Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

9780198726142

Sampling reptiles in the Anthropocene

According to the Reptile Database, more than 10,200 non-avian reptile species have been described (6,175 lizards and amphisbaenians; 3,496 snakes; 341 turtles; 25 crocodilians; 1 tuatara), with new taxa being recognized nearly every day.

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9780199687756_450

Brexit wrecks it for science

We are all reeling from the vote for Brexit. No one in my scientific circle was for exit. Now all are heavily lamenting it. Even cursing it on Facebook. Scientists voted to stay. Seems the entire science sector was pro-Europe and for many good reasons. Many of the best UK science labs are filled with brilliant researchers from across the EU.

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9780195392944

10 things you didn’t know about sharks

There are more than 400 known species of sharks inhabiting our planet’s marine ecosystems but detailed knowledge about most sharks is considerably lacking. Biologists often encounter barriers to studying sharks in captivity and in the wild due to factors such as their large size, relatively low demand in commercial markets, fast speeds, and wide habitat ranges.

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Bleak skies at night: the year without a summer and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Two hundred years ago this month, Mary Shelley had the terrifying ‘waking dream’ that she subsequently molded into the greatest Gothic novel of all time; Frankenstein. As all who have read the book or seen one of the many film adaptations will know, the ‘monster’ cobbled together out of human odds and ends by rogue scientist, Victor Frankenstein, is galvanised into existence by the power of electricity.

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American Entomologist

Researchers use drones and satellite photos to document illegal logging in monarch butterfly reserve

The monarch butterfly has been called “the Bambi of the insect world.” These fascinating insects are famous for their bright colors and their incredible fall migratory route, which can be as long as 2,500 miles. Starting from as far north as Canada, millions of monarchs take a two-month journey to a mountain range that straddles the border of two Mexican states, Michoacán and México, where they spend the winter.

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9780198723622

Mapping the moral high ground on fossil fuels

The so-called Suess effect in radiocarbon (14C) has been known for decades. Geological sources of carbon like coal and oil, that formed many millions of years ago, long since lost their radiocarbon through radioactive decay – they contain 14C-free “dead” carbon. From the mid-19th century the radiocarbon activity of the atmosphere declined as dead carbon from fossil fuels was dug out of the ground and burnt producing carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere.

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9780199587063

Ecological development and adapting to change

World Environment Day is celebrated on 5 June to encourage positive environmental action. Instituted by the United Nations in 1974, it provides a global platform for public outreach in promoting the importance of the protection of our environment.

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9780199687756_450

And the Nobel Prize goes to…

In science, perhaps the most famous recent award is for the prediction of the existence of the Higgs Boson particle, discovered at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. Overall, the most famous recipient ever is likely Marie Curie. She went down in history as the first person to win two. She took Nobel Prizes in 1903 and 1911 for getting radium and polonium out of pitchblende, with her own elbow power.

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ICES

Reading list for World Oceans Day

When the Earth is viewed from space, it’s mostly blue. In fact, the ocean covers over 70% of our planet. Life began in the world’s oceans, and today – billions of years later – we’re no less dependent on it. From the diverse organisms which call it home, to the complex ways it helps keep global climates in check, our own survival is undeniably linked to that of the ocean.

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9780199652112

On the finiteness of the atmosphere

I guess the funniest thing I ever saw was a person driving down the highway in a Toyota Prius smoking a cigarette with the windows closed. It was like they were telling me, “I respect your atmosphere but not mine.” That got me thinking, does human generated, gaseous, atmospheric pollution actually make up a significant part of the total atmosphere, and can it possibly affect it?

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9780198726142

World Turtle Day: a reading list

World Turtle Day is celebrated on 23 May every year since its inception in 2000. In honour of these grandiose creatures, we have compiled a reading list of biology titles and articles that have helped to further research into the conservation biology of all chelonians.

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9780198755159

Realism of social and cultural origins

How can realism in science be defined? Philosophers, historians, and the general public, have always related it to a philosophical doctrine or a technological effect. However, there is a type of realism — very widespread in science — that has gone unnoticed among scholars: the realist attitude of social and cultural origins. Behind this attitude lie commercial and engineering interests.

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9780190240233

Charles Darwin’s observations on migratory birds

Charles Darwin’s five year voyage aboard H. M. S. Beagle and subsequent life work are as widely known as any events in the history of the biological sciences. His wide ranging bird work has been overshadowed by drab small birds he discovered in the Galapagos Islands–the Galapagos, or Darwin’s, finches.

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9780199687756_450

The hardest question for scientists

But this question of conscience goes beyond science. There is one clear axis along which we are all asked to act in life – in favour of ‘self’ or ‘society’. Do we always do what is best when it comes to deciding the balance? In all pursuits there is an innate tension between the interests of self and society. This tension has existed as long as we’ve had human society of any complexity.

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