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Environment

  • Ocean algae can cope with climate change

    Ocean algae can cope with climate change

    Tiny marine algae can evolve fast enough to cope with climate change in a sign that some ocean life may be more resilient than thought to rising temperatures and acidification, a study showed. Evolution is usually omitted in scientific projections...

  • Second consecutive summer sighting of compass jellyfish

    Second consecutive summer sighting of compass jellyfish

    Reported for the first time in Maltese waters at Ramla l-Ħamra last year, the compass jellyfish (Chrysaora hysoscella) has now been spotted at Żurrieq by Adrian Fabri. He submitted a report on the sighting to the Spot the Jellyfish database...

  • Screening of underwater documentaries about MPAs at Mġarr ix-Xini and Rdum Majjiesa

    The International Ocean Institute-Malta Operational Centre (IOI-MOC) at the University of Malta held a free public screening of two underwater documentaries produced as part of the Panacea project that focused on the Mġarr ix-Xini and Rdum...

  • When our wells run dry

    When our wells run dry

    Just before the end-of-summer rains were due to fall and relieve the thirsty land, a water bowser carrying non-potable ground water came rumbling down the road. The bowser made a stop to fill the empty wells of two houses in the street. A third...

  • Honey bees

    Honey bees

    The honey bee is a social insect which evolved in Africa from where it spread to all adjoining land masses. Wild honey bees build colonies in cavities in cliff faces, hollow tree trunks and other suitable places. Colonies often consist of tens of...

  • Bees ‘prefer city to countryside’

    Bumblebees seem to prefer the buzz of the city to the countryside, a large-scale ‘citizen’s science’ study in the UK found.They also like to have a cool breeze on their backs when foraging, and choose English lavender over the more ‘flowery’French...

  • CO2 levels soar to record highs

    CO2 levels soar to record highs

    Surging carbon dioxide levels have pushed greenhouse gases to record highs in the atmosphere, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has said. Concentrations of carbon dioxide, the major cause of global warming, increased at their fastest...

  • Angelina to Victor Borg’s rescue

    The promontory at Ta’ Ċenċ is truly an idyllic place… one of those rarified coastal locations on our islands where one ‘can get away from it all’, without the obtrusive sight of concrete. The unquantifiable value of the coastal asset at Ta’ Ċenċ...

  • Urgent need to defuse the microplastics time bomb

    Urgent need to defuse the microplastics time bomb

    The threat posed by microplastics to the health of the marine environment and to public health is still low on the radar, having so far failed to captivate the public’s attention. Marine scientists have long been talking about the sheer magnitude...

  • Gudja illegality

    Gudja illegality

    The owner of this plot of land in Gudja had a permit just to repair its rubble walls and install a pump room, but he then proceeded to deposit and spread large quantities of soil and place prefabricated stables on site too. Enforcement action by...

  • Slick whodunnit

    Slick whodunnit

    Bathers at St Paul’s Bay last Sunday found an oily residue slick floating on the water surface. A rigorous laboratory analysis should have been conducted on a sample of the slick to determine where it came from.

  • Quake Watch

    Quake Watch

    The most notable earthquake in August was the magnitude 5.8 event that occurred 145km south of Athens, Greece, on August 29 at 5.45am local time (green circle in map). The earthquake hypocentre was almost 100km below the earth’s surface, in the...

  • Mediterranean shore crab

    Mediterranean shore crab

    The Mediterranean shore crab is a very common, if not the most common crab in the Maltese islands. It is a native of the Mediterranean and Black seas and parts of the Atlantic. Since 1996, probably as a result of global warming, it has also been...

  • Polar bear DNA could help endangered species

    Polar bear DNA has been isolated for the first time from footprints left in the snow on an Arctic island, a breakthrough that could help scientists better protect rare and endangered wild animals, experts said. Scientists often spend days tracking...

  • Cockatoos ‘learn how to use tools’

    Cockatoos ‘learn how to use tools’

    Cockatoos learning carpentry skills sounds like a parrot sketch worthy of Monty Python. Yet this is not an example of surreal humour. Scientists have observed the brainy birds teaching each other how to make and use wooden tools to obtain food. It...

  • Less meat ‘key’ to food security

    Less meat ‘key’ to food security

    Eating less meat is “essential” to ensure future demand for food can be met and “dangerous” climate change avoided, experts have warned. A study by leading university researchers in Cambridge and Aberdeen found food production alone could exceed...

  • EU pushing the limits for vehicle emissions control

    EU pushing the limits for vehicle emissions control

    Saving several hundred euros a year on fuel for your car is an attractive proposal for anyone with added benefits of cleaner air. High fuel consumption is directly related to polluting emissions, and more fuel efficient cars mean lower bills for...

  • A sky full of stars

    A sky full of stars

    Late summer is a great time to see the Milky Way. The occasional spell of cooler weather creates better viewing conditions as it sweeps away the stagnant and moist air which characterises our Mediterranean summers. Look towards the south as from...

  • Leaf-cutter bees

    Leaf-cutter bees

    Leaf-cutter bees are solitary bees: they do not form colonies and do not produce honey. They are a large cosmopolitan group of insects which consists of about 1,500 species. In Maltese the common leaf-cutting bee is known as imqass...

  • Secret of herding sheep discovered

    Secret of herding sheep discovered

    Sheepdogs could find their job taken over by robots after scientists learned the secret of their herding ability. Rounding up sheep successfully is a deceptively simple process involving just two basic mathematical rules, a study found. One causes...

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