Research News

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.

Droughts mean fewer flowers for bees

Bees could be at risk from climate change because more frequent droughts could cause plants to produce fewer flowers, new research shows.

Gene that Makes Humans Eat More Sugar Can Also Lower Body Fat

Scientists have known since 2013 that a version of the gene FGF21 makes us consume more carbohydrates.

Conflict in outer space will happen: legal experts

Space and military law experts from Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States have joined forces to take the lead on understanding how our Earth-bound laws will be applied in times of armed conflict in outer space.

Fish have ears, so man-made noise threatens their survival

An ‘acoustic fog’ from motorboat noise, underwater construction and other man-made marine sounds can threaten the survival of fish.

Weight loss is an important predictor of cancer

Unintended weight loss is the second highest risk factor for some forms of cancer, concludes the first robust research analysis to examine the association.

Geoengineering risks losers as well as winners for climate and wildfire risks

Artificially altering the climate system to limit global warming to 1.5C could increase the risks of wildfires in some areas, new research suggests.

Coral bleaching threatens the diversity of reef fish

New research shows that coral bleaching not only whitewashes corals, but can also reduce the variety of fish occupying these highly-valued ecosystems.

Experts team up to study bluefin tuna and confirm return to UK waters

Atlantic bluefin tuna are known for being amongst the biggest, fastest and most valuable fish in the sea.

270 million visits made to English coastlines each year

Research has revealed for the first time that around 271 million recreational visits are made to marine and coastal environments in England.

Climate change could raise food insecurity risk

Weather extremes caused by climate change could raise the risk of food shortages in many countries, new research suggests.

World Bipolar Day: University working on new treatments

Exeter experts are working on new treatments for Bipolar Disorders this World Bipolar Day (30 March).

Dolphins tear up nets as fish numbers fall

Fishing nets suffer six times more damage when dolphins are around – and overfishing is forcing dolphins and fishermen ever closer together, new research shows.

Public invited to play detective and join exciting new hunt for the Easter bunny

The public can play detective and help experts solve the mystery of the origins of the Easter bunny as part of a different kind of Easter hunt this year.

When sound waves do the twist – backwards!

Scientists have demonstrated for the first time how ‘twisted’ sound waves from a rotating source can produce negative frequencies - akin to turning back time.

Parts of the Amazon thought uninhabited were actually home to up to a million people

Parts of the Amazon previously thought to have been almost uninhabited were really home to thriving populations of up to a million people, new research shows.

Breakthrough in battle against rice blast

Scientists have found a way to stop the spread of rice blast, a fungus that destroys up to 30% of the world’s rice crop each year.

Professor Isabelle Baraffe appointed to Science and Technology Facilities Council

Professor Isabelle Baraffe has been appointed as a new member of the Science and Technology Facilities Council, it has been confirmed.

Forum to address future world water challenges

UK’s largest consortium of water researchers will welcome business, NGO and government leaders to discuss water security

Breakthrough could aid development of bee-friendly pesticides

Efforts to create pesticides that are not toxic to bees have been boosted by a scientific breakthrough.

Teenagers more likely to plead guilty to crimes they didn’t commit because they are less able to make mature decisions

Teenagers are more likely to plead guilty to crimes they did not commit because they are less able to make mature decisions, new research shows.

Local communities responsible for birth of farming in Central Turkey, archaeological excavations show

Local communities were responsible for the beginning of farming in Central Turkey 10,000 years ago and not migrants, archaeologists have discovered.

Extreme cold winter weather conditions, such as ‘Beast from the East’, can be linked to solar cycle

Periods of extreme cold winter weather and perilous snowfall could be linked to the solar cycle, pioneering new research has shown.

All-female crew to sail Pacific on plastics research mission

An all-female crew including sailors, scientists and film-makers will cross the north Pacific later this year to study plastic pollution.

Experience trumps youth among jumping fish

Tiny jumping fish can leap further as they get older, new research shows.

Self-employed happier at work – despite long hours and more uncertainty

New research has identified a key ingredient to securing a happy and fulfilling career - working for yourself.

Exeter ranked amongst top 50 most international universities

The University of Exeter has been recognised as one of the most international universities in the world.

Fussy eating prevents mongoose family feuds

Mongooses living in large groups develop “specialist” diets so they don’t have to fight over food, new research shows.

Exeter academics in star roles at Diabetes UK conference

World-renowned diabetes researchers from the University of Exeter Medical School will give prestigious talks at the Diabetes UK Professional Conference 2018 this week.

The Female Romantic poets who used opium for its “tranquilising power”

In the Romantic period, a generation of women writers were also habitual users of opium, and wrote extolling its “calming” properties in their writing, new research has found.

Exeter PhD student to attend prestigious Nobel meeting

A PhD student from the University of Exeter has been invited to attend a prestigious worldwide event.

Animals shield their families from a harsh world

Animals living in volatile habitats can gain major evolutionary benefits by shielding their families from the changing environment, new research suggests.

World-leading microbiologist appointed as Exeter’s new Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Impact)

One of the world’s foremost microbiologists has been appointed as Exeter's new Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Impact).

Oxygen loss could be a huge issue for oceans

A major study into an ancient climate change event that affected a significant percentage of Earth’s oceans has brought into sharp focus a lesser-known villain in global warming: oxygen depletion. 

Exoplanet atmosphere observed in more detail than ever before

An international team of scientists has used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to study the atmosphere of the hot exoplanet WASP-39b.

Payments to protect carbon stored in forests must increase to defend against rubber plantations

Efforts to protect tropical forests in Southeast Asia for the carbon they store may fail because protection payments are too low, according to new research.

