Research News

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Longest-living animal gives climate change clues

A study of the longest-living animal on Earth, the quahog clam, has demonstrated the vital role oceans play in the planet’s changing climate.

Exeter statistician wins prestigious 2016 Lloyd’s Science of Risk award

A rising research star from the University of Exeter has secured a coveted national award, for his innovative work on more accurately simulating natural hazards, such as windstorms and flooding.

Yo-yo dieting might cause extra weight gain

Repeated dieting may lead to weight gain because the brain interprets the diets as short famines and urges the person to store more fat for future shortages, new research suggests.

New mothers preoccupied with their problems can find it more difficult to respond to their babies

Mothers who have repetitive and self-focused negative thoughts about their own problems can have poorer-quality relationships with their babies, new research from the University of Exeter shows.

Beach litter study finds rise in polystyrene foam, balloons and fishing nets

Researchers from the University of Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory have studied the findings from beach litter surveys carried out over a ten year period.

Laser technique boosts aerial imaging of woodlands

A ground-breaking technique which allows green spaces to be mapped in 3D from an aircraft could boost biodiversity, aid human wellbeing and even help protect rainforests.

Vital vaccine could “reduce burden” of dengue disease in hardest-hit regions

The first licensed vaccine for the potentially life-threatening dengue virus should only be used in moderate-to high impacted regions, new research has predicted.

Exeter’s New Living Systems Institute hosts ‘Global Conversation’

The pioneering and world-leading research conducted at the University of Exeter’s state-of-the-art Living Systems Institute (LSI) will form the basis of the latest high-profile Global Conversation event.

Thousands could benefit from greater use of revolutionary stroke treatment

Almost 10,000 UK stroke patients a year could benefit from a new procedure, according to research presented today at the UK Stroke Forum Conference in Liverpool.

World-leading Ocean Energy Professor receives prestigious international scholarship

One of the world’s leading Renewable Energy experts has received a prestigious international award, in recognition to his ground-breaking research into ocean energy and technology.

Electronic Tracking of Song Birds Shows Roads and Urban Features Influence Choice of Gardens

Bird feeders visited more often in suburban gardens than terraced streets.

New project aims to strengthen creative and cultural economy in South West England and South East Wales

A new project to broker partnerships between the arts and humanities sector and universities in South West England and South East Wales to generate economic growth has received funding.

‘Minimal’ shoes may reduce running injuries

Runners who wear trainers with no cushioning and land on the ball of their foot rather than the heel put significantly less demand on their bodies, new research suggests.

New research in Malawi will help to secure raw materials for green technologies.

Pioneering new insights into why high concentrations of some of the most rare and desirable natural elements - vital for the production of vital environmental, digital and security technologies – have been revealed.

Nearly £6 million for patient-centred research facility

An Exeter research facility which puts people at its heart has received nearly £6 million in funding over the next five years.

Victorian beard craze inspired false ‘mechanical’ whiskers

Today they are a male fashion accessory, adored by hipsters and spurned by clean-shaven creatives. But in the 19th century, men associated beards and whiskers with manliness, strength and even male beauty.

Universities unite with industry to foster next generation researchers

The University of Exeter is part of a newly awarded £19 million doctorial training partnership programme with industry leaders.

Treasures of the Royal Albert Memorial Museum on show at creative writing event

Clothing and objects from the Royal Albert Memorial Museum’s collections rarely seen by the public will be on show at an event to inspire creative writing in Exeter.

Exeter professor appointed to influential global research advisory group

A world-leading social scientist from the University of Exeter has been appointed to an influential global research group, designed to pioneer new ways to tackle some of today’s greatest challenges.

New report recommends measures to improve dementia care

Enabling people with dementia to maintain control of the decisions surrounding their care is key to avoiding isolation, according to a new report by the British Psychological Society (BPS).

Microplastics’ Impact on Human Health Needs “Urgent Research,” says leading expert

One of the world’s foremost marine pollution experts has welcomed today’s (Monday) announcement that there will be a Government review into the impact of microplastics on human health.

Exeter experts join global response to climate change health crisis

Experts at the University of Exeter will join forces with 15 other organisations worldwide to drive action on climate change given potential “catastrophic risk to human health”.

Even physicists are "afraid" of mathematics

Physicists avoid highly mathematical work despite being trained in advanced mathematics, new research suggests.

Production of seedless fruits an under-estimated tool for improving food security, research shows

The opportunity to produce bountiful levels of vital food crops such as apples, tomatoes and watermelons could be boosted by reducing a crop’s demand for pollinators, new research has shown.

