In the news 2023

Moving with the times…

Getting our priorities right,



Maybe worth a look….

Yes definitely worth a look.

‘Holy grail’ wheat gene discovery could feed our overheated world | Climate crisis | The Guardian

But this seems to be old news

Gene-editing discovery yields high promise for wheat fertility in a changing climate (

A separation-of-function ZIP4 wheat mutant allows crossover between related chromosomes and is meiotically stable | Scientific Reports (

Few use microscopy
All show good exploitation of lighting
All have innovative camera positioning
Each represent 100 discarded frames!
Lessons for us all

Largest global bird flu outbreak ‘in history’ shows no sign of slowing.

A world wide view with some B Isles reports.

From this report “ In Scotland, the coast provides a haven for migratory and sea birds and a crucial habitat for many endangered species. Great skuas currently have a total population of just 16,000, more than half of which inhabit the northwest coast. When numbers of the seabird started to die off in the summer of 2021 it was the first indicator that the H5N1 virus had arrived.

At the time, authorities thought the summer outbreak was an anomaly. Then in autumn Svalbard Barnacle Geese, which migrate south from their arctic breeding ground, also started dying. “Numbers were going up by 10s, then hundreds, then more that 16,000 were confirmed dead,” says Claire Smith, policy officer for UK bird protection charity the RSPB. By spring, the organisation estimated a third of the total population had died.

Deaths among great skuas, gannets, gulls, geese and even eagles continued through summer, by then impacting both migratory and domestic species. By July, the Scottish government had closed off access to some seabird islands. “There were just dead birds everywhere,” Smith says.

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A bit of a mystery this one……

“…suggested pyridine, a common industrial chemical, was a more probable cause.” Shellfish deaths: Government to examine toxic chemical study - BBC News last year and previously

There has not been sufficient research into the industrial history of the area for me to be able to comment too much about what might have got into the Tees.
There appears to be many potential sites under construction and old sites of all ages being rebuilt as can be seen from google.

It looks like they have only tested for one chemical.

Close to where I live they cleaned up the old Coalite site at Bolsover that used to make weed killer from coal tar including Agent Orange in the 1960s for the US air force.
It stank for about two years while they were washing all the soil.

There must be a huge temptation for a “cowboy builder” to let the tidal water onto an old site in order to wash the soil under the cover of winter storms prior to a new build.

I don’t think I have linked a News Item before

See mine here

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I don’t want to be ‘political’ but have any laboratories in certain countries been testing H5N1, I wonder?

There was only small snippet of article, was there any more? Phosphates are something the OU’s floodplains group has been looking at for years although not in the water itself so much. From memory by far the highest levels we recorded were in the Ouse washes (i.e. the ‘unfertilized’ area between the two rivers), levels so high that the land could not be used for species rich grassland but better used for fertilizer of other areas.

Did you see the “continue reading” button?

An old one from 2020 but suspect most people have missed it:
I was trying, unsuccessfully, to get some idea of how many species have changed their names over the years and came across the above. Not sure if I am reading it correctly but it seems that one taxon has gone to 261 new taxa. In this particular case it has quite big implications for the food industry as they will need to correctly label their food with which of the taxa their product contains.

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In other news leonardo DiCaprio seems to be flavour of the month in naming as several things have been named after him recently including Uvariopsis dicaprio - Wikipedia and seems to have named a snake after his mother Leonardo DiCaprio names newly-discovered snake species after his favourite woman | The Independent

I had missed the article on River Wye, which has eutrophication at its heart, my post on Ulva is related to the same topic, but for coastal waters. There is also a link in the post to an Anglo-French study on its study and mitigation.

A big issue for our lochs as you know, and water quality can be so hard to tackle, especially when there is so little resource for monitoring any inappropriate disposal - and there is the threat of removing some of the regs anyway?? The frequency with which permissions have been granted/allowed/ - whatever is the term - for ‘exceptional’ release of various effluents at UK scale is of concern, especially in the context of increasingly dramatic rainfall events such as we have seen over the last 10-15 years.

The whole issue of water quality is so critical, both marine and riverine. It is the invisible and insidious nature of the problem that makes it so difficult and dangerous. So many of the species involved are a long way down the cute and cuddly list so do not grab peoples attention, even if they end up drinking the water!