Years of surprises from flying ants

By Dr Rebecca Nesbit and Professor Adam Hart who ran the Royal Society of Biology’s Flying Ant Survey.

Five years ago, we embarked on the Flying Ant Survey to ask what we thought was a simple question: when does ‘flying ant day’ occur each year? The data, which has just been published in the journal Ecography, tells a far more complex story than we could have imagined. Read more »

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The biology behind a fire-breathing dragon

Following the conclusion of the latest series of Game of Thrones, many of us at RSB have been excited by the fire breathing capabilities of the three dragons, daughters of one of the show’s protagonists, Daenerys Targaryen.

A number of theories have been developed by fans of the show to explain how these creatures might be able to produce and discharge plumes of fire from their mouths, the most popular of which claims that two tubes at the back of the dragons’ throats expel two volatile substances which, when combined, produce a vigorous exothermic reaction.
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Reversing the decline of the orangutan population

This month we celebrated International Organ-utan day. Organised by World Orang-utan Events, the day looks to promote orang-utan conservation and welfare, as well as inter organization cooperation.

There are two species of orang-utan, the Bornean orang-utan, Pongo pygmaeus and the Sumatran orang-utan, Pongo abelii. Both species are critically endangered, their numbers having decreased by 60% in 60 years.
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The IBO live blog Day 6: celebrations at the awards ceremony

Peter Morrison, a postgraduate student at the University of Warwick, is one of the 100+ volunteers helping run the 28th International Biology Olympiad, taking place at the University of Warwick this week.

The final day of the IBO is all about the awards ceremony: it forms the high point of the week towards which all efforts so far have led. Read more »

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The IBO live blog Day 5: an excursion to Coventry

Peter Morrison, a postgraduate student at the University of Warwick, is one of the 100+ volunteers helping run the 28th International Biology Olympiad, taking place at the University of Warwick this week.

With their exams completed, the waiting game for results has begun for the teams; in a way, the awards ceremony tomorrow is the event that the whole Olympiad has been building up to. Read more »

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The IBO live blog Day 4: theory exams and a science ceilidh

Peter Morrison, a postgraduate student at the University of Warwick, is one of the 100+ volunteers helping run the 28th International Biology Olympiad, taking place at the University of Warwick this week.

After an exciting trip yesterday and a good night’s sleep, today the students sat a two-part theory exam, which is the last item on the week’s examination schedule. Read more »

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The IBO live blog Day 3: a taste of medieval England

Peter Morrison, a postgraduate student at the University of Warwick, is one of the 100+ volunteers helping run the 28th International Biology Olympiad, taking place at the University of Warwick this week.

Today was a chance for the contestants to enjoy some well-earned time off after yesterday’s practical tests, and soak up some history at Warwick Castle, one of England’s best-preserved and most impressive medieval fortifications. Read more »

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The IBO live blog Day 1: microscopes and egg and spoon races

Peter Morrison, a postgraduate student at the University of Warwick, is one of the 100+ volunteers helping run the 28th International Biology Olympiad, taking place at the University of Warwick this week.

With the Opening Ceremony over, students settled in, and a good night’s sleep, the competition started in earnest on Monday. Read more »

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