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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.

Mutation hotspot in the desert

Researchers at the University of Oxford have discovered a giant mutation hotspot within the genome of a diabetes-prone rodent.

The sand rat Psammomys obesus, native to deserts of North Africa and the Middle East, eats low carbohydrate plants but is prone to obesity and type II diabetes if given normal food. It was long thought that this was because sand rats are missing a key switch gene, called Pdx1, which in humans controls the levels of insulin.

Two top wins for Zoology in the Vice-Chancellor’s Public Engagement with Research awards

We are delighted to announce that two zoology projects have won in this year’s Vice-Chancellor’s Public Engagement with Research Awards.

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor says: “I have been deeply impressed by the quality of the public engagement with research projects submitted for this year’s awards. The breadth and diversity of the activities taking place show how seriously the University takes its commitment to public engagement.”