Latest news

Women scientists take to their soapboxes in Exeter city centre

Soapbox Science, an event that brings science to the public and showcases female scientists, returns to Exeter Saturday 29 September.

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Famous theory of the living Earth upgraded to ‘Gaia 2.0’

A time-honoured theory into why conditions on Earth have remained stable enough for life to evolve over billions of years has been given a new, innovative twist.

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One foot in the grave for pheasants that favour a side

Pheasants that more strongly favoured one foot over the other die younger than those that don’t, new research suggests.

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Join Exeter ecologist in webinar on the importance of ecological interactions in restoration work

A University of Exeter academic will inform ecologists about the importance of ecological interactions to restoration in a webinar tomorrow.

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Worms in space: The Molecular Muscle Experiment

Thousands of worms are being flown to the International Space Station later this year for scientists to understand more about spaceflight-induced muscle loss -  the first UK experiment to take place on the International Space Station.

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Study reveals night-time habits of captive flamingos

What do captive flamingos do at night, when their zoo or wildlife park is closed?

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Peatlands will store more carbon as planet warms

Global warming will cause peatlands to absorb more carbon – but the effect will weaken as warming increases, new research suggests.

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Bird bacteria study reveals evolutionary arms race

A study of a songbird and a bacterium that infects it has revealed how species in conflict evolve in response to each other.

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Burly bird gets the worm

The pecking order of garden birds is determined by their size and weight, new research shows.

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Why do baboons floss?

A student from the University of Exeter is studying some surprising behaviour in baboons at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park.

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Exeter academics recognised for teaching excellence

Two leading academics at the University of Exeter have been awarded National Teaching Fellowships - one of the most prestigious awards for higher education teaching.

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Drought increases CO2 concentration in the air

The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere rises faster during drier years because struggling ecosystems absorb less carbon, new research shows.

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‘Simple solutions’ to help rebuild coral reef ecosystems

The future of coral reefs was discussed at a workshop in Indonesia.

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Male and female tennis players decline at same rate

The physical abilities of male and female tennis stars decline at the same rate as they age, new research shows.

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Wild dolphins learn tricks from each other

Dolphins learn tricks from each other in the wild, new research shows.

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Scientists unravel history of lost harbour of Pisa

New insights into the evolution and eventual disappearance of Portus Pisanus, the lost harbour of Pisa, have been revealed.

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The bright ways forests affect their environment

Why do forests emit the gases that give pine forests their distinctive smell? Scientists think they've found out.

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South East Asia and Australia face fall armyworm threat

Countries including China, Indonesia and Australia all face a “high threat” of invasion by the fall armyworm, new research shows.

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Study confirms truth behind ‘Darwin’s moth’

Scientists have revisited – and confirmed – one of the most famous textbook examples of evolution in action.

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Discovering why basking sharks go to Scotland

Scientists seeking to discover whether Scotland’s seas are a mating ground for basking sharks have filmed new footage showing the sharks being sociable.

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Plastic found in stomach of dead turtle on Cornish beach

Plastic has been discovered in the stomach of a leatherback turtle found dead on a Cornish beach on Sunday.

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Weird science served up in Falmouth

A jellyfish that looks like a fried egg and a crab that can live on land for 40 years are among the subjects for this year’s Science in the Square.

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Top climate scientist on summer festival line-ups

Climate science is on the bill alongside acts like the Manic Street Preachers at this year's Beautiful Days festival.

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Forests crucial for limiting climate change to 1.5 degrees

Trying to tackle climate change by replacing forests with crops for bioenergy power stations could increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

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Fall armyworm will continue to spread

A devastating crop pest called the fall armyworm – discovered this week in India – will continue to spread, a researcher says.

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Research into cell-to-cell signalling mechanism may lead to new cancer treatments

Pioneering new research into the way in which cells communicate with each other could hold the key

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Student satisfaction at Exeter amongst best in Russell Group in NSS 2018

Students rate teaching quality and learning experience at Exeter amongst the highest in the Russell Group universities, according to the latest results from the NSS 2018.

