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9/11 memorial research reveals artificial light at night radically changes migratory bird behaviours

Migratory birds are both attracted to and influenced by light. As a result, their behaviours alter drastically in the presence of artificial light at night, according to a new Oxford University collaboration.

Every year, billions of birds undertake migratory journeys during the spring and autumn months. Most of these spectacular movements go unseen, occurring under the cover of darkness. However, a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences offers compelling evidence that artificial light at night causes radical changes in the behaviours of migrating birds.

Shocking gaps in basic knowledge of deep sea life

Researchers at the Univeristy of Oxford have warned that deep sea creatures face an uncertain future without immediate action taken to increase research and review deep ocean conservation measures.

Vibrant, mysterious and often referred to as the ‘final frontier’, the deep sea floor is the largest habitat on Earth. This vast area, which lies below 200m and which accounts for 60% of the surface of the planet, is home to an array of creatures. However, very little is known about how it functions and, in particular, how populations of deep sea creatures are interconnected.

Family break-ups lead to domestic violence in fruit fly relationships

Male fruit flies with strong family ties are less likely to become abusive during mating than others, according to new research.

Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) courtship is known to be a violent affair. Males compete aggressively for a female’s attention, attacking each other with their front legs - often harming the object of their affection in the cross fire.

The wintering whereabouts of penguins

Knowing where and how Antarctic penguins, seabirds and marine predators migrate is critical for conservation efforts. Although electronic tracking devices have helped scientists track marine animals’ migration patterns, the devices can be expensive, invasive for the animal and challenging to retrieve. Scientists have discovered a new and potentially better way to track where penguins go over the winter using forensics.

Unknown virus in ‘throwaway’ DNA discovered

Dr Aris Katzourakis and Dr Amr Aswad, both of the Zoology Department, have found that Next-Generation Sequencing and its associated online DNA databases could be used in the field of viral discovery.

Whilst their research focused on the genome of fish, the method can be used to identify viruses in a range of different species, and the team have now developed algorithms that detect DNA from viruses in the blood or tissue sample of the species studied.