SciEnvy

For All Things Environmental Science
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Volcano Goes BOOM

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I’m sure we’re all familiar with the notorious things about volcanoes: that big ash plume, planes grounded, lava spewing all through a town and burning houses, and so on. These are famous for a reason: they are striking and so out of the ordinary, at least compared to life in the UK. But volcanic eruptions don’t necessarily very quickly go pop and then go back to sleep when the media stop reporting them. Some volcanoes can erupt for many years during a single ‘eruption’ and the impacts of these eruptions can be much more long term than you might expect because of the way they change the landscape.

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Normalising Mental Health Issues in Academia

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I recently attended a mental health first aid course and it is unfortunate that I did not take this course in my first year. When we went around the room it became obvious that, across all departments, postgraduate students have normalized mental health problems. It became especially apparent that PhD students in particular struggled with feeling that mental health problems like anxiety and depression are part of the process. Read More...

Landslides in Nepal: A problem of communication?

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Nepal is a small developing country located smack bang in the middle of the Himalayas – the highest, and in my definitely not biased opinion, most beautiful, mountain range in the world. The trekking opportunities provided by the Himalayas are a major driver of Nepal’s vital tourism industry. However, the geological and geomorphological complexity of the Himalayas also presents major challenges to Nepal’s social and economic development. Not least is the problem of landslides, which are estimated to cause a staggering average of 78 fatalities every single year! Considering how much is known about landslide hazard and management, this to me is a completely unacceptable figure.

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How can AI help bats in Borneo?

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What do you think of when you think of Borneo’s wildlife? Maybe Orangutans or Birds of paradise? For most people, bats aren’t the first group that spring to mind but they are an integral part of Borneo’s tropical rainforests. There are over 1300 species of bats worldwide (that’s four times as many bats as there are primates) and they make up 40% of Borneo’s land mammal species. As well as dispersing the seeds of approx. 300 tree species on the island they are also vital in regulating insect populations by consuming over half their body weight in insects each night. Sadly, just as with many more well recognised species, bats in Borneo are severely threatened by habitat loss and deforestation from logging and palm oil plantations.

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Plastics in Peru? First experience of an international workshop.

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There are many reasons why keen graduates choose to do a PhD – for a challenge; to push forward the boundaries of their chosen subject; to show what they are capable of. But also, to have the opportunity to go to fantastic places around the world, many of which would be inaccessible unless visiting with a research team. PhDs are a great chance to get to travel and network with a huge range of different people around the world. For the two of us; Chris Walkinshaw and Zara Botterell, both EnvEast students based at Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), our first opportunity for international travel came through a microplastics workshop in Lima, Peru. We both applied separately for places on this workshop (funded by the ODA Newton-Paulet Fund), and luckily we were both successful, and found ourselves on a 13-hour flight to Peru on the 7th October.Read More...