Virgin birth and sex mysteries in mites

Marie-Claire Koschowitz Why bother going on a quest to find a partner if you could take a shortcut and make some babies with yourself? A quick look at dating sites and rom-coms reveals that finding a partner can be an exercise in frustration that costs time, money and cocktails that lead nowhere. Skipping all of... Continue Reading →

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Floppy Bits and Penis Bones

Marie-Claire Koschowitz Penile ossification – an uncomfortable combination of words even for those of us that are part of the not-penis having population. There are so many questions like - why, how and does it hurt?! The real question, however, should be why penile ossification is in fact not the norm, but the exception in... Continue Reading →

Coral Reefs in Trouble

Louis Claxton Coral reef ecosystems are some of the most ecologically diverse, rich and productive marine areas in the world[1]. They cover a mere 0.015% of the sea floor, yet account for 25% of the ocean’s biodiversity[2]. What’s more, coral reefs provide a source of wealth, food and recreational enjoyment to human populations across the... Continue Reading →

Which bit is the trunk?

Toby Jackson It seems like a simple question, right? We have all climbed a tree and know perfectly well that the branches are the bits that stick out, and the trunk is the bit in the middle. However, when it comes to giving a robust definition that holds for all types of trees, I am... Continue Reading →

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 →

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