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Environment

  • Mediterranean vine-leaf beetle

    Mediterranean vine-leaf beetle

    New species of plants and animals are recorded regularly in the Maltese islands. Some arrive naturally while others are brought in either intentionally or accidentally. In most cases, new species do not manage to establish themselves permanently...

  • Stairway to heaven

    Stairway to heaven

    MP Etienne Grech recently hogged the limelight when he made the preposterous proposal that the Tourism Ministry should seriously consider conducting a study on how to improve public access to the beach at Fomm ir-Riħ. The backlash from the public,...

  • Green roof project update

    Green roof project update

    The Life Med Green Roof project is now approaching the halfway point in its four-year lifespan. The project has progressed well and results to date are encouraging. Feedback from the public has been positive. This means that the building industry...

  • The violet dropwing

    The violet dropwing

    The violet dropwing is a relatively new addition to the list of dragonflies found on the Maltese islands. It was first observed in Gozo in 2005 and was confirmed breeding on our shores in 2007. This group of amazing insects was pretty much ignored...

  • Natural disasters forced 20m to leave their homes in 2014

    Natural disasters forced 20m to leave their homes in 2014

    Nearly 20 million people were forced to flee their homes due to floods, storms and earthquakes last year, a problem likely to worsen due to climate change, but which could be eased by better construction, a report said. Asia is particularly prone...

  • Earth’s temperature soars to new heat records

    Earth’s temperature soars to new heat records

    Earth dialled up the heat last month, smashing temperature records for June and the first half of the year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calculated that the world’s average temperature in June hit 16.38˚C, breaking the old...

  • Tracking collar developed to scare off rhino poachers

    Tracking collar developed to scare off rhino poachers

    Rhinos wearing satellite tracking collars with spy cameras implanted into their horns could help turn the tables on poachers, experts believe. The British-designed system incorporates a video camera, GPS, and a 24-hour heart-rate monitor that...

  • Glyphosate use in Malta

    Glyphosate use in Malta

    To watch nature briefly bursting forth in every colour before the land turns golden under a summer sun is surely our birthright. But just as trees have been demonised in this country, wild flowers too are seen as the enemy. They are regarded as...

  • Boat trips to see Malta’s most secretive birds

    Boat trips to see Malta’s most secretive birds

    Birdlife Malta is organising sunset boat trips during summer to enable people to watch the natural spectacle of hundreds of Scopoli’s shearwaters (ċiefa) returning to their nests at Ta’ Ċenc cliffs, Gozo. Adult shearwaters spend all day at sea,...

  • University of Malta at scientific conference on climate change

    University of Malta at scientific conference on climate change

    Stefano Moncada, assistant lecturer at the University of Malta’s Institute for European Studies, presented the findings of his Ph.D research at a Paris climate change scientific conference on the theme ‘Our Common Future Under Climate Change’. The...

  • Rising oceans impact ‘enormous’

    Rising oceans impact ‘enormous’

    Without further emission cuts, global temperatures could reach 5˚C above pre-industrial levels by 2100 with devastating effects on oceans and species A global warming increase of less than 2˚C could be enough to raise sea levels by six metres,...

  • Global warming may threaten bumblebees

    Global warming may threaten bumblebees

    Global warming could silence the summer buzz of the bumblebee forever unless urgent action is taken to save the insects, scientists have warned. Evidence shows that warmer temperatures are having a devastating effect on the heavyweight bees that...

  • Turning Ramla into a giant disco

    Turning Ramla into a giant disco

    Maltese beaches on a Sunday afternoon are not renowned for their languor. Rather, they are associated with overcrowded conditions, cacophony and encroachments of all sorts. As has been documented in this column over the years, each year more nails...

  • Project to conserve Malta’s endemic killifish

    Project to conserve Malta’s endemic killifish

    A project has been launched to conserve the Maltese killifish (Aphanius fasciatus – bużaqq), a small fish endemic to the Mediterranean. It is found mainly along the central to the eastern coastlines of the Medi­terranean Sea and around is­lands...

  • Elusive oriental cockroach on the increase

    Elusive oriental cockroach on the increase

    We used to think the oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis) was rare. In fact, to naturalists it was of interest to encounter this species rarely. It was recorded in 1955 by Guido Lanfranco, and since then a handful of records are available. We...

  • Beautiful Cleopatra

    Beautiful Cleopatra

    That this butterfly is named after a woman known for her great beauty comes as no surprise. Only a person with no appreciation for what is beautiful can fail to find pleasure in watching this butterfly flying from one bush to the other as it...

  • Bust-ups ‘cause ageing in badgers’

    Bust-ups ‘cause ageing in badgers’

    Belligerent young male badgers make themselves age faster by constantly fighting, research suggests. The discovery may shed light on why males of many species, including humans, age faster than females. Stressful competition between males early in...

  • Philae may be sitting on comet life

    Comet lander Philae may be sitting on an object teeming with alien microbial life, according to two leading astronomers. Distinct features of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, such as its organic-rich black crust, are best explained by the...

  • Monster black holes discovered

    Monster black holes discovered

    Five monster black holes that were previously hidden by dust and gas have been uncovered by astronomers. The British-led discovery suggests there may be millions more “supermassive” black holes in the universe than were previously...

  • European heatwaves boosted by climate change – scientists

    European heatwaves boosted by climate change – scientists

    As Germany and Spain sweated and London sweltered through its hottest July day on record last week, scientists said it is “virtually certain” that climate change is increasing the likelihood of such heatwaves in Europe. In real-time data analysis,...

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