students says Vice Chancellor

The Vice Chancellor of Bangor University has told Assembly Members that universities in Wales are struggling to attract students from the rest of the UK and overseas.

John Hughes told the Finance Committee that institutions here 'are not in a position to invest' in the sort of facilities students who are now paying their own fees expect.

He said that's 'limited' the ability of Welsh universities to recruit students, something which they're 'already seeing in the figures.' The Finance Committee is looking into the impact of the Welsh Government's decision to subsidise the bulk of students' tuition fees.