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Night-time lighting changes how species interact

Night-time lighting from streetlights and other sources has complex and unexpected effects on communities of plants and animals, new research shows.

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Beavers arrive in the Forest of Dean

A pair of Eurasian Beavers will return to the Forest of Dean today (24 July) for the first time for about 400 years.

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Acidic oceans cause fish to lose their sense of smell

Fish are losing their sense of smell because of increasingly acidic oceans caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, new research shows.

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Exeter subjects ranked in the world top 100

A wide range of subjects at the University of Exeter have been ranked amongst the world’s best, according to an influential international league table.

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Microclimates may provide wildlife with respite from climate change

Sheltered pockets of cooler and more variable conditions in the British countryside may help native species

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Viruses cooperate to overcome immune defences of bacteria

Virus particles that infect bacteria can work together to overcome antiviral defences, new research shows.

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Cranes here to stay, new model predicts

The UK’s tallest bird – the common crane – is here to stay and the UK could have as many as 275 breeding pairs within 50 years, a new study says.

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LED lights reduce seabird death toll from fishing by 85 per cent, research shows

Illuminating fishing nets with low-cost lights could reduce the terrible impact they have on seabirds and marine-dwellers by more than 85 per cent, new research has shown.

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Stop antibiotics before resistance ‘tipping point’

Treatments using antibiotics should stop as soon as possible to prevent patients becoming resistant, new research shows.

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Asian hornet nests found by radio-tracking

Electronic radio tags could be used to track invasive Asian hornets and stop them colonising the UK

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New Exeter institute to tackle ‘global challenges’

How can our planet and its people flourish as the human population reaches an estimated 9-11 billion?

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World’s first animals caused global warming

The evolution of Earth’s first animals more than 500 million years ago caused global warming, new research shows.

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Scientists propose solution to ‘Gaia puzzle’

Scientists may have solved a puzzle over why conditions on Earth have remained stable enough for life to evolve.

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Climate predictions should include impacts of CO2 on life

Climate change predictions are not taking account of the full range of possible effects of rising carbon dioxide

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‘The eyes have it’- photoreceptors in marine plankton form a depth gauge to aid survival

The eyes of some marine-dwelling creatures have evolved to act like a “depth gauge”, allowing these creatures to swim in the open ocean at a certain depth .

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More woodland management needed to help save dormice

Managing woodlands to a greater extent could help stop the decline of Britain’s dormice, new research suggests.

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Increase in storms could have ‘catastrophic impact’ on fishing industry

Potential changes in the frequency and intensity of storms off the coast of the UK and around the world could have a “catastrophic impact” on the livelihood of fishermen and sustainability of fishing industries, research led by the University of Exeter has shown.

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All-female crew set for Pacific plastic pollution voyage

An all-female crew is set to embark on a mission across the Pacific to learn more about plastic pollution.

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Major new project to understand public attitudes and community responses to shale gas in the UK

A new research project led by academics at Exeter, Stirling and Cardiff universities will shed light on how public responses to shale gas unfold over time at national, regional and local levels.

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Coral reefs losing ability to keep pace with sea-level rise

Many coral reefs will be unable to keep growing fast enough to keep up with rising sea levels, new research suggests.

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Micro-plastics in the Antarctic

Antarctica’s most remote and pristine habitats are contaminated with micro-plastic waste

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Turtle tagged in Brazil reaches UK territory

A turtle tagged by University of Exeter scientists in Brazil has swum thousands of miles.

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Cystic fibrosis event at University of Exeter

People interested in cystic fibrosis and physical activity are invited to a free workshop at the University of Exeter.

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Ukrainian villages still suffering legacy of Chernobyl more than 30 years on

Milk in parts of Ukraine has radioactivity levels up to five times over the country’s official safe limit

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Camouflaged plants use the same tricks as animals

Plants use many of the same methods as animals to camouflage themselves, a new study shows.

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Professor wins environment award

Professor Richard Brazier has won the Pride of Devon Environment award for his work

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Public invited to quiz sea turtle experts

Top scientists will answer your questions about sea turtles in a live online Q&A on Friday (June 8).

