Posted: 11 February 2015
The UK has about 330 species of Springtails (Collembola). These are usually thought of as wingless insects, although it is now thought that they were not on the direct evolutionary line that led to modern insects and are closer to crustacea. Springtails are often overlooked but are common in every layer of leaf litter, in every soil, up most trees and (in low numbers) in every cave system.
Like many life forms, non-native species have been moving around Europe plus colonising the UK for years but the rate of colonisation seems to have increased in the last decade (perhaps from a combination of rising temperatures and unrestricted horticultural imports). One highly visible species is the bright pink-orange Bilobella braunerae, which was only separated from its (much commoner) yellow-orange sibling species Bilobella aurantiaca in 1981. This springtail is found in large groups under decaying bark so is easily visible, and would not have been overlooked by enthusiastic UK collectors the 150 years of springtail surveying, so must be a recent arrival.
Being neither able to fly nor to jump (not all springtails have a 'spring in their tail'), its recent discovery in Shropshire must result from accidental importation. The University now plans to get DNA barcodes for animals from the UK and the Netherlands to check whether they are the same population. There are at least 4 other non-native Collembola in the UK, 2 of which are new to science and await description.
Roehampton research prompts review of long-term psychiatric prescribing
Two of Roehampton's academics have successfully pushed for a government review into prescription drug dependence.
Posted: 8 February 2018
Professor Jim Al-Khalili awarded honorary doctorate
Over 700 students from the University of Roehampton graduated this week, with diverse degrees in a range of subjects from all ten Departments at the University.
Posted: 23 January 2018
Alumnus works at the Zoological Society of London to conserve highly endangered amphibians
Benjamin Tapley graduated from the Department of Life Sciences at Roehampton in 2004 and is now the Curator of Herpetology at the Zoological Society of London. The focus of Benjamin's work is on the conservation of threatened amphibians.
Posted: 22 January 2018