Of Blood and Spines – Investigating the world’s most dangerous palms

Benedikt Kuhnhaeuser Thinking about palms, what comes to your mind? White sand, coconuts, holidays? Palms are instantly recognised by their unique appearance, but their diversity is totally underestimated by almost everybody. They can have a nice stout stem like a coconut palm, but they also can be stemless, with the leaves directly coming out of... Continue Reading →

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What are these bees doing in my tumble drier?

Frey Fyfe The arrival of spring brings many flowering plants, birds, and other creatures back into activity, but for a handful of households each year, spring marks the start of several months of wondering why the vent pipes of their tumble driers are hosting a collection of bumblebees. Why would bees want to get into... Continue Reading →

One Eyed Brutus and the Whistling Kites

Brooke Jonson We sat on cheap plastic deck chairs, hazy clouds thankfully obscuring the worst of the tropical Australian sun.It was still warm though, as even the breeze from the nearby river was moist and clammy and smelled of damp vegetation. Behind us stretched hundreds of square kilometres of reedy marsh and grass land, ahead... Continue Reading →

The Carbon Conundrum

Ben Fernando All life on Earth is ‘organic’, in that it has a biochemistry based on the element carbon. Carbon forms the molecular backbone of every biologically important complex molecule, from the DNA nucleotides which encode our genetic information, to the ATP which transports energy within our cells. Carbon’s ubiquity in all of life’s wonderfully... Continue Reading →

Antarctic Dreaming

Fiona Jones There’s a reason I work in Antarctica, rather than the jungle. First and foremost is probably my passion for the polar environment, and the wildlife to be found there, but I’m also pretty hopeless in the heat. We’ve now had a week of blazing sunshine in Oxford, and while I’m not complaining (summer... Continue Reading →

Is that tree about to snap?

Toby Jackson Sounds like a simple enough question, right? However, it turns out we can’t give a very good answer. For a big old tree in a city or a park, it is important for safety reasons to know how likely it is to snap in the wind. Therefore, qualified arborists tend these trees and... Continue Reading →

White thieves and the wailing child

Brooke Jonson The old fisherman is hunched over his sandwich, and despite the late summer heat pulls his coat about himself like a little tent. “You afraid someone’s gonna nick yer bait, mister?!” someone calls out to him, to some good natured laughs from those assembled round the old band stand on Whitby harbour. I... Continue Reading →

Tales from the South Pacific: Huahine

Ashley Sendell-Price The island of Huahine (in fact two islands: Huahine Nui and Huahine Iti) is often described as the Garden of Eden, enticing tourists with its lush forested landscape, turquoise lagoons (pictured below) and white-sand beaches. Although I do agree that this island is by far the most beautiful I have visited, for me Huahine lacks an... Continue Reading →

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