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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

Cardiff researchers find new species of Orangutan

A Sumatran Orangutan. Credit: Junaidi/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

An international team, including researchers from Cardiff University, has discovered a new orangutan species in Indonesia.

Pongo Tapanuliensis, otherwise known as the Tapanuli Orangutan, was found in the three Tapanuli districts of North Sumatra after analysis of the ape inhabitants of the Batang Toru Ecosystem.

The Batang Toru populations of orangutans in Sumatra were only rediscovered fairly recently in 1997. However, it wasn’t until 2013 that the researchers received the skeleton of an adult male orangutan that was killed during conflict, and we realised that there were significant physical and genetic differences in these apes.

By comparing the skull to other orangutans, it was clear that this skull showed dramatic differences. This suggested that the Batang Toru population was potentially unique, so our international team of researchers worked together to gather further evidence

– Dr Benoit Goossens, Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences

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'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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