BioBlitz 2018 at the University of Lincoln

On Wednesday 10th October 2018, University of Lincoln students and A Level students from two local schools were given the opportunity to become a wildlife explorer for the day.

During their exploration into the various types of wildlife at the University’s Brayford Campus and guided by the School of Life Sciences’ scientists, students took part in pond-dipping, invertebrate sampling, bat echolocation, small mammal identification and plant and fungi identification.

This year’s BioBlitz also coincided with Biology Week – a celebration of biology involving activities held nationally and coordinated by the Royal Society of Biology.

The School of Life Sciences staff were supported by volunteers from the British Trust for Ornithology and the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. The University’s Environmental Manager, Rebecca Forster, also gave an overview of the environmental and sustainability initiatives that the University of Lincoln has put in place to ‘green’ the campus.

As is the case with any research activity, everything found on campus was documented and passed on to local and national databases that monitor our local wildlife.

Find out more about the School of Life Sciences: http://lincoln.ac.uk/home/lifesciences/  or follow the School on Facebook and Twitter.

Dr Nadia Andreani Seeks Illustrator for Second Children’s Book about Microbiology

Dr Nadia Andreani, School of Life Sciences, is running a Public Engagement for All with Research at Lincoln (PEARL) funded project to engage primary school children with the aim of teaching basic knowledge about microbiology through the creation of an illustrated book. Once published, the book will be distributed to Schools across the country, to help school children discover the fascinating world of science.

Readers will be able to follow the adventures of a group of bacteria through the discovery of the microorganisms we come into contact with on a daily basis. Nadia has previously published a children’s book, The Adventures of Flo, the special Bacterium, which is based on her research into why mozzarella can get certain bacterial infections and turn blue, which can be read via the link below.

Nadia’s latest book has been drafted and is now in need of an individual who is looking to broaden or develop their skills in a new direction, to illustrate the book. The chosen illustrator will design and draw the illustrations for the book which will be published with the illustrator credited and awarded £200 – the monies which were received from the public engagement funding.

Applicants will be asked to select one section from the book’s draft and submit at least one design illustrating the text. This should be submitted in a digital format.

For details on how to apply or any questions about the opportunity or project itself, please contact Dr Nadia Andreani: nandreani@lincoln.ac.uk.

Please note, the creation and distribution of this book is not for profit.

Application deadline is the 15th of November 2018.

Physiological Society recognises Dr Hills’ work with Joan Mott Prize Lecture

Reader at the School of Life Sciences, Dr Claire Hills, has been awarded the Physiological Society’s 2019 Joan Mott Prize Lecture.

The Lecture recognises a female physiologist for their long-term contribution to the field and is one of the Society’s most prestigious international awards. Claire joins a long list of renowned female international physiologists who have previously been awarded this Prize, including Professor Rhian Touyz (2017), Director of the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences at the University of Glasgow and Professor Hannelore Daniel (2015), Chair of Physiology of Human Nutrition at the Technical University of Munich.

In addition to receiving an honorarium, Dr Hills will deliver the Prize Lecture to the Society’s main meeting in Aberdeen, Scotland. The Lecture will be published in the Society’s Journal, Experimental Physiology. 

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Fighting like cats and dogs? Research shows a different picture

Animal behaviour researchers at the University of Lincoln have discovered that the relationship between our cats and dogs may be more amicable than originally perceived.

The relationship between the species is often portrayed as fractious, however, Professor Daniel Mills, Dr Sophie Hall and Jessica Thomson at the School of Life Sciences conducted an online survey to find out what it is that makes cats and dogs harmonious.

Results showed that 80% of homeowners felt their pets were comfortable with one another and a mere 3% stated that their cats and dogs could not stand one another.

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It was found that that 50% of owners reported their cats displayed negative behaviours such as hissing and spitting at dogs, and 18% said their dogs threatened cats, less than 10% of cats and only 1% of dogs ever harmed the other animal. Domestication may play a huge part in this interaction, as dogs have been domesticated for longer than cats and are a lot easier to train.

Overall, the majority of owners perceived their cat and dog as being comfortable living under the same roof.
The idiom ‘fighting like cat and dog’ may not ring true after all!

The paper, titled ‘Evaluation of the relationship between cats and dogs living in the same home’ was published in the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour and can be read online.

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Student Trip to South Africa Enhances Conservation and Ecology Skills

As part of their studies at the University of Lincoln, students from the School of Life Sciences visited Mankwe wildlife reserve in South Africa in June 2018.

During their stay, the group of staff and students were able to explore the stunning South African landscape whilst carrying out scientific research on the health, behaviour, welfare, conservation and ecology of the wildlife in this biodiversity hotspot.

In the beautiful and fragile ecosystem of Mankwe, students and staff worked alongside a group of  local community-level conservationists. Throughout their trip, students learnt and developed field and identification skills as well as finding out about reserve management and anti-poaching strategies.  In addition, they were able to apply skills and knowledge gained during their degree programme to develop a self-driven research project on an aspect of animal health, behaviour and/or ecology.

Mankwe is a 4750 hectare reserve in the North West Province of South Africa, approximately 5km east of Pilanesberg National Park. The accommodation is a selection of safari tents, wooden cabins and a clinker brick chalet at the Waterbuck camp, where students have the opportunity to experience a true bush adventure. There are no fences so students live among the wildlife.

To find out more information about the School of Life Sciences Overseas Field Trips, click here.