Research News

Study confirms truth behind ‘Darwin’s moth’

Scientists have revisited – and confirmed – one of the most famous textbook examples of evolution in action.

Discovering why basking sharks go to Scotland

Scientists seeking to discover whether Scotland’s seas are a mating ground for basking sharks have filmed new footage showing the sharks being sociable.

Women in Fisheries website launched

New research exploring women’s roles in fishing families officially gets going this week, as the Women in Fisheries project launches its new website.

Forgotten Lancashire poems written during misery of cotton famine found

Hundreds of moving poems written by desperate Lancashire cotton workers facing hunger and homelessness because of the American Civil War have been uncovered by experts.

Key aspects of human cell ageing reversed by new compounds

The breakthrough could be “basis for a new generation of anti-degeneration drugs.”

Forests crucial for limiting climate change to 1.5 degrees

Trying to tackle climate change by replacing forests with crops for bioenergy power stations could increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Fall armyworm will continue to spread

A devastating crop pest called the fall armyworm – discovered this week in India – will continue to spread, a researcher says.

Twin study highlights importance of both genetics and environment on gene activity

New research highlights the extent to which epigenetic variation is influenced by both inherited and environmental factors.

Simple factors that can avoid harmful side effects in type 2 diabetes

Clinicians can match people with type 2 diabetes to the right drug for them to improve control of blood sugar and help avoid damaging side-effects, simply by factoring in simple characteristics such as sex and BMI into prescribing decisions, new research has shown.

Mindfulness training for prisoners set to transform Kenyan jails

A project which has transformed the lives of hundreds of Kenyan prisoners through teaching them mindfulness is set to expand, potentially leading to fundamental changes to the country’s jail system.

Nature holds key to nurturing green water treatment facilities

The quest to develop greener and more affordable methods to treat wastewater has taken a new, innovative twist.

World experts target guidance on managing dementia symptoms

New research which brings together the views of the world’s leading experts has concluded that non-drug approaches should be prioritised in treating agitation in people with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Research into cell-to-cell signalling mechanism may lead to new cancer treatments

Pioneering new research into the way in which cells communicate with each other could hold the key

Rising stars of research at Exeter receive prestigious European Research Council funding

Three rising research stars at the University of Exeter have received a significant funding boost from the European Research Council (ERC), it has been announced.

Asking ten “critical” questions before embarking on a serious relationship can help couples thrive

Asking ten “critical” questions before embarking on a serious relationship can help couples thrive, according to a new study backed by the prominent divorce lawyer Baroness Fiona Shackleton.

New research show blueprint for El Niño diversity

A pivotal new research study has isolated the key mechanisms that cause El Niño events to differ amongst each other.

Exeter part of £5million programme to maintain UK’s status as global leader in offshore renewables

The University of Exeter is part of national consortium awarded £5million to bring together a network of academic,

Just ten minutes of social interaction a day improves wellbeing in dementia care

An e-learning programme that trains care home staff to engage in meaningful social interaction with people who have dementia improves wellbeing and has sustained benefits.

Scientists use ‘funnel-vision’ to pioneer cheap and efficient solar energy

Scientists have developed a pioneering new technique that could unlock new methods of making solar energy more efficient.

Improving the Prescribing Practice of Newly-qualified Doctors

It is known that prescribing errors in hospitals are common and that junior doctors may make more mistakes than senior doctors as they write the most prescriptions in hospital settings.

Environment key battle ground in fight to tackle antibiotic resistance

The environment could be as important a battle ground as the clinic in the global fight against the spread of antibiotic resistance, new research has shown.

Beavers arrive in the Forest of Dean

A pair of Eurasian Beavers will return to the Forest of Dean today (24 July) for the first time for about 400 years.

Acidic oceans cause fish to lose their sense of smell

Fish are losing their sense of smell because of increasingly acidic oceans caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, new research shows.

Better clinical trials must address “critically low” dementia research shortfall

New research gives insights into how the design of clinical trials can improve, with new insights into the “critically low” research pipeline and improve the chances of finding effective dementia therapies.

Exeter subjects ranked in the world top 100

A wide range of subjects at the University of Exeter have been ranked amongst the world’s best, according to an influential international league table.

