How good is your garden for wildlife?

Our mammalian biologist Dr Dawn Scott and fellow experts are revealing the secret lives of animals and insects that live in gardens and lawns.

Watch out for Dr Scott who is featuring in a new BBC 4 TV programme ‘The British Garden: Life and Death on your lawn’.

Dr Scott said: “For this programme we assessed the biodiversity in eight gardens to see how different gardens support wildlife and what features of those gardens were the best for wildlife.”

Presented by Springwatch’s Chris Packham, the film looks “beneath the peonies and petunias” to reveal how male crickets bribe females for sex, how a robin’s red breast is actually war paint and how a single litter of foxes can have up to five different fathers.

The programme is scheduled for broadcast at 9pm on 11 July.

A warm welcome at our open day

Sunshine, blue skies, our brilliant ambassadors and friendly staff welcomed visitors to our campus open day on Saturday 17 June.

Open days are a great way to find out about the local area and campus where you will be studying. You’ll also be able to hear more about your chosen subject and talk to our staff and current students.

If you are thinking about beginning your studies in 2018 and missed this one, find out more about upcoming events on our website.

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Stories on springtails

Dr Dawn Scott has recently launched “Springtails” (https://www.brighton.ac.uk/springtails), a University of Brighton study linked with BBC Springwatch, to investigate how feeding wildlife in gardens effects interactions between animals (foxes, badgers, hedgehogs, cats and dogs)

If you have any observations, videos, photos or stories of interactions you have seen (with or without the presence of food) between foxes, badgers, hedgehogs, cats and/or dogs in your garden please could you add them to our data based via the website by following the link “share your story”

Send the weblink to anyone you know who might have also have observations and encourage them to put them on the website. https://www.brighton.ac.uk/springtail

Springwatch starts Monday 29th May at 8pm BBC2 and will feature researchers from UOB

BBC Springwatch on garden animals

University of Brighton mammalian biologist is calling on the public for ‘animal stories from the garden’ for research and a special feature for BBC Two’s forthcoming Springwatch series.

Dr Dawn Scott and her team are studying interactions between foxes, hedgehogs, badgers, cats and dogs in the presence or absence of food in people’s gardens.

Dr Scott, Principal Lecturer in the university’s School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, said: “Many people support wildlife in their gardens by providing food for them. However, we don’t yet fully understand how providing food can affect the interactions between wildlife.

“It is not always known what animals actually end up eating this extra food or if the animals compete to get access to it. Foxes and hedgehogs have been seen to feed from the same bowl but we have also seen animals come into conflict over the food provided.

“The project will be focused on interactions between foxes, badgers and hedgehogs, but we are also interested in interactions between the same species, i.e. fox and another fox, and also between pets.”

Findings from the research will feature in BBCs Two’s Springwatch which is scheduled to air from 29 May to 15 June.

 

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Moulsecoomb Campus Open Day

Open days are a great way to find out about the local area and the campus where you will be studying. You will also be able to hear more about your chosen subject and talk to our staff and current students.

If you are thinking of beginning your studies in 2018 come along to our campus open day on Saturday 17 June. Find out more about open days on our website.

Quorum Technologies Electron Microscopy prize

If you are currently in your final year and using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) in your project you are eligible for consideration for this years Quorum Technologies Electron Microscopy prize 2016-17, for final year undergraduate projects.

There is a £200 project prize this year, which will be awarded in recognition of the most commendable undergraduate final year project utilising microscopy.

To enter please send a copy of your project to Dr Jonathan Salvage either by email or as a paper copy marked for Dr Salvage’s attention to the school office, by Friday 9 June (latest).

Good luck!

Research insight

Asa White, Doctoral Researcher within our school, gets to call wading around in the Bourne Rivulet work!

Asa’s is researching how an invisible chemical may be affecting invertebrate and fish life. It has three main elements.

  • using electric fishing surveys around three watercress farms over two years to ascertain whether discharges are having a population-level impact on fish communities
  • at the same sites, surveying habitat suitability for salmonids in terms of the physical habitat and prey species abundances
  • running laboratory ecotoxicology experiments to study the effects of PEITC on fish. The aim of the research is to understand what effect, if any, watercress farming is having on fish populations. Should a negative impact be uncovered, then mitigation strategies to lessen the impacts could be developed to ensure that fish populations in chalk stream headwaters flourish.

Read his story in this article published on the Wild Trout Trust website.