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Thousands of turtles netted off South America

Tens of thousands of sea turtles are caught each year by small-scale fishers off South America’s Pacific coast, new research shows.

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Mixed signals from poisonous moths

Poisonous moths use bright red spots to warn predators to avoid them

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Guppies change their eye colour to deter rivals

Tiny fish called Trinidadian guppies turn their eyes black to warn other fish when they are feeling aggressive, new research shows.

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Cautious prawns win battle for food

Prawns have personalities – and cautious crustaceans do better in the battle for food, new research shows.

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Invisible barrier on ocean surface can reduce carbon uptake

An invisible layer of biological compounds on the sea surface reduces the rate at which carbon dioxide gas moves between the atmosphere and the oceans, scientists have reported. 

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Goal conflict linked to psychological distress

Being torn about which personal goals to pursue is associated with symptoms of psychological distress, new research shows.

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Mongooses inherit behaviour from role models rather than parents

Young mongooses learn lifelong habits from role models rather than inheriting them from genetic parents, new research shows.

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Public can help create night map of Earth

Researchers are asking the public to help them create the first high-resolution photographic map of Earth at night.

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‘Virtual safe space’ to help bumblebees

The many threats facing bumblebees can be tested using a “virtual safe space” created by scientists at the University of Exeter.

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Resistance to antifungal drugs could lead to disease and global food shortages

Growing levels of resistance to antifungal treatments could lead to increased disease outbreaks and affect food security around the world.

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Exhibition highlights tales and imagery of life with dementia

A public exhibition will feature poems, cartoons and images created by well-known artists working with people with dementia.

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Climate-threatened animals unable to relocate

Many of the European mammals whose habitat is being destroyed by climate change are not able to find new places to live elsewhere.

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Wildfires may cause long-term health problems for endangered orangutans

Orangutans, already critically endangered due to habitat loss from logging and large-scale farming, may face another threat 

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Volunteers needed for caffeine and mood study

The links between caffeine, physical activity and mood will be examined by a new University of Exeter study.

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Angry birds: Size of jackdaw mobs depends on who calls warning

Jackdaws recognise each other’s voices and respond in greater numbers to warnings from familiar birds than strangers, new research shows.

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Beavers do dam good work cleaning water, research reveals

Beavers could help clean up polluted rivers and stem the loss of valuable soils from farms, new research shows.

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Research reveals key factors to support quality of life in dementia

A robust research analysis has identified what factors can be targeted to support people to live as well as possible with dementia.

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Critical role parrotfish play in coral reef island building shown in stunning new documentary

The pivotal role that parrotfish play in building and maintaining coral reef islands, unearthed by experts at the University of Exeter

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Temperature swings to hit poor countries hardest

Temperature fluctuations that are amplified by climate change will hit the world’s poorest countries hardest, new research suggests.

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Discovery of immune cells able to defend against mutating viruses could transform vaccine development

Scientists have found immune cells can fight different strains of the same virus – a discovery which could help transform vaccine development.

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Deteriorating Great Barrier Reef hushed: young fish no longer hear their way home

Degraded coral reefs are far quieter than five years ago, and no longer sound like a suitable habitat to young fish searching for a place to live and breed, according to research published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.

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“Blue light” of LED streetlights linked to breast and prostate cancer

The “blue light” emitted by street lights including LEDs, and commercial outdoor lighting such as advertising, is linked to a significant increase in the risk of breast and prostate cancer, innovative new research has concluded.

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Guardian award for policy-changing research on microplastic pollution

Research that revealed the devastating impact that microplastic pollution could have on the health of humans and wildlife has won a Guardian University Award.

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Multiple sclerosis may be linked to sheep disease toxin

Exposure to a toxin primarily found in sheep could be linked to the development of multiple sclerosis (MS) in humans, new research suggests.

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Hungry birds as climate change drives food ‘mismatch’

Warmer springs create a “mismatch” where hungry chicks hatch too late to feast on abundant caterpillars, new research shows.

