Photo of Dr Sarah Pitt

We’re making waves – around the globe

University of Brighton researchers and academics have been in demand from media around the world in recent weeks on a variety of subjects, but mainly informing the debate about the coronavirus.

Dr Clare Weeden, Principal Lecturer from the Tourism, Hospitality and Events Research and Enterprise Group in the School of Sport and Service Management, was interviewed by The Daily Telegraph and quoted in their article on how tourism is coping in the face of the infection outbreak.

Jennifer Holland, Lecturer in Competitive Marketing in the same school, wrote an article on how the cruise liner industry has been disrupted in The Conversation. Holland was interviewed by BBC radio and the feature was broadcast by more than 50 BBC stations around the UK.

And Dr Sarah Pitt, Principal Lecturer in the University’s School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences and diagnostic virologist with the Institute of Biomedical Science, was interviewed by BBC South East Today and also BBC Radio Stoke about the coronavirus and invited to explain how people in contact with those with the infection are being traced and what precautions people should take.

Meanwhile, Professor Richard Faragher, Professor of Professor of Biogerontology from the Centre for Stress and Age-Related Disease, also featured in The Conversation on the subject of ‘How to add five healthy years to UK life expectancy’. His article was reprinted by a number of publications worldwide including the Metro newspaper in the UK, the Paris Guardian, the Shanghai Sun and the Nigeria Sun.

Paul Levy’s The Conversation article on ‘Why laptops could be facing the end of the line’ garnered over 133,000 reads and was one of the most widely read on the website for February. The Senior Lecturer in our Brighton Business School saw his article go viral – it was republished by a number of media including CNA (Asia, Australia and Middle East),  Knowridge Science Report and EconoTimes.

City Nature Challenge photo with logos

Competing against the world to discover wildlife

This World Wildlife Day, the University of Brighton is calling on everyone to take part in April’s City Nature Challenge to see who can find the most nature.

Dr Rachel White, senior lecturer in Ecology & Conservation, will be leading The Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere’s (The Living Coast) entry into the challenge, which aims to connect people with nature by discovering and recording as much wildlife as possible between 24-27 April 2020. Read More

free roaming animals sign at Knepp Estate

Wilding – a story of hope in conservation

Ella Scott, who is studying Ecology and Conservation BSc(Hons) tells us about a recent talk by Isabella Tree about rewilding Knepp Castle Estate.

On the other side of the South Downs, approximately 20 miles from Brighton University, something unique has been unfolding over the last twenty years, at Knepp Castle Estate. I had the pleasure of attending Isabella Tree’s talk on 19th November in which, she passionately shared the results of the project thus far.

In 1999, Tree and her husband, Charlie Burrell, decided to stop intensive farming and begin the Knepp Wildland project. Catalysed by the growing economic afflicting farmers and a new found understanding of the decreasing quality of soil and the consequences on the estate’s ancient oaks, Burrell and Tree decided to return the estate to nature and reintroduce ancient native grazers to the land. Acting as their ancient ancestors, Old English long horn cattle, Exmoor ponies, roe deer, fallow deer, red deer and Tamworth pigs were introduced to Knepp. By doing so, natural succession process has gradually created a diverse range of niches and habitats. They are also in the process of receiving permission to introduce European Bison and European beavers to the estate.

Read More

Launch Nature 2020 team

University kicks off involvement in Nature2020

MPs have helped launch a year-long celebration of biodiversity within the Brighton and Lewes Downs UNESCO World Biosphere Region.

The calendar of events marks the end of the UN Decade on Biodiversity, with the University of Brighton leading on the area’s involvement in the 5th global City Nature Challenge in April. The Nature2020 programme aims to raise awareness of – and connect people to – the environment we live and work in.

Local MPs Caroline Lucas and Lloyd Russell-Moyle joined the deputy Mayor of Brighton & Hove, Councillor Alan Robins, at a packed programme on Friday 31 January, which included speeches and a Healthwalk led by the University’s Becky Walton and Dr Rachel White to observe bird and plant species which make their home along the Undercliff walk.

Read More

Eve on Kenya research trip

Eve’s amazing research opportunity with the leopards of Kenya

Eve Hills, Ecology and Conservation MRes student, tells us about the opportunities and experiences she had studying here and why she recommends Ecology at Brighton.

