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Environment

  • The marine aliens phenomenon

    The marine aliens phenomenon

    Many eyebrows were raised when EU Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella recently raised the issue of invasive alien species during one of his speeches. The term ‘alien species’ is no longer challenging for...

  • Earth’s vital resource – soil

    Earth’s vital resource – soil

    Some refer to it as earth, local farmers occasionally call it dust, and others even dare calling it dirt; however, to most of us, it is just soil. Soil is that loose material on the surface of the Earth produced through centuries or even millennia...

  • The lentisk

    The lentisk

    The lentisk is an evergreen shrub or small tree indigenous to the Mediterranean including the Maltese islands. It grows in dry rocky areas even in saline environments close to the sea but it sometimes grows on the sides of valleys and canyons. The...

  • Antarctic ‘at risk by 2100’

    Antarctic ‘at risk by 2100’

    Antarctic ice is melting so fast that the stability of the whole continent could be at risk by 2100, scientists have warned. Widespread collapse of Antarctic ice shelves – floating extensions of land ice projecting into the sea – could pave the...

  • Global climate pledges are not enough but good start – European Commission

    Global climate pledges are not enough but good start – European Commission

    National pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions, even if fully implemented, would cap global warming at 3˚C rather than the 2˚C targeted to avoid dangerous consequences, the European Commission said. European Climate and Energy Commissioner...

  • War and environment

    War and environment

    A silent casualty in times of war, the environment often suffers from neglect, exploitation, human desperation and deliberate abuse on a terrible scale. It was the images of hundreds of burning oil wells, torched by the retreating Iraqi army in...

  • People’s experiences of the Easter Sunday 2011 earthquake in Malta

    People’s experiences of the Easter Sunday 2011 earthquake in Malta

    An article entitled ‘The Easter Sunday 2011 earthquake swarm offshore Malta: Analysis on felt reports’ by the Seismic Monitoring and Research Group at the University of Malta’s Department of Geosciences has been published in a book entitled...

  • Quake Watch

    Quake Watch

    A deadly 8.3-magnitude earthquake struck off Chile’s coast on September 16. The quake was one of the biggest to strike the Earth’s surface this year. Despite the epicentre being about 50km inland, a tsunami advisory was issued for the Pacific Ocean.

  • Nature thrives in Chernobyl

    Nature thrives in Chernobyl

    Some 30 years after the world’s worst nuclear accident blasted radiation across Chernobyl, the site has evolved from a disaster zone into a nature reserve, teeming with elk, deer and wolves, scientists said. The remarkable turnaround in the area,...

  • Millions face hunger due to climate change

    Millions face hunger due to climate change

    At least 10 million poor people face hunger this year and next because of droughts and erratic rains linked to record global temperatures and an expected ‘super’ version of the evolving El Niño weather pattern, aid charity Oxfam has warned. In...

  • New Med alien discovered in local waters

    New Med alien discovered in local waters

    A punctuated or darkspotted flatworm (Maritigrella fuscopunctata) has been discovered in local waters during ongoing marine surveys by the Conservation Biology Research Group of the University’s Department of Biology. The species is a typically...

  • How ocean literate are you?

    How ocean literate are you?

    You may be excused for not knowing what the term ‘ocean literacy’ actually means, as the term only started being regularly used in Europe over the past decade. A global movement promoting ocean literacy has three over-arching goals: (i) to ensure...

  • Diesel vehicles, not only VW, ‘emitting high pollution levels’

    Diesel vehicles, not only VW, ‘emitting high pollution levels’

    High levels of pollution are being emitted by diesel vehicles built by a range of carmakers other than Volkswagen, it has been reported. New diesel cars from manufacturers including Renault, Nissan, Hyundai, Citroen, Fiat and Volvo, allegedly...

  • Many natural World Heritage sites threatened by oil, mining – report

    Many natural World Heritage sites threatened by oil, mining – report

    Almost a third of natural World Heritage sites are threatened by mining and oil exploration, according to a report that said companies and investors face reputational and legal risks by backing such activities. As many as 70 out of the 229 natural...

  • The giant reed

    The giant reed

    The giant reed is an impressive grass that grows in large clumps in damp soils. In the Maltese islands it is very common along valley bottoms. It is probably native to the Eastern Mediterranean, parts of Africa and the Southern Arabian Peninsula...

  • King crabs ‘could invade Antarctic’

    King crabs ‘could invade Antarctic’

    King crabs may be poised to conquer the Antarctic as a result of global warming, scientists have warned. The creatures could soon be disturbing delicately balanced Antarctic marine ecosystems, where they have not played a role in tens of millions...

  • Melanin discovery helps scientists determine colour of extinct bats

    Melanin discovery helps scientists determine colour of extinct bats

    The original colour of a fossil mammal which soared above the earth 50 million years ago has been discovered by scientists for the first time. Researchers combined morphological, experimental and chemical techniques to determine the colour of two...

  • Emissions control for shipping

    Emissions control for shipping

    Dust is an all too familiar topic at the end of a hot dry summer. Dust particles, or soot if it comes from combustion, is more than just a nuisance. This particulate matter (PM as scientists call it) can cause the air to appear hazy when present...

  • Tonight’s lunar eclipse

    Tonight’s lunar eclipse

    Tonight, or rather, in the early hours of tomorrow, the full moon will move right into the Earth’s shadow for sky watchers in Malta and the rest of the world (except far eastern regions like Australia and Japan). A brilliant full moon will rise in...

  • University of Malta aims for the stars

    University of Malta aims for the stars

    The University of Malta is working to be­come a significant element in key inter­national scientific research in the construction of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The SKA, considered one of the world’s most exciting international science...

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