Ancient farmers transformed Amazon and left an enduring legacy on the rainforest

Ancient communities transformed the Amazon thousands of years ago

Commonly prescribed medications linked to rise in harmful side effects in dementia

 Medications which are commonly prescribed to people with dementia have been linked to an increase in harmful side-effects, research involving the University of Exeter has concluded.

Microclimates may provide wildlife with respite from climate change

Sheltered pockets of cooler and more variable conditions in the British countryside may help native species

National Lottery players help people become archaeologists and explore the history of the South West

People in Devon and Cornwall will work with archaeologists to explore the incredible ancient history

New law designed to encourage first major reforms to divorce in 50 years published

Draft legislation designed to encourage the Government to make the first major changes to divorce legislation

Viruses cooperate to overcome immune defences of bacteria

Virus particles that infect bacteria can work together to overcome antiviral defences, new research shows.

Cranes here to stay, new model predicts

The UK’s tallest bird – the common crane – is here to stay and the UK could have as many as 275 breeding pairs within 50 years, a new study says.

Charitable organisation funds vital global testing for babies with rare disease

A charitable organisation is providing vital funding for people with a rare condition across the world to have genetic screening at the University of Exeter.

High-intensity exercise in teenagers could ward off heart disease

New research published in Experimental Physiology has indicated potential differences in heart health

Celebrating positives improves classroom behaviour and mental health

Training teachers to focus their attention on positive conduct and to avoid jumping to correct minor disruption improves child behaviour, concentration and mental health.

Discovery of ancient tools in China suggests humans left Africa earlier than previously thought

Ancient tools and bones discovered in China by archaeologists suggest early humans left Africa and arrived in Asia earlier than previously thought.

LED lights reduce seabird death toll from fishing by 85 per cent, research shows

Illuminating fishing nets with low-cost lights could reduce the terrible impact they have on seabirds and marine-dwellers by more than 85 per cent, new research has shown.

Stop antibiotics before resistance ‘tipping point’

Treatments using antibiotics should stop as soon as possible to prevent patients becoming resistant, new research shows.

Exeter diabetes experts to help diagnose and treat diabetes in Africa

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has awarded Exeter experts £2 million to answer important questions on diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa.

Leading climate scientist wins prestigious award

A leading climate scientist has received a prestigious international award

Take part in virtual reality nature study

A new research project in Truro is calling for members of the public to help study the effects of virtual reality on health.

Exeter leads early cancer diagnosis in major policy centre

A national expert on cancer diagnosis will take a lead role in a new £4.75 million centre to create research that guides policy.

Testicular cancer study reveals highest risk symptoms to aid diagnosis

A new study has identified the highest risk symptoms that can indicate testicular cancer, in research that aims to improve diagnosis.

British farmers could play a key role in helping to promote better public health

British farmers could find business opportunities and help promote better public health

Asian hornet nests found by radio-tracking

Electronic radio tags could be used to track invasive Asian hornets and stop them colonising the UK

New Exeter institute to tackle ‘global challenges’

How can our planet and its people flourish as the human population reaches an estimated 9-11 billion?

World’s first animals caused global warming

The evolution of Earth’s first animals more than 500 million years ago caused global warming, new research shows.

Scientists propose solution to ‘Gaia puzzle’

Scientists may have solved a puzzle over why conditions on Earth have remained stable enough for life to evolve.

Water security crisis requires ‘urgent action’

Major forum to address ‘biggest danger facing the world over next decade’ 

Testicular cancer study reveals highest risk symptoms to aid diagnosis

A new study has identified the highest risk symptoms that can indicate testicular cancer, in research that aims to improve diagnosis.

Seeing the same doctor is a matter of life and death

A ground-breaking study has concluded that patients who see the same doctor over time have lower death rates.

Climate predictions should include impacts of CO2 on life

Climate change predictions are not taking account of the full range of possible effects of rising carbon dioxide

Professor boosts dementia expertise at Exeter

A professor who is an expert in older people's medicine has further bolstered Exeter's research expertise in dementia

‘The eyes have it’- photoreceptors in marine plankton form a depth gauge to aid survival

The eyes of some marine-dwelling creatures have evolved to act like a “depth gauge”, allowing these creatures to swim in the open ocean at a certain depth .

More woodland management needed to help save dormice

Managing woodlands to a greater extent could help stop the decline of Britain’s dormice, new research suggests.