I came into higher education late in life after deciding that I wanted to develop my passion for animals into a career in wildlife conservation. I enrolled on a foundation degree course in Animal Science, and this provided me with the opportunity to further my knowledge and develop new skills. As part of the course I got to design and carry out my first research project (studying cheetah movement on a Namibian wildlife sanctuary). I enjoyed the course so much, that after graduating I went on to top up my degree with a BSc (Hons) in Ecology at the University of Brighton.

The BSc provided another opportunity to conduct a research project – and this time my focus was the leopards of Kenya’s, Masai Mara National Reserve. I very much enjoyed the research side of my studies and the opportunities that were opening up for me were really exciting.

The MRes appealed to me particularly because it was relatively light on taught modules and heavy on the research. I wanted the opportunity to experience the kind of research I might get do in industry.

My research focused on the African leopard… after starting to study leopards during my BSc I wanted to continue – particularly as little is known about the Mara’s leopard population. In 2016, I made contact with a biologist who had been studying the Mara’s cheetah population for several years. After flying out to meet her and spending a couple of weeks assisting on her project, she encouraged me to start building a database of leopards in the Mara. It was working on the database which led to both my BSc and MRes project ideas.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read More

It’s students v staff in Radio 4 quiz

Students and staff from our school are some of the challengers going head-to-head on BBC Radio 4 quiz show The 3rd Degree on Monday.

The show, hosted by writer, comedian and actor Steve Punt, was recorded in front of an audience at the University’s Sallis Benney Theatre in January.

The University of Brighton episode is the fifth in a series of six and goes out on Monday at 3pm. It is repeated on Saturday, August 24 at 11pm. The show will remain on the BBC iPlayer for a week after its first broadcast.

After a rigorous selection process, students Sara Letham (Biomedical Science), Vincent Kane (Marketing Management) and Rachael Baylis (Globalisation: History, Politics, Culture) were chosen to represent the student team.

Dr Sarah Pitt (School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences) Dr Jon Watson (School of Humanities) and Phil Holden (Brighton Business School) made up the academic panel. Read More

Explore your options through Clearing

Good luck to everyone getting their A-Level results today!

If it doesn’t go to plan or you’ve had a change of heart about what you want do next, Clearing is a chance to change direction and make new plans.

If you need help navigating your way through the Clearing process, check out our handy online guide and see which courses you can still apply for. You can also call our Clearing hotline on 01273 644000 which is open now, and has extended hours from 7am to 7pm on results day.

If you’ve not yet visited the University of Brighton we have Clearing open days on Saturday 17th and Tuesday 20th August. You’ll be able to take a tour of the campus where you will be studying, get advice about accommodation, take part in a Q&A with academic staff and chat to students. Find out more about visiting us.

If you’re navigating big choices and big changes, we say: stay curious, explore, and trust yourself. The best journeys don’t always follow a map.

World-first study into microplastics in crustacean brains

University of Brighton researchers have carried out the world’s first study into microplastics in the brain of a crustacean species.

The research – conducted by University graduate Hannah Parker, Dr Neil Crooks, Dr Angelo Pernetta – showed that ingested microplastics remained in the brain of the velvet swimming crab at more consistent levels than in other areas such as the stomach and gills.

The presence of microplastics in the brain has possible implications for a range of behaviours in the crab, including predator avoidance, foraging and reproduction. Read More

How drones and sirens can help save the rhino

University of Brighton researchers have found new ways to help save white rhinoceros from illegal poaching – using drones and sirens.

They investigated the most effective ways of deterring rhinos from danger areas such as near perimeter fences where poachers often operate and spent six months on a South African game reserve testing the most effective way of persuading the animals to move to safer areas.

Poaching, fuelled by the international trade in horn, has caused the deaths of over 1,000 white and black rhinoceros per year between 2013 and 2017 and South Africa alone lost 5,476 rhinoceros to poaching between 2006 and 2016.

Lead researcher Samuel Penny, PhD student and lecturer in the University’s School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, exposed a population of southern white rhinos to drones, sirens and the sound of a swarm of bees to see which best encouraged them to move.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

They also tried scattering different smells including chilli to deter the rhinos from danger areas. Read More