Mums-to-be can exercise in warm weather and use saunas without getting too hot

Pregnant women can safely exercise in warm weather and take short hot baths or saunas without risking critical elevations in body temperature that could harm their unborn child, a review has found.

Winston Churchill’s affair revealed by forgotten testimony

Winston Churchill had a short affair with the dazzling socialite Lady Doris Castlerosse in the 1930s, according to his former private secretary, research has found.

Stunning footage shows how drones can boost turtle conservation

Drones are changing the face of turtle research and conservation, a new study shows.

Sea swimming increases ailments

People who spend time in the sea are more likely to experience stomach bugs, ear aches and other types of illness than those who do not.

SETsquared partnership ranked as world’s top business incubator

The SETsquared partnership has been ranked as the world’s leading business incubator for its outstanding contribution to developing the next generation of UK tech entrepreneurs.

Pioneering research into the family tree of today’s horses sheds new light on the origins of the species.

The earliest known domesticated horses are not at the root of today’s modern breed’s family tree, as had previously been thought, new research has shown.

First evidence that marine top predators are exposed to microplastics via their prey

Microplastics can transfer up the food chain from fish to top predators, such as seals, new research shows.

Lecturer from Camborne School of Mines secures prestigious award

Dr Hannah Hughes, a Lecturer in Exploration and Mining Geology, has been awarded the William Smith Fund for 2018 from the Geological Society of London.

Conflict between males and females could replace evolution of new species

New research shows that males and females of the same species can evolve to be so different that they prevent other species from evolving or colonising habitats.

Grey squirrels beat reds in ‘battle of wits’

Problem-solving powers may help to explain why grey squirrels have taken over from native red squirrels in the UK, new research says.

Research offers new insight into workings of building blocks of life

Pioneering new research could offer a fascinating new insight into how genomic information is read.

Innuendo and pointing suspicion in news coverage can fuel conspiracy theories, research shows

Innuendo and hinting at fake information in news coverage is enough to fuel belief in conspiracy theories, new research shows.

Biodiversity loss raises risk of ‘extinction cascades’

New research shows that the loss of biodiversity can increase the risk of “extinction cascades”, where an initial species loss leads to a domino effect of further extinctions. 

Forest fires increasingly dominate Amazonian carbon emissions during droughts

Carbon emissions from the Brazilian Amazon are increasingly dominated by forest fires during extreme droughts rather than by emissions from fires directly associated with the deforestation process, according to a study in Nature Communications.

Newspaper small ads used by Victorians for their equivalent of ‘texting’

150 years before the advent of ‘texting’, the small ads of the Evening Standard were used by Victorian lovers to send each other illicit messages, beg forgiveness and arrange trysts.

Bipolar mood swings trial recruiting participants

People who have bipolar or cyclothymic disorder and live in Devon are being recruited for a scientific study.

Sex tips for Victorians: Men with broad noses make passionate husbands

The Victorians may have a reputation for prudery, but new research shows that 19th Century manuals contained explicit sex and flirtation advice.

Dominant male pheasants learn faster

Dominant male pheasants learn faster than their downtrodden rivals, new research shows.

Pimavanserin: relief from psychosis in dementia, without devastating side-effects

A new kind of antipsychotic has been found to relieve terrifying and disturbing symptoms suffered by millions of people with Alzheimer’s disease worldwide.

Pretentious ‘executive’ job titles were a Victorian invention

Pompous job titles, such as hygiene technician and communications executive are not a 21st or even 20th century invention

New discovery could lead to prevention of organ damage in chronic disease

Researchers at the University of Exeter have worked with researchers from Cardiff University and the Wales Kidney Research Unit to find a potential new method for preventing the process that causes scar formation in organs.

Forgotten crop pathogen may be about to return

Scientists, breeders, farmers and conservation groups must continue to work in close collaboration to prepare for the potential re-emergence of a forgotten crop pathogen, a new study says.

Memory loss identified years before Alzheimer's symptoms appear

Experts have developed a cognitive test to detect subtle memory deficits years before Alzheimer's disease symptoms develop.

Large-group living boosts magpie intelligence

Growing up in a large social group makes Australian magpies more intelligent, new research shows.

Dementia care improved by just one hour of social interaction each week

Increasing the amount of social interaction for people with dementia living in care homes to just one hour a week improves quality of life when combined with personalised care.

Exeter academics co-author four of BJGP’s top ten most read articles

Four of the British Journal for General Practice (BJGP)’s top ten papers of 2017 were co-authored by University of Exeter Medical School academics.

Exposure to chemical found in plastics ‘hard to avoid’ in everyday life

86 per cent of teenagers have traces of Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical compound used to make plastics, in their body, an Engaged Research public engagement project in collaboration with the University of Exeter has found.

Hubble Probes Atmospheres of Exoplanets in TRAPPIST-1 Habitable Zone

Scientists have made the first steps towards understanding what makes up the atmospheres of several Earth-sized exoplanets orbiting the red dwarf star TRAPPIST-1.

Ex-forces personnel needed for study

The University of Exeter is inviting Armed Forces veterans who were deployed to a combat zone during their career to take part in a research study. 

New research on why GPs quit patient care

New research has shed light on the reasons driving doctors out of General Practice.

Pioneering new centre that tackles world’s most pressing health problems officially opens

A world-leading new research centre, designed to address some of the most challenging public health issues across the globe, has officially opened.

Exeter secures £2 million funding to train tomorrow’s scientists and engineers

The Government is investing more than £2 million in the University of Exeter to train the next generation of innovators in physical science subjects, it has been announced.

Global science to support coastal communities in SE Asia

During January 2018 world-class experts from the South West UK attended the Kick-Off meeting for the Grand Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Blue Communities Programme, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.