More seaweed on the menu in Northern Europe
Seaweed and algae are a sustainable and healthy alternative to animal foods, and there is an abundance of it in the seas around us. A new German/Danish project, led by SDU, has received ca. 14 million DKK to make consumers more interested in eating seaweed and algae and to make the products more accessible to them.
Wealthy countries' research skews our knowledge of plants
Data on the world´s plants can be found in many databases, and they are valuable for researchers trying to calculate how plants will respond to climate change. However, the world's plant data is primarily collected in and by wealthy countries, while there is a shortage of data on plants in poor and tropical parts of the world. This is a problem, biologists warn in a new study.
New study: Deep-sea pressure preserves food for microbes in the abyss
Dead algae and other organic material at the surface of the sea disintegrates when they begin to sink to the bottom. But at some point, the water pressure becomes so high that disintegration stops and nutrients are preserved, providing food for the bottom's multitude of microbes and small animals.
Evolutionary chance made this bat a specialist hunter
It is generally believed that, for millions of years, bats and the insects they hunt at night have adapted to each other in an evolutionary arms race to become better at finding or avoiding each other. Now, a new study shows that this may not be the case at all.
New Study: Young People Envision a Dystopian Future
If we are to believe high school students from Denmark, life in 2060 will be anything but safe and comfortable. In a series of short stories, two-thirds of the 152 young participants in the study paint a dystopian picture of the future.
Frodo the humpback whale goes on an adventure
A new study confirms that humpback whales most often return to the same breeding and feeding grounds on their annual migrations through the world's oceans. But then there is Frodo; he did not swim back to the same place but ended up 11,261 km away.
Marine mammals in zoos and aquariums now live 2-3 times longer than in the wild
Just as humans are now living longer lives as a result of advances in medicine and care, so too are marine mammals in modern zoos and aquariums according to a new study
New expert group to address potential threat from invasive species impacting marine ecosystems
Invasive speces - both plants and animals - can pose a serious threat to biodiversity, UN states. As a response, a group of SDU researchers now form an expert group.
Streams and rivers get warmer in urban areas
Temperatures are generally higher in urban areas, and this also applies to the water that flows through urban areas, biologists from SDU find in a new study. "Warmer streams and rivers are never good", says head of research, Sara Egemose.
Environmental toxin PCB found in deep sea trench
Researchers on a deep-sea expedition have found PCB in sediment samples from the more than 8,000-meter-deep Atacama Trench in the Pacific Ocean. "It is thought-provoking to find man-made toxins in one of the world's most remote and inaccessible environments," says expedition leader Ronnie N. Glud.
Why do we have to keep animals in captivity?
Confined animals give us important knowledge about behavior that we can use to protect animals in the wild, says biologist Kirstin Anderson Hansen. To ensure that animals in captivity thrive, there are several things you should keep in mind, she explains.
Do animals have a sense of time?
There is a growing scientific awareness that animals may have cognitive abilities and that they are not just biological machines driven by instinct. Biologists from SDU are now investigating dolphins' and porpoises’ understanding of time.
New UN treaty on the protection of the high seas: What does it mean?
The UN has adopted a historic agreement to protect 30% of the high seas. SDU ocean expert Jamileh Javidpour recommends to first protect areas where biodiversity is most threatened; for example seamounts and migration corridors for large predators, which rely on specific routes for their annual migrations.
Toothed whales catch food in the deep using vocal fry
Toothed whales, such as dolphins, killer whales and sperm whales communicate and catch food exclusively with sound. Now researchers have for the first time found they evolved a new sound source in their nose.
Nature can help when extreme weather hits
Floods, heat waves, storms and droughts are becoming more common as temperatures rise, so we need to find new ways to protect our cities and communities. Nature itself offers many solutions, and we must learn to make better use of them, say the researchers behind a new elite center for climate research at SDU.
Animal life is getting messy
Globalization is not just for humans: animal species that have lived in isolation from each other are increasingly starting to mate and new hybrids are emerging. What are the implications for biodiversity?
When was the first time life began to predate on each other?
In the early oceans billions of years ago organisms lived peacefully side by side. Today, there are predators among us - when and how did this change happen? New research indicates that our single-celled ancestors began to feed on each other almost a billion years earlier than previously thought.
Bats growl like death metal singers and Mongolian throat singers
Bats produce an extreme range of sound frequencies far exceeding human ability. Now researchers have for the first time directly filmed how they produce their extraordinary range of sounds.
New, blue fish found in deep-sea trench
Snailfish live at the deepest parts of the ocean. Now an expedition has found a new species; it is small, blue and looks anything but a deep-sea monster.
Which animals can best withstand climate change?
A new study investigates how different mammals react to climate change. Animals that live for a long time and produce less offspring – like bears and bison - are more resilient than small animals with a short life – like mice and lemmings.
Who hear best underwater - human or seal?
We humans do better on land than under water - also when it comes to our hearing. But now a new study shows that we actually have better underwater hearing than previously thought - at certain frequencies we hear just as well as the seal.
New, healthy lakes in Denmark
Many new lakes are being established in Denmark in these years, and with that comes, of course, a desire for them to be healthy and have good water quality. SDU biologists show the way.
Will The Arctic Ocean flourish with new life when the ice melts?
The Arctic Ocean is one of the most rapidly warming regions on Earth and is headed towards being ice free in the summer. However, this provides opportunities for new ecosystems to develop, biologist Karl Attard argues.
Offspring weakens, when parents are given antibiotics
New study shows the immune system of zebrafish weakens if one parent has been exposed to antibiotics. Antibiotics can have unwanted effects for several generations, researchers discover.