The Prince of Wales praises work of University of Exeter farming experts

The Prince of Wales has praised the work of University of Exeter experts to help support small family farms.

First UK assessment of underwater noise published

The first assessment of underwater noise in the UK marine environment has been carried out by a research partnership including the University of Exeter.

New partnership between Exeter and the Center for Whale Research

The Vice Chancellor met with Professor Darren Croft and Dr Deborah Giles at the Center for Whale Research on San Juan Islands USA to talk about the work they have been doing.

Award-winning cartoonist joins experts to discuss dementia care and support

Experts in dementia and those affected by the emotional experience of having a loved one with the condition will join an award-winning cartoonist to discuss the care and support available for those with memory loss at an event today.

Wave energy device successfully deployed at BiMEP site

The final section of a sophisticated wave energy device has been successfully installed by a collaborative research team in the Bay of Biscay, on the northern coast of Spain.

Hundreds of bat deaths at wind farms could be prevented, finds new research

Hundreds of bat deaths at on-shore windfarms in the UK could be prevented by better risk assessments and simple changes to the operation of turbines.

Bees use multiple cues in hunt for pollen

Bees use a variety of senses and memory of previous experiences when deciding where to forage for pollen, research by the University of Exeter suggests.

New Medical School Pro-Vice Chancellor now in post

Globally-renowned dementia and ageing expert Professor Clive Ballard is now in post as the new Dean and Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Exeter Medical School.

Large-scale study reveals new insights into coral and symbiotic algae partnership

A large-scale study of Caribbean coral has yielded discoveries on the pairing process between an endangered coral and the microscopic symbiotic algae they rely on for survival.

Soil could become a significant source of carbon dioxide, experts warn

If people continue using and changing land over the next century in the same way they currently do, soils will have limited potential to counter the effect of climate change. 

Exhibition: Life at Exeter City FC captured by top photographer

Many aspects of match day life at Exeter City Football Club are brought to life in a new exhibition at St James Park.

Call for government investment to strengthen advanced engineering and digital innovation industries

South West England and South East Wales can lead the UK and compete with the world in the areas of advanced engineering and digital innovation, and has called for targeted government investment in these areas.

Forgotten language found in poems uncovered by a University of Exeter expert

Moving poetry in now forgotten Lancashire regional dialects written generations ago is being uncovered by a University of Exeter academic.

Research reveals that ‘Singapore’ approach to teaching maths can work in UK classrooms

Mastery – an approach to teaching maths commonly used in East Asian countries – can significantly benefit children in UK schools, a University of Exeter academic has found.

Food supply – not ‘live fast, die young’ mentality – makes male crickets chirpy

Shedding a few pounds might be a good strategy in the human dating game, but for crickets the opposite is true.

Dracula was based on medical reports of ‘real’ vampires

Vampires, immortalised in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, were born out of real-life accounts of vampires gathered by doctors and surgeons, academic research has revealed.

Iceland's crowd sourced constitution, the anarchist take

The disconnect between voters and politicians has been cited as the cause of many current challenges in modern politics, from Brexit to the growth in support for extremist views around Europe.

New warning over spread of ash dieback

The ash dieback fungus could spread more quickly and affect more trees than previously expected, according to research at the University of Exeter.

Take advantage of evolution in malaria fight, scientists say

Scientists could harness the power of evolution to stop mosquitoes spreading malaria, according to new research by the University of Exeter and the University of California, Berkeley.

New Exeter Clinical Trials Unit boost to health research

The University of Exeter’s new dedicated unit to facilitate and conduct clinical trials in health research will officially launch next month.

No evidence climate change boosts coffee plant disease

Fears that climate change is promoting a fungal disease which can devastate coffee crops may be unfounded, research by the University of Exeter suggests.

Prestigious prize enables scholar to tell the story of English Romanticism

A University of Exeter academic has won a prestigious prize which will allow her to write a major cultural history of the emergence of English Romanticism.

Wanted: Hedgehogs, Dead or Alive

The public have been urged to help solve the mystery of why one of Britain’s best-loved animals, the hedgehog, is in decline.

Climate Change Impairs the Survival Instincts of Fish and Can Make Them Swim Towards Predators

Fish farms may hold key to studying the impact of rising CO2 on marine life, and if fish could adapt to climate change.

Exeter wins £1.5m funding for world-leading initiative to advance health research

The University of Exeter has been awarded £1.5 million by Wellcome to enable translation of findings from its world-leading research programmes into improvements in human health on a global scale.

