Biology

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Illustration photo of plastic bottles in water

Plastics leach toxins

Plastic contains thousands of chemicals. Until now, we haven’t known if these leach into the environment to any great extent. Now we know that they do.

Plastic waste piled up at Mausund feltstasjon

A natural gem is being destroyed by plastic

Mausund and the Froan Nature Reserve are located in an archipelago far out to sea along the Trøndelag county coast, but they are not exactly pristine. About 25 per cent of the soil in the area contains plastic.

What is nature worth?

Climate change is not the greatest threat to the diversity of species on Earth. The main problem is that animal and plant habitats are disappearing.

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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?

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.

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.

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.