Increase in storms could have ‘catastrophic impact’ on fishing industry

Potential changes in the frequency and intensity of storms off the coast of the UK and around the world could have a “catastrophic impact” on the livelihood of fishermen and sustainability of fishing industries, research led by the University of Exeter has shown.

Major new project to understand public attitudes and community responses to shale gas in the UK

A new research project led by academics at Exeter, Stirling and Cardiff universities will shed light on how public responses to shale gas unfold over time at national, regional and local levels.

All-female crew set for Pacific plastic pollution voyage

An all-female crew is set to embark on a mission across the Pacific to learn more about plastic pollution.

The key to good cancer care? Better admin

One of the most important factors in people’s overall experience of cancer care is good administration, according to results from a major new study funded by Macmillan Cancer Support and led by the University of Exeter Medical School in collaboration with University College London.

University of Exeter academic honoured for research shaping new national data on police use of force

A University of Exeter expert’s work on a new national reporting system on the use of force for all 43 police forces in England and Wales has earned her a major award.

Exeter professor inputs into new NICE guideline

NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) has published a new guideline on assessment, management and support for people living with dementia and their carers.

Hypnosis may help reduce distress of cancer treatment in children

Hypnosis could help to reduce the fear of medical procedures in children and young people with cancer.

Coral reefs losing ability to keep pace with sea-level rise

Many coral reefs will be unable to keep growing fast enough to keep up with rising sea levels, new research suggests.

Micro-plastics in the Antarctic

Antarctica’s most remote and pristine habitats are contaminated with micro-plastic waste

Turtle tagged in Brazil reaches UK territory

A turtle tagged by University of Exeter scientists in Brazil has swum thousands of miles.

Cystic fibrosis event at University of Exeter

People interested in cystic fibrosis and physical activity are invited to a free workshop at the University of Exeter.

Ukrainian villages still suffering legacy of Chernobyl more than 30 years on

Milk in parts of Ukraine has radioactivity levels up to five times over the country’s official safe limit

New hope from the “seven year switch” in Type 1 diabetes

New research has shown that the rapid decline in insulin production that causes Type 1 diabetes continues to fall over seven years and then stabilises.

Camouflaged plants use the same tricks as animals

Plants use many of the same methods as animals to camouflage themselves, a new study shows.

Exeter announces new Mireille Gillings Fellowships in Health Innovation to develop future women leaders

The University of Exeter Medical School is creating two new Mireille Gillings Professorial Fellowships, to help develop the next generation of leaders that excel in medicine, science, leadership and business. They have been funded from a £10 million donation from the Dennis and Mireille Gillings Foundation – the largest single gift ever made to the University.

Exeter-Hong Kong centre to promote environmental sustainability and resilience

First of its kind Joint Centre in Hong Kong

Thousands of turtles netted off South America

Tens of thousands of sea turtles are caught each year by small-scale fishers off South America’s Pacific coast, new research shows.

“Miracle treatment” long-term success for babies with diabetes

Over a decade, Emma Matthews has progressed from fearing for her son’s life every night to being safe in the knowledge that his diabetes is well managed thanks to the long-term success of “miracle treatment” tablets.

Mixed signals from poisonous moths

Poisonous moths use bright red spots to warn predators to avoid them

Guppies change their eye colour to deter rivals

Tiny fish called Trinidadian guppies turn their eyes black to warn other fish when they are feeling aggressive, new research shows.

Cautious prawns win battle for food

Prawns have personalities – and cautious crustaceans do better in the battle for food, new research shows.

Could Galapagos become plastic pollution free?

There is a growing movement in Galapagos to drastically reduce marine plastic pollution with the aim, one day, of having a plastic-free Galapagos Marine Reserve.

Researchers launch dementia project to combat ‘frightening' hospital experience

A group of researchers from the University of Exeter Medical School has launched a project to improve our understanding of how best to help people with dementia and their loved ones in hospital.

New guidance on treating diabetes in elderly and frail adults

New guidance has been published on managing diabetes in the elderly, including for the first time how to manage treatment for the particularly frail.

Invisible barrier on ocean surface can reduce carbon uptake

An invisible layer of biological compounds on the sea surface reduces the rate at which carbon dioxide gas moves between the atmosphere and the oceans, scientists have reported. 