Scientists find link between tropical storms and decline of river deltas

A change in the patterns of tropical storms is threatening the future of the Mekong River delta in Vietnam, indicating a similar risk to other deltas around the world, new research shows.

Violent wind collision zone between two stars seen for the first time

The tumultuous region between two stars has been revealed for the first time, thanks to state of the art infrared imaging techniques.

Exeter expert starts a “mindfulness revolution” in Kenyan prison

A University of Exeter academic is helping to rehabilitate prisoners in high security Kenyan jails by teaching them to practice mindfulness.

Generosity increases dramatically if people are asked to donate tomorrow’s bonus or inheritance cheque

People will donate between a half and a third more to charity if they are expecting a bonus or windfall but don’t yet have the cash in their hand, according to research by the University of Exeter’s Business school.

Genetic discovery helps explain Irish giant folklore

Scientists at the University of Exeter Medical School were part of genetics research which could help explain the legend of giants in Irish folklore.

University sees huge rise in research funding

The University of Exeter has more than doubled the amount of research funding it receives from Research Councils UK (RCUK), bucking the trend for falling government investment in research in the university sector.

Non-smoking planet: clues for tipping from vicious to virtuous behaviour identified

A new analysis shows that social norms can cross tipping points faster if new behaviour is difficult for others to ignore. 

Libraries Unlimited and University of Exeter secure £200,000 Arts Council England research grant

A two-year research project to understand the impact of libraries on local communities in Devon has been awarded a £200,000 grant from Arts Council England (ACE).

Scientists search for regional accents in cod

Fish may have regional accents and use slightly different “chatter” in different parts of the world.

The Age of the Beard: magnificent examples of 19th-century facial hair on display

A photographic display of magnificent examples of 19th-century facial hair and a special version of the pantomime Bluebeard are part of a new exhibition.

Experts embark on project to save the world from “bananageddon”

Experts are hoping to stop the UK’s favourite fruit, the banana, from disappearing from our shops.

Large animals, such as the imperious African elephant, most vulnerable to impact of human expansion

Some of the most iconic giants of the animal kingdom, such as the imperious African elephant and the majestic lion, are most vulnerable to the detrimental impact of human expansion.

Prestigious Space Weather symposium announced at University of Exeter

Some of the world’s leading experts will gather at the University of Exeter to take part in a prestigious event, designed to examine the future of pioneering space weather research.

Future increase in plant photosynthesis revealed by seasonal carbon dioxide cycle

Doubling of the carbon dioxide concentration will cause global plant photosynthesis to increase by about one third, according to a paper published in the journal Nature

Exeter expert urges scrutiny of genome editing

New methods of genome editing which could increase food production rates in farmed animals require urgent ethical scrutiny, according to a University of Exeter expert.

Exeter scientists awarded prestigious Royal Society University Research Fellowships

Three outstanding early-career scientists from the University of Exeter have been bestowed with prestigious fellowships from the Royal Society.

How baby’s genes influence birth weight and later life disease

New research finds genetic differences that help to explain why some babies are born bigger or smaller than others.

Coastal wildlife more vulnerable to microplastics than expected

Coastal dwelling marine wildlife, including crabs, lobsters and shellfish, which play a crucial role in the food chain, are more vulnerable to harmful plastic pollution than previously expected.

Medical historians and social scientists helping to tackle the world’s most pressing public health problems

Researchers at the University of Exeter will work with the World Health Organization to tackle the world’s most pressing public health problems.

Consistency builds cohesion - the art of group success

New research finds that fish with consistent and predictable personalities are more successful in social groups and help to build tighter and more coordinated shoals.

Ocean fronts attract ocean wanderers – foraging gannets on the front line

Foraging seabirds use oceanic fronts as an efficient means to forage for food, according to an international study that could help safeguard the future of protected species.

'Green exercise’ in England benefits health to the tune of £2.2 billion a year

Physical activity in natural environments, or ‘green exercise’, is estimated to provide health benefits of £2.2 billion a year to the English adult population.

Campaigning footballer at men’s mental health event

Former professional footballer turned campaigner Clarke Carlisle met experts at an event held today to discuss how they can tackle male suicide and mental health problems.

More than one in ten UK species threatened with extinction, new study finds

Climate change, urban expansion and agricultural intensification blamed for risk to some of Britain’s best loved species

Magma build-up at active Japanese volcano poses threat to "Naples of the Eastern World", research shows

Pioneering new study could help provide early-warning system for volcanic eruptions worldwide.

