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Environment

  • Quake Watch

    Quake Watch

    Seven earthquakes took place off the coast of Birżebbuġa between July 29 and 30 (inset map, overlapping red stars). The largest quake had a magnitude of 3.3 on the Richter Scale, and was felt in a number of villages in the south. Over 80 reports...

  • Applied geophysics experience in Santa Fe

    Applied geophysics experience in Santa Fe

    Daniela Farrugia, a PhD student at the University’s Department of Geosciences, attended the Summer of Applied Geophysical Experience (Sage), a four-week course hosted by the National Security Education Centre and the Earth and Environmental...

  • Paper wasps

    Paper wasps

    Summer in Malta is a difficult time for nature. The high temperatures and lack of rainfall dry up all surface water and, except for a small number of springs, there are no natural aquatic habitats. The only open water is found in man-made...

  • Fish ‘swimming faster, evading capture in nets’

    Fish may be evolving to swim faster and evade capture in trawler nets, according to research. Scientists at the University of Glasgow found that fitter fish are better at evading nets and believe that, over time, it could lead to physiological...

  • Fight to save the Indonesian jungle may be key for endangered apes

    Fight to save the Indonesian jungle may be key for endangered apes

    The bushes shook violently and the female orangutan froze. Her baby clutched her tightly before the two quickly disappeared into the Borneo undergrowth. As the bushes parted, a broad-shouldered male orangutan strutted to the feeding...

  • Can we save forests and produce palm oil? Scientists seek answers

    Can we save forests and produce palm oil? Scientists seek answers

    Despite promises by many big companies that produce, trade and use palm oil to clean up their supply chains, complaints are still pouring in over the conversion of forests into plantations from West Africa to Southeast Asia, experts say. A...

  • Drought-hit forests store ‘less carbon dioxide than thought’

    Drought-hit forests store ‘less carbon dioxide than thought’

    The world’s forests are taking longer than expected to recover from increasingly frequent droughts, meaning their ability to store climate-changing carbon dioxide is smaller than previously thought, Utah University researchers said. If forests are...

  • Earth systems graduate showcase

    Earth systems graduate showcase

    An event organised by the University of Malta’s Institute of Earth Systems last month provided a pano­ramic snapshot of aspects of the environment through some of its undergraduate research work. The earth systems approach goes beyond traditional...

  • Earth’s orbit around the sun is not so circular

    Earth’s orbit around the sun is not so circular

    Make hay while the sun shines, they say. But contrary to what may seem logical, the summer heat is on not when the earth is closest to the sun, but rather, when it is furthest away! In fact, the phenomenon of the seasons has very little to do with...

  • Maltese sixth formers at Swiss wildlife research week

    Two sixth formers from De La Salle College, Vittoriosa, participated in an International Wildlife Research Week organised by Swiss Youth in Science (SYiS) foundation. Martina-Marie Pizzuto and Francesco Pavia took part in the event in Switzerland...

  • 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...

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