Lakes are threatened by rising temperatures
Lakes in cold and temperate climates are important tools for sequestering carbon. But with rising temperatures, we are losing this tool, a new study shows. Instead, we should look for other places to store carbon, says expert.
Forget about biodiversity for the first 10-20 years
If we stop cultivating low-land fields and let nature take over, we will get more biodiversity, we often hear. Correct, says expert: but the best thing we can do for biodiversity is to harvest everything that comes up for the first 10-20 years.
Do Danish oceans release or absorb CO2?
Denmark is surrounded by seawater, which can absorb CO2 and thus reduce emissions to the atmosphere - but seawater can also release CO2. According to biologists Christian Furbo Reeder and Jakob Bang Rønning, we have no idea whether Danish waters absorb or release more CO2. So now they prepare to map CO2 emissions from Danish waters.
Finally, the eelgrass is coming back
Scientists’ effort to bring the eelgrass back to Danish waters has proven very successful: After 2 years, there are now 70 times more eelgrass shoots in Horsens Fjord in Denmark.
Do climate changes spur microbes to produce more methane?
More and more mineral particles released by climate change events (like land erosion or desertification) and anthropogenic activities (like industrial soot) are being transported worldwide. Certain microbes thrive on these particles, producing methane – a potent greenhouse gas. A new project aims to understand how microorganisms interact via mineral particles and how these interactions may affect the methane cycle.
“There hasn’t really been much interest in the dead”
Our oceans are filled with tiny, dead animals and jellyfish. But that is not bad news: without all these carcasses, the planet would not be a very nice place to live on, scientists are discovering. As all these carcasses seem to play an important role in the transportation and recycling of carbon and nitrogen on our planet.
Put a gecko-inspired robot on the teachers’ heels: More lively lectures
Lizards like geckos and agamas have inspired scientists to develop a new robot-controlled camera that can make streamed lectures less dull.
Microbes produce oxygen in the dark
There would be no oxygen on Earth were it not for sunlight; the key component in photosynthesis. Now researchers have made the surprising discovery that oxygen is also produced without sunlight, possibly deep below the ocean surface.
Hadal trenches continue to surprise researchers
New study reveals certain bacteria, that are attracted to nitrogen, have relatively easily adapted to the extreme pressure 10 km below sea level.
Porpoises seem to cooperate in sophisticated group hunting
Drone footage shows that porpoises may be more social and cooperative than previously thought.
Face masks are a ticking plastic bomb
Every minute of the day we throw away 3 million face masks. Many end up as potentially toxic micro- and nanoplastic or carriers for other toxicants in the environment, researchers warn.
Frogs’ lungs help them find a mate
Male frogs call to attract females, but how can females tell that it is a male of the same species calling? Green tree frogs use the same principle as in noise-cancelling headphones – and they are far better at it.
Heavy rain after drought may cause fish kills
Due to climate changes, many regions are experiencing increasingly warmer and dryer summers, followed by heavy rain. New study shows this is a fatal combination that can cause massive fish kills in lakes within a few hours.
Jellyfish contain no calories, but they still attract predators
New study shows that jellyfish are an important food source for many animals. As jellyfish blooms become more frequent and more massive, this could affect marine ecosystems.
New website provides overview of endocrine disruptors in the EU
Five countries, including Denmark, have teamed up to make a list of endocrine disruptors, hoping it will pave the way for tighter EU regulations.
Older fathers increase the risk of mental illness
New research finds that the age of fathers at the time of conception has an impact on children's risk of becoming mentally ill. The older fathers, the higher the risk.
Cannibalism helps invading invertebrates survive severe conditions
Investing in the future: Researchers show how cannibalism among the invasive comb jelly enables adults to survive severe conditions at the edge of their ecological range with implications for the use and evolutionary origins of cannibalism.
Sea wrack on the beach: Disgusting or valuable?
Insulation, fertilizer and animal feed: For centuries, humans have been using sea wrack and washed-up eelgrass on the beach in a myriad of ways that also make sense today, scientists say and call for better utilisation.
Surprising hearing talents in cormorants
The great cormorant has more sensitive hearing under water than in air. This new knowledge may help protect vulnerable bird species.
Female lifespan is longer in wild mammal animals than in humans
Longer lives are not only for female humans: Mammalian female’s average lifespan is 18.6% longer than that of males. In humans the female advantage is on average 7.8%
Citizens contribute to biology research
In recent years, Citizen Science, where citizens contribute to researchers' data gathering, has gained a foothold in the research environments. According to Associate Professor Sara Egemose, this is partly due to the synergy that arises when both researchers and citizens experience clear benefits from collaboration.
US Navy supports Danish research into porpoise hearing
Studies of porpoises’ and dolphins' ability to navigate at sea may lead to the development of new advanced equipment for underwater locating of submarines, mines and drowned persons.
Parrots collaborate with invisible partners
New study shows that peach-fronted conures have a surprisingly advanced talent for collaboration when it comes to finding food. This is important knowledge for biologists working with conservation of wild bird populations.
Our profile is multi-cultural and cross-disciplinary, with a focus on international collaboration while providing an attractive and dynamic environment for work and study.
Research and teaching at the Department of Biology spans a broad range of topics within biology, from fundamental questions about how life evolved on Earth and physiological adaptations of organisms, to pressing environmental and societal challenges; effects and mitigations of climate change, anthropogenic noise, endocrine disruptors and pollutants on marine and terrestrial life.