Goal conflict linked to psychological distress

Being torn about which personal goals to pursue is associated with symptoms of psychological distress, new research shows.

Pioneering studies in Exeter funded by leading dementia research charity

Researchers in Exeter have received a £50,000 funding boost for pioneering dementia research in the city. The announcement of this new funding comes during Dementia Action Week, a national campaign aimed at raising awareness of dementia and encouraging people to get involved with efforts to help people living with the disease.

Research sheds new light on understanding Pacific Trade Winds

Pioneering research has given a fascinating new insight into why the Pacific Trade Winds have seen “unprecedented strengthening” over recent decades.

Mongooses inherit behaviour from role models rather than parents

Young mongooses learn lifelong habits from role models rather than inheriting them from genetic parents, new research shows.

Public can help create night map of Earth

Researchers are asking the public to help them create the first high-resolution photographic map of Earth at night.

‘Virtual safe space’ to help bumblebees

The many threats facing bumblebees can be tested using a “virtual safe space” created by scientists at the University of Exeter.

University and NHS team up to launch pioneering Academy of Nursing

A new Academy of Nursing will combine academic rigour with NHS expertise to raise standards of care.

Resistance to antifungal drugs could lead to disease and global food shortages

Growing levels of resistance to antifungal treatments could lead to increased disease outbreaks and affect food security around the world.

Critically-endangered South American forests were man-made

Critically endangered South American forests thought to be the result of climate change were actually spread by ancient communities

Most deprived far more likely to develop dementia

Older adults in England with fewer financial resources are more likely to develop dementia, according to new UCL and University of Exeter research.

Improving heart health could prevent frailty in old age

New research has shown that older people with very low heart disease risks also have very little frailty, raising the possibility that frailty could be prevented.

Medical research at Exeter hits world top 30

The University of Exeter has entered the world top 30 for Biomedical and Health Sciences, according to an influential international ranking of the research quality of thousands of universities worldwide.

Exeter subjects rise in influential global rankings

The University of Exeter has strengthened its position amongst the leading universities both nationally and internationally

Climate-threatened animals unable to relocate

Many of the European mammals whose habitat is being destroyed by climate change are not able to find new places to live elsewhere.

Wildfires may cause long-term health problems for endangered orangutans

Orangutans, already critically endangered due to habitat loss from logging and large-scale farming, may face another threat 

British film industry no better at including women in key roles than Hollywood, research launched at Cannes shows

More than half of British films had no or just one woman in key production roles, new research shows.

Evidence shows ocean sound may help reduce stress and create a sense of calm

The power of the ocean to bring mental health benefits to humans is a growing field of research as scientists increasingly understand the value of the marine realm in human health and wellbeing.

Volunteers needed for caffeine and mood study

The links between caffeine, physical activity and mood will be examined by a new University of Exeter study.

Exeter academic to lead new journal

A University of Exeter academic will lead a new international journal published by the British Ecological Society.

New research shows prehistoric hunter-gatherers were the first people to ride horses and explores its impact on migration and languages

A new study has  discovered that horses were first domesticated by hunter-gatherer descendants in Kazakhstan

Angry birds: Size of jackdaw mobs depends on who calls warning

Jackdaws recognise each other’s voices and respond in greater numbers to warnings from familiar birds than strangers, new research shows.

Beavers do dam good work cleaning water, research reveals

Beavers could help clean up polluted rivers and stem the loss of valuable soils from farms, new research shows.

Research reveals key factors to support quality of life in dementia

A robust research analysis has identified what factors can be targeted to support people to live as well as possible with dementia.

Shadow of a clear sky - astronomers find an exoplanet atmosphere free of clouds

Scientists have detected an exoplanet atmosphere that is free of clouds, marking a pivotal breakthrough in the quest for greater understanding

World-class professor takes lead role at Medical School

A world-leading expert in the economics of health is joining the University of Exeter Medical School’s senior team.

Significant grant will support sustainable fisheries

An important project to protect fish stocks in the Republic of Congo will be able to extend its work thanks to a grant from the Waterloo Foundation.

Temperature swings to hit poor countries hardest

Temperature fluctuations that are amplified by climate change will hit the world’s poorest countries hardest, new research suggests.

