Tag Archives: universities of exeter

Boat noise stops fish finding home

Boat noise disrupts orientation behaviour in larval coral reef fish, according to new research from the Universities of Exeter, Bristol and Liège.

Reef fish are normally attracted by reef sound but the study, conducted in French Polynesia, found that fish are more likely to swim away from recordings of reefs when boat noise is added.

Co-author, Dr Steve Simpson, a marine biologist at the University of Exeter, said: “Boat noise may scare fish, affecting their ecology.  Since one in five people in the world rely on fish as their major source of protein, regulating traffic noise in important fisheries areas could help marine communities and the people that depend on them.” (more…)

Read More

Female Fish Choose Attractive Friends to Avoid Attention

Scientists have observed a strategy for females to avoid unwanted male attention: choosing more attractive friends.

Published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the study is the first to show females spending time with those more sexually attractive than themselves to reduce harassment from males.

Carried out by the Universities of Exeter and Copenhagen, the study focuses on the Trinidadian guppy, a species of small freshwater fish. It shows that the females choose companions that are relatively more attractive than themselves and in this way reduce harassment from males. The research shows that the tactic is successful and by ensuring they are less attractive than other group members, the fish experience less harassment and fewer mating attempts from males. (more…)

Read More

Britain’s Wildlife Will Benefit from Better Coastal Structures

*Plants and animals that live on Britain’s coasts could benefit from changes to the way coastal structures such as seawalls, breakwaters, rock armour and jetties are designed and built.*

*Research by the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth and Treweek Environmental Consultants, supported by the Environment Agency, has led to the development of recommendations for the design and construction of coastal defence structures.*

The team has produced guidance on how the ‘ecological enhancement’ of hard coastal structures can be embedded in the design and planning process, from conception through to construction.

Past research has found that hard structures are poor ecological substitutes for natural rocky shores, often supporting only a few dominant, opportunistic species such as green algae. The research team assessed the suitability of different materials, surface roughness, positioning and height for coastal habitats. They examined structures across the South West coast, including Ilfracombe in Devon and Newlyn in Cornwall, as well as looking further afield to work from Sydney Harbour in Australia and Seattle Harbour in the USA. They focused on organisms such as barnacles and limpets as these dominate many rocky shore environments and rapidly colonise hard surfaces placed in the sea, including harbour walls. Once these organisms have established themselves, other plants and animals typically follow, to the benefit of species such as salmon. (more…)

Read More

Research Shows Not Only the Fittest Survive

Darwin’s notion that only the fittest survive has been called into question by new research published in Nature.

A collaboration between the Universities of Exeter and Bath in the UK, with a group from San Diego State University in the US, challenges our current understanding of evolution by showing that biodiversity may evolve where previously thought impossible.

The work represents a new approach to studying evolution that may eventually lead to a better understanding of the diversity of bacteria that cause human diseases. (more…)

Read More