Investigating Lyme disease on the South Downs

Lyme borreliosis is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Borelia burgdorferi. The bacterium is transmissible between hosts through the bite of blood-sucking ticks which parasitise mammals, birds, and humans. Landscape features, such as woodland or grassland, affect the movement of host animals, however, a knowledge gap exists on the extent of LB spread in Southern England. Mr Jo Middleton, Dr Anja Rott & Dr Ian Cooper presented a poster at the Microbiology Society annual conference in Edinburgh a few weeks ago, detailing their on-going research in to this neglected disease.

Investigating Lyme disease on the South Downs

 

Early morning mist on fields and trees

BSS and NSS Survey

Unless you have been avoiding emails, not coming into university and not talking to anyone in the School you will, no doubt, be aware that the all undergraduate students are being asked to give their feedback on their university experience to date via either the Brighton Student Survey or the National Student Survey. This feedback is extremely important to both the school and university and helps us make changes for you.

You can read about some of the changes we made this academic year as a consequence of feedback from last year please do have a look at the your voice matters blog (https://blogs.brighton.ac.uk/yourvoicematters/school-of-pharmacy-and-biomolecular-sciences/ )

The Brighton Student Survey (BSS)

The BSS is the School and University’s main opportunity to gather feedback from all level 4 and 5 students so that we can understand what we are doing well and what we can improve.  The BSS is opened on Monday 6 February and will close at midnight on Monday 6 March, if you haven’t yet, please do take 10 minutes to complete the survey – there are only a few days left and every response matters. Completing the survey automatically enters you into a prize draw with the opportunity to win a £200 voucher from the university.

How do I complete the survey?

The National Student Survey (NSS)

The National Student Survey (NSS) is commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and is a national survey, undertaken by Ipsos MORI, which gathers the views of all final year undergraduates about what it has been like to study their course at their institution.

The survey comprises 27 questions in the survey cover teaching, assessment and feedback, learning opportunities, academic support, organisation and management, learning resources, personal development, and the student voice. There are also questions about careers, course delivery, work placements, welfare resources and facilities, social opportunities and overall satisfaction.

How do I complete the survey?

Because the school would really like to receive feedback from as many students as possible we have decided to donate £100 to the student society associated with the course that has the highest proportion of their students completing both the BSS and NSS so your society could receive up to £200 for 10 minutes of your time.

Crohn’s Awareness Week

Hello, my name Is Adam Waugh. I suffer from a condition that many people don’t necessarily. I’m writing this piece to shed a little light on the world of Crohn’s and Colitis , not just what it is but also what it is like for the thousands of people that suffer with a condition that even they know very little about.

Crohn’s disease is defined as “a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestine, especially the colon, ileum and is associated with ulcers”. To those who suffer from it, it is much more than that. Crohn’s disease is an unfortunate lifestyle forced upon someone that affects everything from their diet to their social life. Crohn’s disease and its many forms are what is known as an “autoimmune disorder”. This is where the body’s own immune system attacks the natural bacteria in the gut trying to fight off an infection that doesn’t exist. In doing so it creates ulcers and tears in the intestinal wall which affect the ways in which food passes through the intestines. This can lead to some pretty un-fun side effects such as, constipation, diarrhoea, malnutrition and in worst cases anaemia from loss of blood. The most common symptom of the illness is an urgent and sudden need to go to the toilet. This causes a lot of distress and panic for sufferers as well as for many can be very embarrassing to have to constantly excuse yourself to use the toilet.

The biggest problem many sufferers face from Crohn’s disease is misdiagnosis, with over 115,000 people in the UK suffering from this condition the vast majority of which will have been misdiagnosed at some point along the line. I personally was misdiagnosed for 2 years with irritable bowel syndrome due to lack of knowledge on the subject and lack of testing done. Another big issue is the way Crohn’s can affect each individual sufferer. As it is different from person to person, what they can and can’t eat, what does and doesn’t trigger symptoms, it becomes very hard to treat. There isn’t one single way to treat the illness often requiring years of trial and error with medication and other therapies in order to achieve a decent lifestyle. For those who aren’t as lucky and don’t respond to medication the only other alternative is often surgery, this involves removing a large portion of the affected intestine and the use of a stoma bag which for some is the most embarrassing thing possible.

There is ongoing research to find a cure for this condition with help from societies such as Crohn’s and Colitis which provides help to those in need, organising events and funding research into a cure. Their website can be found at https://www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/. As of yet there is no cure only ways to manage the symptoms, there is hope however that there will be a cure someday in the future.