Author: Emma McDermott

Jurassic Clues Shedding Light on Declining Size of Modern Day Marine Life

A recent study by Dr Bryony Caswell, from the University of Liverpool’s School of Environmental Sciences, in collaboration with Dr Angela Coe, from the Open University, has found similarities in the declining size of ocean clams to those of clams that lived some 183 million years ago. The beginning of the Jurassic period  was a time which, like today, underwent similar levels of climate change and similarly decreasing levels of oxygen in the oceans. The study took place in Whitby, on the Yorkshire Coast and over 36,000 clams were examined. It was found that the size of the 183 million year old clams shrank in line with the diminishing levels of oxygen in the waters. Decreasing levels of oxygen in the water effects the chemistry of the ocean, this in turn then controls the levels of algae present, and consequently changes the whole food chain and biodiversity in the seas.  Areas of ocean with low levels of oxygen are deemed to be ‘dead zones’ and currently 7% of the world’s waters are classified as such. This figure has increased rapidly over the last 50 years, with high pollution levels and rapid climate change taking the blame. During the period of the Jurassic studied by the researchers, many species became extinct, and some flourished. The Pseudomytiloides dubius clam, alive during this period, was one such lucky flourisher- being small in...

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Summercamp – a review

The first ever Summercamp Festival debuted at Liverpool’s trendy Camp and Furnace venue. Summercamp promised a weekend of food, music and cultural enlightenment for all ages. With a broad range of activities ranging from exciting acts, innovative food exhibitions, family events and late night DJs, there was something for everyone. Before attending I had worried whether the timing and price of Summercamp might have hampered the fledgling festival. After all, Bank Holiday punters had the option of the free Liverpool International Music Festival’s concerts taking place across the city. Fortunately, Summercamp’s organisers, with their eclectic range of events, succeeded in convincing enough people to try something a little off the beaten path. The festival’s quirky and off beat nature was the perfect fit for the mixed crowd of students, food fanatics, older hippies and families enjoying a day out. The festival’s family nature was most felt in the day time. The events varied from children’s cookery classes, face painting and lantern making workshops. The result was a lot of happy looking children and parents. For those without children there was the excellent food on offer at the Street Food Market, a laid back atmosphere and the Bank Holiday sun. The festival’s organisers must be congratulated for putting together an impressive lineup performing in an impressive venue. From the kitsch Press Office caravan, the temporary grass and the tree lined...

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