Here, Professor Bhavik Patel, Professor of Clinical and Bioanalytical Chemistry in the Centre for Stress and Age-Related Disease, details how he’s coping – and how he’s found his patio windows at home are perfect substitutes for white boards:
The transition to teaching and assessing students at distance practically over the course of 24 hours has certainly brought out many mixed emotions. There is the concern of how this format of distance teaching and assessment will be received by the students and that we have limited experience of distance learning. A part of me is up for the challenge of exploring creative ways to teach and assess our students.
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 →
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.
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.
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.
Chloe Morel recently visited South Africa as part of her International Experience. The International Experience Fund is a fund kindly supported by Santander Universities and other generous donors, which helps eligible undergraduate students take advantage of opportunities overseas such as work placements, volunteering or studying abroad.
University of Brighton research has discovered high levels of plastic-based microfibres in Chichester Harbour.
Dr Corina Ciocan’s study revealed there were 10,000 microfibres per litre in the top layer of the harbour’s seawater – and one study shows these same fibres are harmful to fish and this may impact on the foodchain.
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 →
Non-native parrots can cause substantial damage and threaten native biodiversity, although impacts vary strongly depending on where these parrots have been introduced, according to new pan-European research involving a University of Brighton scientist.
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.
They also tried scattering different smells including chilli to deter the rhinos from danger areas. Read More →