Latest news

Killer whale grandmothers boost survival of calves

Post-menopausal killer whale grandmothers improve the chances of survival for their calves, new research has found.

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Lights on fishing nets save turtles and dolphins

Placing lights on fishing nets reduces the chances of sea turtles and dolphins being caught by accident, new research shows.

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Coastal beauty of Devon and Cornwall shines in photo competition

The beauty of Devon and Cornwall’s coasts and seas has been celebrated with the Exeter Marine photo competition.

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Sounds of the past give new hope for coral reef restoration

Young fish can be drawn to degraded coral reefs by loudspeakers playing the sounds of healthy reefs, according to new research published today in Nature Communications.

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Animals could help humans monitor oceans

Sharks, penguins, turtles and other seagoing species could help humans monitor the oceans by transmitting oceanographic information from electronic tags.

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Meeting the challenges facing fisheries climate risk insurance

Insurance schemes with the potential to improve the resilience of global fisheries face a host of future challenges, researchers say.

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University experts feature in prestigious ranking of world’s most influential scientists

Leading climate, environment and health academics from the University of Exeter have been recognised as being amongst the world’s most influential researchers, according to a prestigious new ranking.

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Leadership’s in the blood for tiny fish

Leadership during cooperation runs in the family for tiny fish called Trinidadian guppies, new research shows.

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Millions of seabirds rely on discarded fish

Millions of scavenging seabirds survive on fish discarded by North Sea fishing vessels, new research shows.

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Fish more tolerant than expected to low oxygen events

Fish may be more tolerant than previously thought to periods of low oxygen in the oceans, new research shows.

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Exeter experts to play key role in ‘game-changing’ tidal energy project for Channel regions

Renewable Energy experts from the University of Exeter will play a pivotal role in a new “game-changing” tidal energy project, it has been confirmed.

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Scientists ‘must be allowed to cry’ about destruction of nature

Scientists witnessing the destruction of the natural world must be supported and “allowed to cry”, researchers say.

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New international project will investigate hidden costs of floods communities

The University of Exeter will lead an international project to investigate the hidden impact of adaptation measures designed to protect flood-prone communities worldwide.

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Alumni fund research into mitigating impacts of sport and leisure in the marine environment

Scientists know that light, litter and noise are all major stressors on marine life but we don’t yet have a full understanding of their combined and comparative effects on the environment. However this is set to change thanks to two Exeter alumni. 

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Diving birds follow each other when fishing

Diving seabirds watch each other to work out when to dive, new research shows.

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The “pathobiome” – a new understanding of disease

Cefas and University of Exeter scientists have presented a novel concept describing the complex microbial interactions that lead to disease in plants, animals and humans.  

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Leatherback turtle spotted off Cornwall

A leatherback turtle has been spotted off the coast of Cornwall – the first confirmed sighting of a live leatherback in UK waters this year.

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New technique can show links between prey and microplastics

A brand new method has been developed to investigate links between top predator diets and the amount of microplastic they consume through their prey, offering potential insights into the exposure of animals in the ocean and on land to microplastics.

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Eden Project event marks massive clean-up of plastic on pristine Indian Ocean atoll of Aldabra

Environmental champions from the Seychelles, Oxford and Cornwall met at the Eden Project to show what the paradise island of Aldabra can teach the world about the scourge of ocean plastic.

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Green turtles eat plastic that looks like their food

Green turtles are more likely to swallow plastic that resembles their natural diet of sea grass, new research suggests.

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Robot cameras reveal secret lives of basking sharks in UK marine conservation first

An autonomous ‘SharkCam’ has been used in the UK for the first time to observe the behaviour of basking sharks in the Inner Hebrides.

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Staring at seagulls could save your chips

Staring at seagulls makes them less likely to steal your food, new research shows.

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No new males: Climate change threat to Cape Verde turtles

Rising temperatures could mean no male loggerhead turtles hatch at a key breeding ground by the end of this century, new research suggests.

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Overfishing plus climate change equals threat to fisheries

Overfishing increases the threat posed by climate change to fish stocks and fisheries, according to a new report for MPs.

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Hundreds of sharks and rays tangled in plastic

Hundreds of sharks and rays have become tangled in plastic waste in the world’s oceans, new research shows.

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‘Gentle recovery’ of Brazil’s leatherback turtles

Brazil’s leatherback turtles are making a “gentle recovery” after 30 years of conservation efforts, new research shows.

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Exeter scientist wins world’s biggest science communication competition

A University of Exeter scientist has won FameLab International, a global competition to find the best new science communicators.

