Biology

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Which species will be our urban neighbours?

All over the world, people are moving out of rural areas, and cities are growing. What will be the impact on resident species that live in these cities? Which will be our new plant and animal neighbours, which will have to leave town, and what does that mean for us humans?

WITH VIDEO

A robotic microplankton sniffer dog

The microscopic, free-floating algae called phytoplankton — and the tiny zooplankton that eat them — are notoriously difficult to count. Researchers need to know how a warming climate will affect them both. A new kind of smart, lightweight autonomous underwater vehicle (LAUV) can help.

WITH PODCAST

Shedding light — on the polar night

The polar night is dark — if you’re a person. But not if you’re a krill or a seabird or a fish. In the first episode of NTNU’s new English-language podcast, 63 Degrees North, learn how researchers discovered that there’s more than enough light in the polar night for the tiny creatures who live there.

a gaggle of barnacle geese

Skinnier but resilient geese thriving in the high Arctic

Barnacle geese in the Arctic have been on a diet. So many now migrate to northern breeding grounds that in some places there’s less food to go around. The good news is that it doesn’t seem to restrict their population growth — yet.

Some sparrows sitting in a tree

Inbreeding detrimental for survival

Inbred birds don’t live as long and have fewer offspring than non-inbred birds. Inbreeding is equally harmful regardless of where the birds live.

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Bats not a threat to public health, but important for ecosystems

Bats have received a lot of negative attention, but the chances are slim that the virus that causes COVID-19 was transmitted from bats to humans. The world needs bats – in ecosystems, for pollination and for seed dispersal. On top of that, they keep harmful insects in check around our homes, on farms and in cities.

WITH VIDEO

A tiny arctic shrub reveals secrets of plant growth on Svalbard

It’s not easy being a tiny willow on the wind-and snow-blasted islands of the Norwegian territory of Svalbard. It turns out that Salix polaris, the polar willow, handles these tough conditions by growing as best it can in response to July temperatures — a response that researchers recorded all over the archipelago.

Your plane travel destroys polar bear habitat

A group of polar bear researchers wants you to do more than worry about the fate of these beautiful animals. They’ve calculated how much summer sea ice is melted per metric tonne of CO2 emissions. Then you can decide if the flight you’re planning to take is worth destroying polar bear habitat.

Gaming their way to sustainable development

Researchers wanted to involve local people living around Kenya and Tanzania’s Serengeti-Mara parks in developing a sustainable future for them and the parks. They developed a board game to get people talking to the researchers — and to each other. That game has now won an international award.

WITH PHOTO COLLECTION

Svalbard reindeer populations rebounding from centuries of hunting

As reindeer go, the animals living on Svalbard might not be Santa’s first choice. They’re a smaller subspecies of their common mainland relatives, and to save energy they basically never run. But because they were nearly exterminated from Svalbard around 1900 — and were then protected in 1925 — the animals provide unique insights into how conservation can help species thrive.