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Exeter professor honoured by Chinese university

A leading Exeter academic has been appointed as Honorary Professor at Tianjin University in China.

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Crowded urban areas have fewer songbirds per person

People in crowded urban areas – especially poor areas – see fewer songbirds such as tits and finches, and more potential “nuisance” birds, such as pigeons, magpies and gulls, new research shows.

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Viruses can evolve in parallel in related species

Viruses are more likely to evolve in similar ways in related species – raising the risk that they will “jump” from one species to another, new research shows.

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Droughts mean fewer flowers for bees

Bees could be at risk from climate change because more frequent droughts could cause plants to produce fewer flowers, new research shows.

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Fish have ears, so man-made noise threatens their survival

An ‘acoustic fog’ from motorboat noise, underwater construction and other man-made marine sounds can threaten the survival of fish.

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Geoengineering risks losers as well as winners for climate and wildfire risks

Artificially altering the climate system to limit global warming to 1.5C could increase the risks of wildfires in some areas, new research suggests.

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Coral bleaching threatens the diversity of reef fish

New research shows that coral bleaching not only whitewashes corals, but can also reduce the variety of fish occupying these highly-valued ecosystems.

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Experts team up to study bluefin tuna and confirm return to UK waters

Atlantic bluefin tuna are known for being amongst the biggest, fastest and most valuable fish in the sea.

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Exeter experts sing praises of glorious mud

Mud provides precious habitats, a buffer against rising sea levels and a host of other benefits, according to two University of Exeter researchers.

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Climate change could raise food insecurity risk

Weather extremes caused by climate change could raise the risk of food shortages in many countries, new research suggests.

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World Bipolar Day: University working on new treatments

Exeter experts are working on new treatments for Bipolar Disorders this World Bipolar Day (30 March).

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Dolphins tear up nets as fish numbers fall

Fishing nets suffer six times more damage when dolphins are around – and overfishing is forcing dolphins and fishermen ever closer together, new research shows.

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Breakthrough in battle against rice blast

Scientists have found a way to stop the spread of rice blast, a fungus that destroys up to 30% of the world’s rice crop each year.

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Breakthrough could aid development of bee-friendly pesticides

Efforts to create pesticides that are not toxic to bees have been boosted by a scientific breakthrough.

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All-female crew to sail Pacific on plastics research mission

An all-female crew including sailors, scientists and film-makers will cross the north Pacific later this year to study plastic pollution.

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Experience trumps youth among jumping fish

Tiny jumping fish can leap further as they get older, new research shows.

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Fussy eating prevents mongoose family feuds

Mongooses living in large groups develop “specialist” diets so they don’t have to fight over food, new research shows.

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Animals shield their families from a harsh world

Animals living in volatile habitats can gain major evolutionary benefits by shielding their families from the changing environment, new research suggests.

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Payments to protect carbon stored in forests must increase to defend against rubber plantations

Efforts to protect tropical forests in Southeast Asia for the carbon they store may fail because protection payments are too low, according to new research.

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Oxygen loss could be a huge issue for oceans

A major study into an ancient climate change event that affected a significant percentage of Earth’s oceans has brought into sharp focus a lesser-known villain in global warming: oxygen depletion. 

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Exeter researcher awarded honorary doctorate

A University of Exeter researcher will receive an honorary doctorate from a leading Dutch university.

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Stunning footage shows how drones can boost turtle conservation

Drones are changing the face of turtle research and conservation, a new study shows.

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New ranking puts Exeter subjects amongst the very best worldwide

Both science and humanities subjects at the University of Exeter have been recognised as being amongst the very best in the world, in the latest influential global league table.

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Check offenders for history of head injuries, experts say

Offenders should be routinely checked for signs of past head injuries, researchers say.

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First evidence that marine top predators are exposed to microplastics via their prey

Microplastics can transfer up the food chain from fish to top predators, such as seals, new research shows.

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Grey squirrels beat reds in ‘battle of wits’

Problem-solving powers may help to explain why grey squirrels have taken over from native red squirrels in the UK, new research says.