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Crabs’ camouflage tricks revealed

Crabs from a single species rely on different camouflage techniques depending on what habitat they live in, new research shows.

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Penguins and their chicks’ responses to local fish numbers informs marine conservation

How adult penguins fish and the body condition of their chicks are directly linked to local fish abundance, and could potentially inform fishery management, a new study has found

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University declares an environment and climate emergency

Exeter has declared an environment and climate emergency to support those calling for urgent action and show commitment to leading the change required.

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Exeter experts join Ganges plastic pollution mission

Two University of Exeter scientists will be part of an international team studying plastic pollution in the River Ganges.

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Exeter marine expert awarded prestigious medal for scientific contribution

One of the world’s foremost experts in fish ecology and bioacoustics has been awarded a prestigious prize from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

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Classrooms invited to join live Arctic adventure

Young people around the world will get the chance to explore the Arctic via live broadcasts from researchers.

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Marine conservation scientist wins ZSL award

A scientist who specialises in marine turtle research has won an award from international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London).

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Location, location, location: Proximity to the mainland determines how coral reef communities respond to major environmental disturbances

Severe weather and environmental disturbances, such as cyclones or thermal coral bleaching, affect specific areas of coral reefs differently, new research has shown.

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Exeter researcher awarded Pew Fellowship to discover if commercial fishing harms endangered penguin populations

Experts will work to discover if commercial fishing is harming endangered African penguins by making it harder to forage for food in the ocean.

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Exeter expert backs calls for bold national Plastic Packaging Plan to help protect oceans

One of the world’s foremost experts in microplastics research has backed calls for a bold new national policy framework to help reduce the amount of ocean plastic pollution.

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Endangered sharks being eaten in UK

Endangered species of hammerhead and dogfish are among the sharks being sold as food in the UK, researchers have revealed.

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Plastic in Britain’s seals, dolphins and whales

Microplastics have been found in the guts of every marine mammal examined in a new study of animals washed up on Britain’s shores.

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Exeter and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory strengthen commitment to world-leading marine science research

Two of the South West’s leading environmental research organisations have strengthened their commitment to collaborating to address some of the key questions facing the sustainable future of the ocean.

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Warming warning over turtle feminisation

Up to 93% of green turtle hatchlings could be female by 2100, as climate change causes “feminisation” of the species, new research suggests.

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Warning over deep-sea ‘gold rush’

A “gold rush” of seabed mining could lead to unprecedented damage to fragile deep-sea ecosystems, researchers have warned.

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Crucial environmental research receives major funding boost

Pioneering new research on major environmental issues, led by scientists from the University of Exeter, have received a major funding boost, it has been announced.

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Drones help map sea level rise

Drones can be used to create low-cost and accurate 3D maps of coastal areas, new research shows.

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Exeter research ranked among the most influential of 2018

Research conducted by Exeter experts has been recognised amongst the top 100 influential in 2018.

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Scientists secure prestigious awards for global impact of microplastics research

A team of researchers has won two prestigious awards for the impact of work highlighting the presence, and potential impacts, of microplastics in our oceans.

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Microplastics found in all sea turtle species

Tests on more than 100 sea turtles – spanning three oceans and all seven species – have revealed microplastics in the guts of every single turtle.

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Marine and citizen scientists take to the seas to help secure a future for Atlantic bluefin tuna in UK waters

Cefas and University of Exeter have launched a bluefin tuna tagging programme to try and find out more about the migration patterns of these enigmatic predators.

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Exeter expert shortlisted for NERC Impact Awards 2018

4,000 tons of microbeads no longer released into ocean after pioneering plastics research

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Microplastics found deep in sand where turtles nest

Microplastics have been found deep in the sand on beaches where sea turtles lay their eggs.

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‘Simple solutions’ to help rebuild coral reef ecosystems

The future of coral reefs was discussed at a workshop in Indonesia.

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Wild dolphins learn tricks from each other

Dolphins learn tricks from each other in the wild, new research shows.

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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.

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Plastic found in stomach of dead turtle on Cornish beach

Plastic has been discovered in the stomach of a leatherback turtle found dead on a Cornish beach on Sunday.

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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.

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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.

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Cornish seal skeleton to go on display

The skeleton of a huge seal that washed up on a Cornish beach will go on display at the University of Exeter on Friday.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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‘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 .

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Turtle tagged in Brazil reaches UK territory

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

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Micro-plastics in the Antarctic

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

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Public invited to quiz sea turtle experts

Top scientists will answer your questions about sea turtles in a live online Q&A on Friday (June 8).