Seek and you shall find – bees remain excellent searchers even when ill

Honeybees are hardwired to efficiently search the landscape enabling them to continue working for the greater good of their hives even when they are sick, according to new research.

Study suggests genes and environment interact to increase risk of obesity

New research presented at this year’s European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) meeting in Munich, Germany (12-16 September) shows that environmental and lifestyle factors have greatest effects on obesity in those who also carry the most obesity genes.

New drone technology will uncover secrets of Amazonian tribes

Experts hope to uncover the hidden secrets of ancient Amazon tribes and their effect on modern vegetation using revolutionary new drone technology.

Unprecedented atmospheric behaviour disrupts one of the earth’s most regular climate cycles

A team of scientists has discovered an unexpected disruption in one of the most repeatable atmospheric patterns.

Induced climate change ‘tug of war’ keeps scientists guessing on storm tracks

The effects of man-made climate change can hamper scientific projections of how key global weather patterns will act in the future, a new study has revealed.

Official launch of the #RU2Drunk breathalyser scheme in Weymouth

Suspected drunks trying to get into pubs and clubs in Weymouth could be breathalysed and refused entry from Friday 16 September.

African fishers undertake highly risky expeditions to make a living

Fishers in Central Africa often cover hundreds of miles in very basic boats without engines searching for food to feed their families and make a living, a new study shows.

Historical data hold secrets of one of UK’s favourite fish

UK fisheries survey logbooks from the 1930s to 1950s have been digitised for the first time, revealing how cod responded to changing temperatures in the last century.

New light on the complex nature of ‘hot Jupiter’ atmospheres

Fascinating new light could be shed on the complex atmospheres of planets which orbit stars outside our own solar system, thanks to pioneering new research.

Rotten egg gas could help protect diabetics from heart complications

A gas that was formerly known for its noxious qualities could help people with diabetes recover from heart and blood vessel complications.

Progress in refining the genetic causes of schizophrenia

An international study has made advances in understanding the ways in which genetic risk factors alter gene function in schizophrenia. 

Exeter student tackles plight of child brides in Bangladesh

A student with close ties to Bangladesh has just returned from a research mission to raise awareness of the damaging culture of child marriage.

New laser to help Exeter scientists study brain changes in dementia

Dementia researchers have been awarded £91,500 to purchase a new laser to create a state-of-the-art microscope, transforming their ability to image the brain.

University of Exeter welcomes call for ban on microbeads in cosmetics

A University of Exeter academic has welcomed calls from MPs for a ban on the use of microbeads in cosmetics because of the marine pollution they are causing.

Biological invasions threaten biodiversity, economy and human livelihood in developing countries

Invasions from alien species threaten the economies and livelihoods of residents of some of the world’s poorest nations.

Scientists develop interactive game demonstrating impact of climate change on the Antarctic Ice Sheet

Scientists and games developers have joined forces to help communicate the impact of climate change on the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Climate change alters the rules of sperm competition in the sea

The impact of climate change on global seawater conditions could change the rules of sperm competition for many important marine species.

Sea habits of migratory birds highlight conservation need in the Canary Current

Scientists have tracked the behaviour of seabirds migrating across the Atlantic to better understand how these animals use the marine environment.

University of Exeter reinforces position in influential world ranking

The University of Exeter has reinforced its position as one of the best universities in the world, according to the latest influential rankings.

Humble moss helped create our oxygen-rich atmosphere

The evolution of the first land plants including mosses may explain a long-standing mystery of how Earth’s atmosphere became enriched with oxygen.

Long-lived parents could mean a healthier heart into your seventies

The longer our parents lived, the longer we are likely to live ourselves, and the more likely we are to stay healthy in our sixties and seventies.

Exeter professor honoured for world-class fish research

A University of Exeter marine biologist has won a prestigious award for his world-class work in the field of fish ecology.

Experts to use drones to discover more about killer whales

Drones will be used to discover more about the social lives of killer whales and help conserve these amazing mammals, which are at risk of extinction.

Nature, not nurture, defines cricket social networks

The social lives of crickets are similar generation to generation, even though the insects can’t learn directly from their mum and dad.

Help test new online depression therapy

People feeling low or depressed are being offered the opportunity to take part in a study exploring the effectiveness of a simple new therapy online. 

Retired holidaymakers asked to share their tourism stories

Retired holidaymakers are needed to take part in new research which aims to discover how giving up work has affected their tourism choices.

