Research

Building for bats in an urban world

Whiskered Bat by Jan Svetlik

A new study by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and the University of Turin shows how to minimise impacts of urban growth on bats at a time when the need for new housing often hits the headlines.

This study highlights how the contribution of citizen scientists can really make a difference in research projects. The volunteer-based data collection approach allowed us to get a clear view of urban habitat exploitation by bats in Norfolk, and provides practical suggestions for urban development and woodland management.”

BTO: It’s official – the Wren is our commonest bird.

Wren by Alan Drewitt

In the latest report looking at the size of our bird populations the Wren tops the list with 11 million pairs across the UK. 

Knowing how many of which species we have is important for many reasons, not least of which is the ability to make better informed decisions when it comes to conservation policy and site management. - Ian Woodward.

BTO: Where are all the Turtle Doves and Partridges?

Grey Partridges by Allan Drewitt

The latest BirdTrends report from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) shows a very mixed bag for our birds, with some showing marked increases and others in steep decline. The report summarises the efforts of many thousands of volunteers who participate in BTO’s Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), Ringing and Nest Record Schemes.

Fifty years of citizen science shows a positive response to climate change by a third of English breeding birds.

Long-Tailed Tit (Jill Pakenham/BTO)

New research, just published in the journal Bird Study, has shown that one third of 68 breeding species in England have been affected by climate change, leading to notable increases in some and declines in a few.

Aquatic Symbionts: Assessing the Abundance of Torix Group Rickettsia in Aquatic Insects around the World

Symbionts are known to be an important aspect of almost every living organism. Invertebrates are no exception. They display a remarkable range of symbiotic relationships with bacteria, which are capable of altering reproduction, defence against natural enemies, and play a role in nutrition. Up until now, most work has centred on a bacteria called Wolbachia which is commonly found in insects.

Wolbachia is relatively rare in Odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) and other aquatic insects, but recent work has suggested the presence of another similarly pervasive microbe. Our work has revealed that the bacterium Rickettsia is carried in 40% of midge species, and the Azure Damselfly (Coenargrion puella) can carry one or two strains of infection. Data suggests that Rickettsia is a common but underrepresented feature of freshwater invertebrates and our aim is to see how true this theory is.

Kew Gardens: Powdery Mildew Survey

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildews commonly occur on garden plants, are unsightly, and can cause serious damage. To help understand how widespread powdery mildews are, both in terms of geography and hosts, the Royal Horticultural Society and University of Reading are working together to identify and map as many powdery mildews as possible over the next two growing seasons. You can help by supplying us with infected plant samples and in exchange we will do our best to tell you what mildew is infecting your plant.

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