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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.

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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.

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Cautious prawns win battle for food

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

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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Critical role parrotfish play in coral reef island building shown in stunning new documentary

The pivotal role that parrotfish play in building and maintaining coral reef islands, unearthed by experts at the University of Exeter

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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.

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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.

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Exeter student to join team kayaking length of Wales collecting plastic

A second year marine biology student, is to join a team of women kayaking the length of Wales collecting plastic.

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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.

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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.

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Exeter experts sing praises of glorious mud

Mud provides precious habitats, a buffer against rising sea levels and a host of other benefits, according to two University of Exeter researchers.

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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.

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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.

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Experience trumps youth among jumping fish

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

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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. 

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Stunning footage shows how drones can boost turtle conservation

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

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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.

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UK chalk-stream salmon genetically unique

Salmon from the chalk streams of southern England are genetically unique, researchers have discovered.

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Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems

Mining on the ocean floor could do irreversible damage to deep-sea ecosystems, says a new study of seabed mining proposals around the world.

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Future Climate Change Revealed by Current Climate Variations

Uncertainty surrounding the extent of future climate change could be dramatically reduced by studying year-on-year global temperature fluctuations, new research has shown.

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No-fishing zones help endangered penguins

Small no-fishing zones around colonies of African penguins can help this struggling species, new research shows.

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Marine turtles dying after becoming entangled in plastic rubbish

Hundreds of marine turtles die every year after becoming entangled in rubbish in the oceans and on beaches,  including plastic ‘six pack’ holders and discarded fishing gear.  

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Exeter marine biologist is star of the Blue Planet

Blue Planet II, which has captured the nation’s imagination and highlighted the beauty and plight of marine life around the world, starred the University of Exeter’s Steve Simpson, Associate Professor of Marine Biology & Global Change.

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Boost for green research at Exeter

Sustainable seafood and electric cars are among the eco-friendly industries that will be the focus of new research at the University of Exeter.

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Tuna dissected by university scientists

A tuna accidentally caught off Devon has been dissected by scientists at the University of Exeter.

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Exeter reports to UN on antibiotic resistance in environment

Antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest health challenges of modern times – and now two world-leading academics have reported to the United Nations on how the problem can be spread through our natural environment.

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New CO2 device for unmanned ocean vessels

Carbon dioxide in remote parts of the world’s oceans will be measured by a new instrument being developed by scientists.

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University experts and The Ellen MacArthur Foundation to work towards a circular economy

Experts at the University of Exeter are celebrating a new collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation as they join its network as a Pioneer University.

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Crime-scene technique used to track turtles

Scientists have used satellite tracking and a crime-scene technique to discover an important feeding ground for green turtles in the Mediterranean.

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Sustainable seafood top of menu for new research group

A new research group will focus on how seafood can be safely and sustainably produced for the world’s growing population. 

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Weak social ties a killer for male whales

Male killer whales are more likely to die if they are not at the centre of their social group, new research suggests

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University alliance awarded £2m to train a new generation of freshwater leaders

Exeter is part of the UK’s first freshwater doctoral training programme to address the complex challenges facing freshwater sustainability.

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Plastic pollution discovered on ice floes near the North Pole

Melting ice is releasing frozen plastic into the Arctic Ocean, as plastic waste flows towards the Pole.

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Fish have complex personalities, research shows

Tiny fish called Trinidadian guppies have individual “personalities”, new research shows.

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Exeter team brief government on threats to coastal communities

University of Exeter scientists have been commissioned by the Government to write a briefing paper on the health and wellbeing of people living in coastal cities, towns and villages.

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Community support for protection of the Great Barrier Reef

Who cares about the Great Barrier Reef? Many people, according to a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Project develops next generation of offshore renewable energy technology

World-leading researchers from the University of Exeter will collaborate with counterparts in China on a pioneering new project to develop the next generation of offshore renewable energy (ORE) technologies.

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Otters learn by copying each other

Otters can learn how to solve puzzles by watching and copying each other, new research shows.

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Virus reprogrammes ocean plankton

A virus which infects plankton can reprogramme cells and change the way they absorb nutrients, new research shows.

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‘Inefficient’ sailing fleet keeps oyster fishery alive

Oyster stocks in a Cornish fishery are sustained thanks to “inefficient” traditional fishing methods, new research suggests.

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Boat noise disrupts fish co-operation

Noise from motorboats changes the behaviour of cleaner fish and the species they help.