Ambulance call-out research leads to positive changes for ambulance service trust

Research investigating the reasons behind a rise in ambulance call-outs in the South West is already being used by a local ambulance service trust.

Expert on political crisis wins top psychology award

An expert on the psychology of political crisis is to receive this year’s Presidents’ Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Knowledge from the British Psychological Society.

World’s largest behavioural ecology conference comes to Exeter

The University of Exeter will host global research leaders in the field of behavioural ecology on July 28 to August 3.

Did you experience drought of ‘76?

Researchers are urging people who experienced the 1976 drought to share their stories of how they coped during the most severe water shortage in living memory.

High chance that current atmospheric greenhouse concentrations commit to warmings greater than 1.5 °C

Current levels of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations warm air temperatures overland by over 1.5°C.

Theresa May’s support highest among 'Bregretful' Conservatives

New Prime Minister Theresa May has expressed her commitment to Brexit, but she is liked most by Conservative voters who regret voting to leave, a new survey suggests.

World experts converge in Exeter to tackle structural vibration as ‘global challenge’

Experts in vibration serviceability of civil engineering structures from across the globe met at the University of Exeter.

Behavioural Activation as effective as CBT for depression, at lower cost

A simple and inexpensive therapy is equally as effective at treating depression as the “gold standard” of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Exercise can change brain structure and reduce dementia risk

Getting regular exercise can lower the risk of cognitive decline and can even change our brain structure.

Tiny microbe turns tropical butterfly into male killer, scientists discover

A scientist from the University of Exeter has helped to identify a male-killing microbe in a tropical butterfly called the African Queen.

Climate experts help communities cope with impact of the Indian Monsoon

Work by University of Exeter experts to predict the weather in India could help millions of people prepare for the devastating effects of the country’s summer monsoons.

Traumatic brain injury costs £15 billion a year in the UK, says new research

Traumatic brain injury costs a total of £15 billion nationally every year and puts young people at higher risk of poor mental health and offending.

Scavenger crows provide public service, research shows

Crows are performing a useful function and keeping our environment free from rotting carcasses, research carried out at the University of Exeter in Cornwall has discovered.

Acting together can reduce the risks climate change poses to the UK

The independent Committee on Climate Change today concludes that the impacts of climate change are already being felt in the UK, and urgent action is required to address climate-related risks. 

Major study reveals steep decline in number of small family farms

A major new independent study commissioned by The Prince’s Countryside Fund into the future of small family farms across the UK, has revealed a steep decline in numbers since the beginning of the century.

Study recruits volunteers to trial ketamine as new treatment for alcoholism

A study aiming to evaluate the use of the drug ketamine as a treatment for severe alcohol disorder is currently recruiting volunteers.

New technique could revolutionise surgical treatment of epilepsy

Scientists at the University of Exeter have developed a pioneering new technique that could revolutionise the surgical treatment of epilepsy.

Ancient Brazilians occupied the same homes for centuries

Ancient inhabitants of the southern Brazilian highlands were no strangers to the types of home improvements we enjoy today, academics from the University of Exeter have found.

Experts listen in on noisy Falmouth seas

A long-term plan for managing noise in shallow parts of the ocean such as Falmouth Bay is needed to protect the environment, scientists have said.

Drought stalls tree growth and shuts down Amazon carbon sink

A recent drought completely shut down the Amazon Basin’s carbon sink, a ground-breaking study has found. 

Further improvements to recruitment, retention and training of Army Reserve Forces needed

Improvements to the way that Army Reserve Forces are trained and supported are needed if recruitment targets are to be met.

Exeter researchers to hold free dementia information day

Scientists in Exeter are inviting the public to a free meeting on Wednesday 6 July to discuss current dementia research.

International award for excellence in health technology assessment research

Researchers at the Medical School have won a prestigious international award for outstanding research in health technology assessment.  

Exeter teams shortlisted for Nursing Times Awards

Two Exeter teams have been shortlisted for the prestigious Nursing Times Awards.

Be wary of knotweed advice on the web, researchers warn

Gardeners turning to the internet for advice about Japanese knotweed are likely to find a wide range of potentially misleading advice.

Exeter expert delivers talk to UN on ocean plastic pollution

A marine pollution expert from the University of Exeter has given a high level presentation at the United Nations headquarters.

Exeter physicist wins prestigious award for experimental research

A University of Exeter lecturer has been honoured with a medal and prize for his outstanding contribution to experimental Physics.