Helium detected in Exoplanet atmosphere for the first time

Astronomers have detected helium in the atmosphere of a planet that orbits a star far beyond our solar system for the very first time.

Voters make choices based on looks – but this doesn’t help them pick the best politicians

Voters are wrong to think they can pick the best politician based on their looks, according to new research

Exeter expert part of international team investigating massive Antarctic glacier collapse

A University of Exeter academic is part of an international team of experts working to discover how quickly a massive Antarctic glacier could collapse.

Nine out of 10 people worldwide breathe polluted air, new data shows

International team, led by Professor Gavin Shaddick of the University of Exeter produce new estimates of global air quality.

 

Pioneering new Renewable Energy facility opens on Penryn Campus

A pioneering new renewable energy teaching and research centre has officially opened on the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

Discovery of immune cells able to defend against mutating viruses could transform vaccine development

Scientists have found immune cells can fight different strains of the same virus – a discovery which could help transform vaccine development.

Deteriorating Great Barrier Reef hushed: young fish no longer hear their way home

Degraded coral reefs are far quieter than five years ago, and no longer sound like a suitable habitat to young fish searching for a place to live and breed, according to research published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.

£250,000 funding boost to investigate whether vitamin D promotes brain health

A robust clinical trial to investigate whether taking vitamin D can help keep our brains sharp in older age has been supported by a donation of nearly £250,000 from the J P Moulton Charitable Foundation. 

“Blue light” of LED streetlights linked to breast and prostate cancer

The “blue light” emitted by street lights including LEDs, and commercial outdoor lighting such as advertising, is linked to a significant increase in the risk of breast and prostate cancer, innovative new research has concluded.

Guardian award for policy-changing research on microplastic pollution

Research that revealed the devastating impact that microplastic pollution could have on the health of humans and wildlife has won a Guardian University Award.

Research gives new ray of hope for solar fuel

The quest to develop the ‘Holy Grail’ of affordable, viable and environmentally-friendly fuels using sunlight has taken an exciting new twist.

Commonly prescribed heartburn drug linked to Pneumonia in Older Adults

Researchers at the University of Exeter have found a statistical link between pneumonia in older people and a group of medicines commonly used to neutralise stomach acid in people with heartburn or stomach ulcers.

Exeter social scientists honoured by Academy

Three leading social scientists from the University of Exeter have been bestowed with a prestigious Fellowship from the Academy of Social Sciences.

Scientists create innovative new ‘green’ concrete using graphene

A new greener, stronger and more durable concrete that is made using the wonder-material graphene could revolutionise the construction industry.

Multiple sclerosis may be linked to sheep disease toxin

Exposure to a toxin primarily found in sheep could be linked to the development of multiple sclerosis (MS) in humans, new research suggests.

Hungry birds as climate change drives food ‘mismatch’

Warmer springs create a “mismatch” where hungry chicks hatch too late to feast on abundant caterpillars, new research shows.

£1m toolkit to calculate economic value of urban greenspace

£1m is being invested in an online toolkit designed to empower cities and developers to accurately assess the multiple benefits of green infrastructure, so as to make informed policy and business decisions. 

Wartime hospital past of Exeter landmark building commemorated

The First World War hospital past of one of Exeter’s landmark buildings and the contribution of doctors and nurses who worked there will be commemorated.

Job hunters drop ties with supportive colleagues

People considering quitting their jobs stop supporting current colleagues because they no longer feel they need to do favours for them, research shows.

Crowded urban areas have fewer songbirds per person

People in crowded urban areas – especially poor areas – see fewer songbirds such as tits and finches, and more potential “nuisance” birds, such as pigeons, magpies and gulls, new research shows.

Viruses can evolve in parallel in related species

Viruses are more likely to evolve in similar ways in related species – raising the risk that they will “jump” from one species to another, new research shows.

Britain’s security experts want increased defence spending, new survey shows

Britain’s future military commanders and staff officers want the Government to increase defence spending, new research shows.

Fossil study sheds light on ancient butterfly wing colours

Pioneering new research has given an illuminating new insight into the metallic, iridescent colours found on the earliest known ancestors of moths and butterflies, which habited the earth almost 200 million years ago.

Night-time lighting changes how species interact

Night-time lighting from streetlights and other sources has complex and unexpected effects on communities of plants and animals, new research shows.