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Conflict between males and females could replace evolution of new species

New research shows that males and females of the same species can evolve to be so different that they prevent other species from evolving or colonising habitats.

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Research offers new insight into workings of building blocks of life

Pioneering new research could offer a fascinating new insight into how genomic information is read.

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BBC Radio 4’s All in the Mind launches loneliness survey

A new survey about people’s experiences of loneliness launches today on BBC Radio 4’s All in the Mind.

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Forest fires increasingly dominate Amazonian carbon emissions during droughts

Carbon emissions from the Brazilian Amazon are increasingly dominated by forest fires during extreme droughts rather than by emissions from fires directly associated with the deforestation process, according to a study in Nature Communications.

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Bipolar mood swings trial recruiting participants

People who have bipolar or cyclothymic disorder and live in Devon are being recruited for a scientific study.

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Dominant male pheasants learn faster

Dominant male pheasants learn faster than their downtrodden rivals, new research shows.

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Students set to ‘Sail Against Plastic’

A team of students and staff from the University of Exeter are set to embark on a 12-day voyage to measure pollution in the Arctic.

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The mysteries of the deep: behind the scenes of BBC Blue Planet II

One of the most startling sequences from Blue Planet II was the result of a ‘fisherman’s tale’, according to a scientific adviser to the series, speaking at the University of Exeter. 

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Forgotten crop pathogen may be about to return

Scientists, breeders, farmers and conservation groups must continue to work in close collaboration to prepare for the potential re-emergence of a forgotten crop pathogen, a new study says.

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Large-group living boosts magpie intelligence

Growing up in a large social group makes Australian magpies more intelligent, new research shows.

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Exeter University Geography host a Mapathon to celebrate GIS day

Exeter Geography teams up with British Red Cross to host a Mapathon at University of Exeter, helping to put vulnerable regions on the map.

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Ex-forces personnel needed for study

The University of Exeter is inviting Armed Forces veterans who were deployed to a combat zone during their career to take part in a research study. 

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Scientist’s tea strainer review goes viral

A scientist who used tea strainers for his research sparked a social media storm after posting a review on Amazon.

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Cystic fibrosis fitness fanatic to visit Exeter

Josh Llewellyn-Jones, who has cystic fibrosis and is determined to promote exercise to other people with the condition, will visit the University of Exeter on Tuesday 6 February.

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Teens need vigorous physical activity and fitness to cut heart risk

Guidelines for teenagers should stress the importance of vigorous physical activity and fitness to cut the risk of heart disease, new research suggests.

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UK chalk-stream salmon genetically unique

Salmon from the chalk streams of southern England are genetically unique, researchers have discovered.

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Coral Reefs are in trouble - how can people adapt?

An international team of scientists has developed a strategy to boost people’s ability to adapt to climate change, revealed in a new study published in Nature Climate Change.

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Over-60s needed for memory study

People aged over 60 who suffer minor memory problems are needed for a new study at the University of Exeter.

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Gut instinct makes animals appear clever

Animals, including humans, can make surprisingly good decisions just based on the food in their stomach, new research suggests.  

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People with prosthetic arms less affected by common illusion

People with prosthetic arms or hands do not experience the “size-weight illusion” as strongly as other people, new research shows

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Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems

Mining on the ocean floor could do irreversible damage to deep-sea ecosystems, says a new study of seabed mining proposals around the world.

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Free climate change courses starting soon

A series of free climate change courses run by the University of Exeter will begin next week.

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No-fishing zones help endangered penguins

Small no-fishing zones around colonies of African penguins can help this struggling species, new research shows.

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Stories to help children cope

An educational psychologist has created stories to help children deal with issues such as anxiety and depression.

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Could Galapagos become plastic pollution free?

There is a growing movement in Galapagos to drastically reduce marine plastic pollution with the aim, one day, of having a plastic-free Galapagos Marine Reserve.

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Cornish seal skeleton to go on display

The skeleton of a huge seal that washed up on a Cornish beach will go on display at the University of Exeter on Friday.

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