Three quarters of the world’s honey is laced with neonicotinoid insecticides, a new study from scientists in Switzerland has shown this week. The findings are based on an analysis of nearly 200 honey samples collected from around the world with the help of citizen scientists on every continent (except Antarctica!). Neonicotinoids are the most widely used pesticides in the world now and scientists suspect that, by getting into pollen and nectar, they’re also having off-target effects on pollinators, like bees. This the first comprehensive global study to look at how widespread these effects might be. Dundee University neurobiologist Chris Connolly has written a commentary on the paper and shared his thoughts with Chris Smith
Natural muscle plays an important role in our human ability to control our movements, so could we give this ability to robots? Katie Haylor spoke to Aslan Miriyev from Colombia University in New York, who’s developed a soft, synthetic muscle that can substantially expand and contract alongside being strong.
By 2050, it is estimated that we will need around a 50% increase in crop yield to feed our rapidly growing population. However, it turns out that algae – the slimy green layer often found on the surface of ponds in summer – may provide a solution to this problem. Stevie Bain chatted with Luke Mackinder from The University of York about how a better understanding of algae may allow us to engineer fast-growing crops
The complex branching patterns seen in the growth of tissues in the lungs, kidneys and pancreas have an elegantly simple mathematical solution…
From elaborate peacocks to seagulls by the shore, birds are found in a wide range of habitats on every corner of globe and a recent study suggests that the key to their world domination may all be in their heads. Stevie Bain chatted with Arkhat Abzhanov to find out more