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University and leading British surf brand seek wetsuit recycler

A pioneering inventor is being sought to create recycled and recyclable wetsuits.

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Grown-up gannets find favourite fishing grounds

Like humans, some birds can spend years learning and exploring before developing more settled habits. 

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Sea temperature changes contributing to droughts

Fluctuations in sea surface temperature are a factor in causing persistent droughts, research suggests. 

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Ancient fish trap gives new clues about history of erosion on Britain’s coastline

An ancient Saxon fishing trap exposed for the first time in centuries thanks to radical environmental change has provided new clues about the history of coastal erosion in Britain.

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Research looks into whether sea spray is losing its sparkle

Pioneering new research has given a fresh insight into the crucial role that sea spray plays in climate change.

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Research reveals West Antarctic Ice Sheet loss over the last 11,000 years

Wind-driven incursions of warm water have forced the retreat of glaciers in West Antarctica over the last millennia, new research has revealed.

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Sharks could hold genetic secret to long life

Greenland sharks, the longest living vertebrate on earth, which are found off the coast of Britain, could hold the secret to long life, geneticists mapping their DNA have predicted.

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A fifth of male fish in UK rivers now ‘trans-gender’ due to chemicals in human waste

Anti-depressants flushed down the loo reduce natural shyness in fish.

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Motor-boat noise makes fish bad parents, leading to the death of their babies

Noise from motorboats is making fish become bad parents, and reducing the chance of their young surviving, research led by marine experts at the University of Exeter has shown.

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Exeter researchers help protect Peru’s river dolphins

Peru's river dolphins will get new protection thanks to a plan developed with help from the University of Exeter.

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Jurassic drop in ocean oxygen lasted a million years

Dramatic drops in oceanic oxygen, which cause mass extinctions of sea life, come to a natural end – but it takes about a million years.

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Light pollution has serious impact on coastal wildlife, research shows

Scientists have recognised for some years that light pollution is a growing phenomenon that impacts on the behaviour and success of many animals.

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Logging threatens breeding turtles

Debris from logging in tropical forests is threatening the survival of hatchling leatherback turtles and the success of mothers at one of the world’s most important nesting sites in Colombia.

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The foundation of aquatic life can rapidly adapt to global warming, new research suggests

Important microscopic creatures which produce half of the oxygen in the atmosphere can rapidly adapt to global warming, new research suggests.

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Soft coral species exhibit strikingly different patterns of connectivity around the British Isles

The evolution of land animals has been shaped by barriers such as oceans and mountains which have divided them and sent them down different genetic paths. 

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European funding launches Marine-i to provide support to marine businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

Up to £6.8m of European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) has been secured to develop marine technology research, development and innovation activities in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

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Declining Arctic sea ice does influence European weather – but is not a cause of colder winters

The dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice through climate change is unlikely to lead to more severe winter weather across Northern Europe, new research has shown.

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Planned protection area would help basking sharks

A proposed Marine Protected Area (MPA) off Scotland’s west coast would help basking sharks, researchers say.

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Exeter helps protect Myanmar marine life

A new plan to protect Myanmar’s diverse marine life has been announced.

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Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

Warming seawaters threaten the stability of tropical coral reefs, with potentially devastating implications for many reef species and the human communities that reefs support.

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Warming ponds could accelerate climate change

Rising temperatures could accelerate climate change by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide stored in ponds and increasing the methane they release, new research shows.

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Basking sharks seek out winter sun

The winter habits of Britain’s basking sharks have been revealed for the first time.

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Climate change and fishing create ‘trap’ for penguins

Endangered penguins are foraging for food in the wrong places due to fishing and climate change, research led by the University of Exeter and the University of Cape Town has revealed.

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Predator threat boosts friendships among guppies

Danger from predators causes animals to form stronger friendships, according to new research.

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Exeter research helps protect loggerhead turtles

A long-running research and conservation project is helping save an at-risk species of turtle.

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Mother-daughter conflict between killer whales can explain the evolution of menopause

An international research team have found that mother-daughter conflict can explain why killer whales are one of only three known species of mammal, including humans, to go through the menopause.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Scientists search for regional accents in cod

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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New £1M facility to reveal the secrets of marine microbial communities one member at a time

University of Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory have unveiled a state of the art facility for the study of environmental microbes.

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Tiny ocean organism has big role in climate regulation

Scientists have discovered that a tiny, yet plentiful, ocean organism is playing an important role in the regulation of the Earth’s climate.

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Conservation laws need reshaping to protect sea turtles, research finds

Researchers call for socio-economic influences to be factored into future protection policies

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