Wednesday 25 September 2013

Short-Haired Bumblebee reintroduced to England

The short-haired bumblebee started dying out in Britain in the 1980s and officially became extinct in 2000.

A reintroduction project saw queen bees brought over from Sweden. After two releases of queens at the RSPB's Dungeness reserve in Kent, offspring worker bees have been recorded there for the first time.

Short-haired bumblebees were once widespread across the south of England but declined as their wildflower rich grasslands disappeared.

Nikki Gammans, who leads the project, said: "This is a milestone for the project and a real victory for conservation. We now have proof that this bumblebee has nested and hatched young and we hope it is on the way to become a self-supporting wild species in the UK".

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Computer Game to Help Fight Ash Dieback

The public are being asked to help in the fight against ash dieback by playing a computer game that analyses genetic data on the disease.The Facebook game aims to use the power of social media to find a scientific solution to protecting ash trees from the Chalara fraxinea fungus.

Many of the UK's 80m ash trees are threatened by ash dieback.Scientists believe some trees may have natural immunity to Chalara and could be used to grow resistant forests.They hope to identify potential woodland survivors by studying the genetics of British ash trees.They are also looking at the genetics of the fungus to find out more about how it spreads.