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News from the Department of Biology

  • 03.04.2024

    Sex is Evolution's Greatest Success

    The ability to reproduce is considered as evolution's greatest success. But why does it have to be so complicated, exhausting, and sometimes even life-threatening to reproduce? And do virgin births actually exist?

  • 22.03.2024

    Global warming: Animals mate more in warmer weather

    Do climate changes make it easier or harder for animals and plants to reproduce? There is no simple answer, but several studies suggest that animals mate more frequently in warmer weather. However, that doesn't necessarily mean they have more offspring, or that the offspring's chances of survival are good. How does that add up?

  • 05.03.2024

    A Larger Area of Arctic Seafloor is Exposed to Sunlight

    Most of the sunlight reaching the Arctic Ocean is reflected by sea ice, shielding ocean ecosystems from light. As Arctic sea ice continues to melt, larger areas of the ocean and seafloor become exposed to sunlight, potentially allowing more photosynthesis to occur and making the Arctic Ocean more productive. However, this does not seem to be occurring uniformly across the Arctic Ocean.

  • 26.02.2024

    Elite Research Award for SDU researcher with a penchant for microbes

    Amelia-Elena Rotaru, professor at the Department of Biology, SDU, is one of five young researchers of outstanding international repute to receive the prestigious Elite Research Award from the Ministry of Higher Education and Science.

  • 21.02.2024

    Baleen whales evolved a unique larynx to communicate but cannot escape human noise

    The iconic baleen whales, such as the blue, gray and humpback whale, depend on sound for communication in the vast marine environment where they live. Now researchers have for the first time found that baleen whales evolved novel structures in their larynx to make their vast array of underwater songs.

  • 09.02.2024

    Surprising behaviour in one of the least studied mammals in the world

    Beaked whales are among the least studied mammals in the world. Now, a new study reveals surprising information about the Baird's beaked whale species.

  • 06.02.2024

    Collaboration on Odense Fjord and Fyn to Inspire Other EU Countries

    Several researchers from SDU are involved in a new EU project seeking effective solutions for improving water quality and climate adaptation across Europe.

  • 12.12.2023

    Daily singing workout keeps songbird males attractive

    It has long been a mystery why songbirds spend so much time and energy on singing. Now a new study shows that songbirds need to sing every day to keep their vocal muscles in shape. Females can hear if a male has skipped his singing workout for only a few days, and they prefer song of males that did their daily vocal gymnastics.

  • 01.12.2023

    Rocks and cliffs from land will make the oceans absorb and store large amounts of CO2

    The CO2 levels in the atmosphere continue to rise as we strive to reduce our emissions. Now, an international team of researchers proposes a radical solution: pour crushed stone into the sea and it will empower the water to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere.

  • 24.11.2023

    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.

  • 09.11.2023

    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.

  • 31.10.2023

    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.

  • 27.10.2023

    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.

  • 26.10.2023

    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.

  • 26.10.2023

    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.

  • 18.10.2023

    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

  • 07.09.2023

    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.   

  • 18.04.2023

    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.

  • 17.04.2023

    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.

  • 23.03.2023

    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.

  • 13.03.2023

    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.

  • 07.03.2023

    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.

  • 02.03.2023

    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.

  • 21.02.2023

    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.

  • 07.02.2023

    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?

  • 14.12.2022

    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.

  • 29.11.2022

    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.

  • 12.10.2022

    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.

  • 19.08.2022

    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.

  • 23.05.2022

    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.

  • 12.05.2022

    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.

  • 02.05.2022

    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.

  • 25.04.2022

    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.

  • 06.04.2022

    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.

  • 04.04.2022

    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.

  • 30.03.2022

    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.

  • 21.03.2022

    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.

  • 17.03.2022

    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.

  • 24.02.2022

    “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.

  • 09.02.2022

    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.

  • 06.01.2022

    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.

  • 12.11.2021

    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.

  • 08.06.2021

    Porpoises seem to cooperate in sophisticated group hunting

    Drone footage shows that porpoises may be more social and cooperative than previously thought.

  • 10.03.2021

    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.

  • 04.03.2021

    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.

  • 09.07.2020

    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.

  • 24.06.2020

    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.

  • 10.06.2020

    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.

  • 10.06.2020

    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.

  • 07.05.2020

    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.

  • 30.04.2020

    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.

  • 01.04.2020

    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.

  • 26.03.2020

    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%

  • 19.02.2020

    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.

  • 23.01.2020

    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.

  • 20.01.2020

    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.