Tag: Scotland

Are hungry seals hampering Scottish cod recovery?

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Atlantic cod.

‘We may have to live with smaller cod stocks if we want to protect our seals’

Staff Report

FRISCO — Efforts to rebuild commercially important cod stocks off the west coast of Scotland have been hampered by hungry seals, scientists said. The research by marine biologists at the  University of Strathclyde suggests that, as fishermen have cut back on their catches by half, predation by seals has rapidly increased.

The seals may be consuming more than 40 percent of the total stock of cod, up to  7,000 tons per year off the west of Scotland, where landed catches now amount to only a few hundred tons. The research paper has been published in the Journal of Applied Ecology. Continue reading “Are hungry seals hampering Scottish cod recovery?”

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Energy: Scotland eyes tidal power

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Scotland eyes tidal power.

Engineers pinpoint potential for tide-driven electrical turbines

By Summit Voice

FRISCO —A well-designed and well-sited network of tidal turbines in Scotland’s Pentland Firth could generate 1.9 gigawatts of electricity — enough to supply half of the country’s power demand.

The channel at the northern tip of Scotland has long been studied as a potential source of power because of the strong tidal flows. The latest study by engineers at the Universities of Oxford and Edinburgh offers valuable insights into how to develop and regulate this clean energy resource effectively. Continue reading “Energy: Scotland eyes tidal power”

UK beekeepers report widespread loss of colonies

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Honey bee colonies are dwindling worldwide.

Evidence growing for a global pollinator crisis

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Honey bees aren’t just struggling in the U.S. Results of a survey released by researchers in the UK show that  31.3 per cent of managed honey bee colonies in Scotland failed to survive last winter – almost double the previous year’s loss rate of 15.9 per cent.

Dr Alison Gray and Magnus Peterson, of Strathclyde’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, warn the figures ought to be of major concern because bees play a pivotal role in crop pollination, agricultural yields and, therefore, food supply and prices. Continue reading “UK beekeepers report widespread loss of colonies”

Biodiversity: UK biologists consider lynx restoration

Colorado's lynx restoration program has yielded valuable research that may help scientists in other countries with similar efforts. Photo courtesy Colorado Division of Wildlife.
Colorado’s lynx restoration program has yielded valuable research that may help scientists in other countries with similar efforts. Photo courtesy Colorado Division of Wildlife.

Biologists eye predator restoration to try and rebalance ecosystems

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Biologists in the UK say they might be able to use some of the lynx science compiled in Colorado and other areas as they plan for a possible reintroduction of Eurasian lynx in Cairngorn National Park.

In a draft report focusing on ecosystem restoration, scientists identified lynx as one of the species that help restore ecological balance in a system that doesn’t have any predators. Without them, deer have been running rampant and degrading forested areas.

Lynx disappeared from the British Isles about 1,000 years ago, partially because most of their habitat was destroyed, but reforestation in the past few centuries means there are now areas where the wild cats could find breeding and foraging habitat. The wild cats have already been reintroduced in Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Slovakia and France. Continue reading “Biodiversity: UK biologists consider lynx restoration”

Travel: Saying goodbye to the Festival Fringe

Leaving Edinburgh on the East Coast train
Edinburgh's Waverley train station and Balmoral Hotel at dusk the day after the end of the Festival Fringe.
Story and photos by Garrett Palm

The UK’s East Coast train lives up to its name for most of the trip, with views of green fields ending in brown cliffs that drop into the sea. Across the channel, a glimpse of the continent.

A tattooed man with a shaved head sits across the aisle, sharing a table with a young couple wearing cashmere sweaters, his back against the window and his feet on the seat next to him. Three empty tall cans of Carlsberg Lager rattled in a Tesco bag beneath his seat as he opened the fourth with a frothy “chhck.” The conductor stares at a sheet of paper handed over in lieu of a ticket. After a second the man says, “I forgot my ID, they said this’ll do.” The conductor shrugs. “That’s fine.” He wasn’t worth the trouble. The posh couple sitting ignores him and shares a bag of crisps purchased from the lunch cart. Continue reading “Travel: Saying goodbye to the Festival Fringe”

Travel: Books and bagpipes in Edinburgh

Wouldn't be Edinburgh without some bag-piping!

Garrett Palm takes a break from the Festival Fringe to visit the Edinburgh Book Festival

Story and photos by Garrett Palm

I went to the Book Festival, which is a completely different world than the one I’ve been living in. This festival is in Charlotte Square, a good walk from my usual after-show hangouts in George Square.

The Charlotte Square readings are held in a spiegeltent, an old-fashioned wood-paneled and mirrored tent designed as portable entertainment venue. Instead of raunchy comedians, burlesque shows and loud rock musicals, it is full of intellectuals watching serious authors read from their upcoming works. The hosts and readers are calm and measured, stuttering to find the right words.

It fit  in better with the U.K. I experienced 11 years ago when I toured the isles with my professor, a respected British author. We met his friends and colleagues around the country, all of whom gave us copies of their books. I left with a stack of books and the idea that everyone in the U.K. is an author. I thought that, because of the rain, they wrote  regional histories, obscure biographies and guides to British gardens to entertain themselves. Continue reading “Travel: Books and bagpipes in Edinburgh”

Travel: Coffee and rain at the Festival Fringe in Edinburgh

The Festival Fringe in Edinburgh comes to life with a cast of colorful characters roaming the street. PHOTO BY GARRETT PALM.

“A stone city clinging to rock surrounded by green on the edge of the island …”

Garrett Palm reports from the Festival Fringe in Edinburgh

“It’s summer. It’s warm out,” our guitarist said when a member of the production team asked him about the cold and rain. While we hand out flyers for our show at the Festival Fringe during the day the Americans wear jackets and some of the Scottish wear t-shirts. The temperature has been in the 50s and 60s, with a dip down to 48.

Everything is wet. We recently survived 36 straight hours of rain. The Foodies festival was delayed due to muddy conditions. It takes a lot of rain to affect the plans of the Scottish. I love how the city looks in the rain, but it makes our jobs difficult. Our flyers warp and go limp and people are less inclined to stop and listen to us. It makes daily life difficult, too: dishtowels at the flat don’t dry off, the skylight leaks and all my clothes are damp.

Even in the height of the international festival, Edinburgh feels a part of the British Isles. It is a stone city clinging to rock surrounded by green on the edge of the island. The rain and wind come right off the channel. Our cast is staying a block past World’s End Close, a tight alleyway, where the old city, and thus the world, used to end.

Rain or no rain, it's thumbs-up at the Festival Fringe in Edinburgh. PHOTO BY GARRETT PALM.

Continue reading “Travel: Coffee and rain at the Festival Fringe in Edinburgh”