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Photo credit Fjord og Bælt Centeret, Kerteminde

New study shows that extreme hunting by porpoises makes them vulnerable to disturbance

30.05.2016In a new Current Biology paper, post doc Danuta Wisniewska shows that one of the smallest and most widely distributed marine mammals, the harbour porpoise, lives on an energetic knife-edge. Scientists have long puzzled over how these 1.5 m / 50kg echolocating predators can eat enough to survive in cold waters which are normally the domain of large whales that can keep warm more efficiently. Tagging studies suggested that porpoises ate infrequently but this didn't match up with the small fish found in the stomachs of stranded animals. In the new study, miniature computers were attached to porpoises using suction cups to record both their echolocation sounds and the echoes coming back from prey. By analysing the echoes, Danuta Wisniewska, Professor Peter T. Madsen and senior scientist Jonas Teilman from Bioscience were able to measure how often porpoises tried to catch fish, as well as the size of the fish, and whether the fish escaped. The study shows that porpoises hunt small (< 5 cm) fish continuously day and night capturing as many as 3000 per day. A success rate of over 90% means that porpoises are amongst the most successful known hunters. The study also involved colleagues from SDU, Scotland and Germany and was funded by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation to understand how increasing development of the seas around northern Europe may be impacting porpoises. Harbour porpoises share these seas with dense ship traffic, fisheries, oil production and a growing array of wind and tide turbines. Although the tiny fish targeted by porpoises are not of interest in commercial fisheries, porpoises are frequently by-caught in fishing gear and this is a major threat to some populations. However, recent studies have also shown that porpoises may be affected by noise from boats, underwater construction and oil exploration.

New grant from the Carlsberg foundation ensures registration of Thailand’s flora

24.05.2016Since the establishment of the Botanical Institute at Aarhus University (now metamorphosed into Ecoinformatics and Biodiversity of Bioscience) in 1963, the exploration of the Thai flora has been a very important component of the research agenda. Aarhus University has played a key factor in the Flora of Thailand project, which is a long term project describing all of the amazing number of 11.000 vascular plants in Thailand. The Flora of Thailand project is just over half finished and a with new donation of 15 mill DKK from the Carlsberg foundation is it now possible to continue fieldwork, training and exchange of researchers between Thailand and Aarhus University, and to publish the remaining parts of the Flora of Thailand. The project is organized by the Royal Forest Herbarium of the Thai National Park Services, and involves a large number of taxonomists in various Thai and international universities and research institutions, especially the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England, Edinburgh Botanical garden, Scotland, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, the National museum of France in Paris, Munich University, and Copenhagen University. During the project, many Thai students and botanists have trained at Aarhus University and this will continue thanks to the new economical donation. For more information contact: Professor Henrik Balslev R., PhD, Dr. h.c. : henrik.balslev@bios.au.dk

Oase i Arktis gør forskerne klogere på forholdet mellem mennesker og fangstdyr

12.05.2016NOW-projektet skal afdække forandringer i regionen Læs artiklen på Videnskab.dk

Udforsk grønlandske forskningsstationer på Google Maps

12.05.2016Læs artiklen på Videnskab.dk

Jens-Christian Svenning modtager Semper Ardens-bevilling”

12.05.2016The Carlsberg Foundation has just awarded ten Semper Ardens grants for a total sum of 117 million DKK. Aarhus University receives six grants of which four go to ST researchers Jens-Christian Svenning, Jeffrey S. Hangst, Jørgen Kjems and Karl-Anker Jørgensen.

Ida Auken besøgte Algecenter Danmark i Grenaa

11.05.2016Cirkulær økonomi og bæredygtige løsninger var på dagsordenen.

Uvist om marsvin er ramt af gødningsudslip

09.05.2016Lytteposter i Lillebælt er havnet i trawlgarn, og forskerne kan derfor ikke endnu sige noget om, hvordan ulykken på Fredericia Havn påvirker de små hvaler.

Færre blisgæs i Disko Bugt-området

09.05.2016En optælling af fældende fugle ved Disko-øen og den yderste halvdel af Nuussuaq-halvøen viser flere ederfugle og færre blisgæs.

Langsomme orme reagerer hurtigt på klimaændring

02.05.2016Evolution kan gå hurtigt, når det skal være - i hvert fald for visse små organismer. Forskere har udsat et stykke dansk natur for kunstige klimaforandringer og opdaget, at blot en halv grads varmere jord fik en lille orms arveegenskaber til at ændre sig overraskende hurtigt.

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