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£6.3m funding to develop Africa’s agriculture without losing biodiversity and harming human societies

Researchers from the University of Oxford have been awarded funding from the Research Councils UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) as part of a £6.3 million project to investigate how to achieve food security whilst protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services and promoting social equity.

Good bacteria passed between generations benefit you more

New research carried out by researchers in the University’s Department of Zoology has tracked the evolutionary history of 106 bacterial symbioses, in a range of animal, plant and fungi species.

Published in Nature Communications, the findings have revealed that how bacteria is passed and contracted is key to the intensity of symbiont relationships. When bacteria are passed vertically, straight from mother to offspring, they tend to be much better for their hosts than if they are transmitted via the environment (horizontally).

New rules are urgently needed to protect life in the open seas, scientists have warned

Researchers at the University of Oxford have presented a report to the UN showing that more than 60% of the ocean lies out with national jurisdiction and as such lacks effective conservation measures.

The report highlights that the open ocean is at risk from climate change, over-fishing, deep-sea mining, farm pollution and plastics.

Oxford team wins prestigious Equator Prize

We are delighted to announce that Dr Susan Canney and her team have been awarded The Equator Prize 2017 for their Mali Elephant Project.

In a drought-prone zone rife with resource conflicts, the Mali Elephant Project sought to discover what it takes for humans and wildlife to live together. The project brings together various ethnic groups to effectively manage local resources and protect an internationally important population of 350 endangered African elephants – one of only two populations of “desert-adapted” elephants - and its migration route.

Allopreening in birds associated with stable bonds

Researchers at the University of Oxford have found that mutual preening in birds – allopreening – is more commonly found in species that display strong pair bonds. This behaviour was found specifically in species where the breeding parents worked closely to rear their offspring.

This finding supports the idea that allopreening is important in maintaining close pair bonds in birds, something which has also been argued for allogrooming in primates.