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Showing posts from October, 2016

Working with the weather to manage parasites of livestock in changing climates

Parasites can be found in every environment on earth and infect a wide range of hosts – birds, fish, plants, insects, wild animals, domesticated animals and humans.When parasites are discussed they often trigger an “ewww” reaction.However, they have much more serious economic, food security and animal health and welfare impacts when they infect grazing livestock.Grazing livestock contribute greatly to food security and this is not going to change any time soon.Not only is the global population (and therefore food requirement) growing, there is an increasing demand for animal-based food products in developing regions and there is an essential role of animal products in marginal environments where crop production is infeasible.Parasite control is therefore vital, but is not easy to achieve.
Many parasites have complex lifecycles which depend upon specific climatic conditions.  For instance, temperature and moisture determine development rates and survival.  Farmers could once use this to…

The Bristol Volcanology Group: Managing Britain’s volcanic crises

When Professor Steve Sparks moved to Bristol from Cambridge in 1989 to take up the Chair of Geology in the School of Earth Sciences little did he know what was in store for him. His time at Bristol would see him advise the government and become one of the most cited scientists of all time.
Sparks’s extraordinary journey as head of the volcanology group has lead it to study volcanism on every continent and has allowed it to grow from one man to a thriving collective of staff, researchers and students. The world-class science produced by the group has resulted in it receiving the Queen’s Anniversary Prize; the highest accolade in higher education.
Naturally, this evolution has been heavily influenced by volcanoes.Unlike many sciences, the progress of volcanology can be episodic- driven by key eruptions and crises. For the Bristol group, two events have defined their work which has, in turn, altered the course of the science:
The eruption on the Island of Montserrat lasted from 1995 to 199…

Exploring legal approaches to climate justice: Reflections from the South Pacific

The South Pacific is one of the most vulnerable regions in the world to climate change impacts. The images conjured up of sinking small islands surrounded by miles of rising oceans however do little justice to the vibrant cultures, diverse landscapes and close-knit communities I recently encountered there. As part of my PhD project exploring the legal protection available to climate vulnerable states and communities I was fortunate enough, with the support of the South West Doctoral Training Centre, to be awarded a three month visiting researcher position at the University of the South Pacific in Port Vila, Vanuatu. I spent my time there gathering data, primarily through a series of interviews with key stakeholders from national government, local law firms and NGOs, as well as with a number of regional organisations during a short trip to Fiji.
While being hosted by USP undoubtedly opened doors with participants and made the fieldwork far simpler to organise remotely, I still encounte…

Bristol Geographers appear in The Times and condemn divisive Brexit rhetoric

The following text comprises a longer version of a Letter to the Editor that appears in print and online in The Times. The letter, signed by over 85 members from of the School of Geographical Sciences expresses our dismay and disillusionment with the recent divisive rhetoric from the government regarding foreign workers and an inclusive society.

Further, we are concerned that this rhetoric is already acting as a detriment to our university's values, and the research and teaching we do.

The letter starts here:

"As a nationally and internationally recognised research and teaching department, we echo Lord Rees’ recent comments to express our deep concern at the divisive and ‘deplorable’ rhetoric during discussions about Brexit and immigration at the recent Conservative party conference. This rhetoric does not reflect the values we aim to uphold in our university and discipline, nor the diversity of feelings in the country. We are dismayed, further, that our Prime Minister, a …