Smart windows that control the amount of heat that enters or leaves a building can reduce the need for energy-intensive air conditioning units and help efforts to retrofit Europe’s buildings to make them more energy efficient.
Parks and green spaces in cities provide health and wellness benefits to human inhabitants, but they’re not necessarily beneficial for other urban dwellers – like insects. Researchers are investigating urban biodiversity with approaches such as ‘bee hotels’ to see how cities can better foster insect life.
Insects are vital to the health of our planet but they can also reveal a lot about climate change and help us fight future vector-borne disease outbreaks, says Alexey Solodovnikov, an associate professor at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, who runs the rove beetle-dedicated Solodovnikov Lab and is a curator at the Natural History Museum of Denmark.
From the possible demise of Merlot grapes in Bordeaux to loss of olive trees in north Africa, the impacts of climate change will be felt by farmers across the Mediterranean region, say climatologists.
What is it like to be a bee? Or a spider? Does a crab feel pleasure or pain? Behavioural and welfare science have moved on considerably in the past 20 years, but there is still a huge amount we don’t know about how animals actually feel – or, indeed, whether they all do.
Shipping goods from furniture to food could be transformed by a new transport network called the ‘physical internet.’ It is built on similar principles to the internet, which revolutionised the way information flows around the word, including open access and global interconnectedness. Researchers hope to make it a reality by 2040, when a fully autonomous network should be in place.
In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic upended international trade. Countries shut their borders, breaking the webs of supply chains that crisscross the globe. These systems of people, organisations and companies work to supply consumers with products, such as mobile phones, or services, like transportation. While some supply chains have since returned to a semblance of normality, understanding their extent – and how they interact – may be vital if humanity wants to confront its other great challenge: climate change.
Our pet dogs could help extend human lives beyond their documented effects on people’s wellbeing. Increasingly, studies are looking at how the domestic dog, Canis familiaris, is key to understanding cognition and processes involved in ageing – something that could improve both animal and human wellbeing.
Albatross expert Dr Henri Weimerskirch, of the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), turned his favourite seabirds into spies two years ago by fixing them up with loggers that could detect the radar of illegal fishing vessels. The information from this project, known as OCEAN SENTINEL, has helped governments select which parts of the ocean to patrol. But Dr Weimerskirch wanted to recruit another, possibly better, species to stealth operations. In late 2020, he returned to the remote Kerguelen Islands, in the southern Indian Ocean, to see if they would cooperate. He told Horizon about his expedition.
To find out, scientists are investigating fish gut bacteria and feed nutrients.
Meteorologist Jadranka Šepić is working to decipher waves that can destroy in minutes.
Dr Kate Rychert studies ocean plate structures.