Ento ’13 (the International Symposium and National Science Meeting of the Royal Entomological Society) took place at St Andrews University, Scotland at the beginning of September. It celebrated 30 years of Thornhill and Alcock’s The Evolution of Insect Mating Systems and contained several fascinating presentations from scientists around the globe, including Australia, Uppsala, Georgia and the UK. Read More

I have a confession to make. Even though I am currently employed as an Impact Research Fellow at the University of Stirling, I have somewhat lost track of exactly what scientific “impact” really is, or should be. Although given my job title I guess this constitutes a sackable offence, please hear me out… Read More

tractor LN1

…..that is the question being asked about many sandy beaches around the world.

Should beaches be mechanically cleared (or groomed) with tractors and raking equipment? Or is this creating more problems than it solves? Read More

In a world with looming mass extinction due to climate change, extensive land conversion and deforestation, global economic crisis, growing human population and rising questions of food security, why should we spend the limited funding available for conservation on peripheral populations at the edge of a species’ distribution? Read More

Should we restrict bats to farm barns? This seemed to be the suggestion of Sir Tony Baldry, Second Church Estates Commissioner, who stated in a Westminster Hall debate1 last Tuesday (25th June 2013) “Churches are not farm barns. They are places of worship and should be respected as such”. The debate, led by Sir Tony, focussed on how it should be easier for churches to get rid of bats causing problems for congregation and cast around for people to blame, fixing upon the EU for the offending legislation, and the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) who he said had “ singularly failed to solve the problem”. Read More

It is the time of year when most of us go on holiday; some of us travelling far, some only short distances but most people go somewhere. Wherever we go, we like to connect with local culture, see different scenery and observe exotic and rare nature including birds, mammals and plants. Whenever I go places, I am always astonished about the flora and fauna the new place shares with what is familiar to me from the place I currently call home.  Read More

It is difficult to imagine getting half way through your PhD and only then realising that a substantial amount of research and literature exists on your field of expertise that you were clueless about. If I was to offer mitigating circumstances it would be that I suspect a large portion of you would also fall into the same trap. When you think of ‘urban ecology’ you think of scientific ecological research carried out in cities or towns. However what sets urban ecology apart from ‘traditional’ ecology is that humans come along and mess it all up (or make it more interesting depending on your viewpoint!).    Read More

Located on Scotland’s west coast amongst the wilderness of ancient western acidic oak woodlands, clear-water nutrient-poor lochs and commercial conifer plantations, Taynish and Knapdale Woods is a designated Special Area of Conservation for more than just the reasons listed. Until a few years ago this area was relatively under-studied, with research concentrated on the presence of nationally scarce species such as the hairy dragonfly (Brachytron pratense), Marsh fritillary butterfly (Euphydryas aurinia) and numerous Atlantic bryophytes. Yet now, almost every square meter of land and water is accounted for. Read More

When we go to a supermarket we want to make sure we get the best value for our money, so why not do the same when it comes to conservation actions for wildlife? Read More

Studying urban ecology isn’t always the most glamorous of tasks; whilst others are jetting off to sunny climes in the search of exotic species (and a suntan) or enjoying the solitude of the Scottish Highlands, I’m often left picking my way through abandoned shopping trolleys and discarded Irn-Bru bottles. Yet delve a little deeper, past the smog and grime, and you find that urban wildlife can be just as exciting and rewarding as elsewhere. Read More