Reader’s Scigest – 17/6/19

By Ewan Jones (SciTech Editor)

As if exam season wasn’t bad enough, recent research from Linkoping University in Sweden has suggested that our pet dogs may feel our stress as well. The amount of cortisol, a hormone commonly associated with stress in animals, can be measured using hair extracts. The study found that higher cortisol in human hair was mirrored in dog hair extracts, con- firming what many stressed-out dog owners may have felt when observing their pets seemingly copying their emotional state. So, now that exams are over, take a moment to give your dog some love and affection, because they might’ve been going through the same stressful times alongside you.

With the recent Durfess complaining about the plague of wasps on Church Street, many people may find themselves frustrated at the prevalence of these seemingly useless pests in the summer months. However, research published in the Journal of Insect Conservation and Diversity suggests that wasps play an integral part in pest control, reducing the amount of pesticides required to ensure a successful harvest.

Two researchers at the University of Gloucestershire have attempted to engage the UK population with these pro-wasp sentiments by creating the ‘Big Wasp Survey’, which encouraged volunteers to map wasp species and locations around the country.

The survey showed that hundreds of different wasp species live in the UK, with a wide distribution. So, next time you find yourself bothered by an angry wasp when walking around Durham, at least attempt to remind yourself that they do have a positive impact on your life!

Finally, a story many of you may be familiar with; President Trump last week remarked in a tweet that the moon is a part of Mars. Maybe Astrosoc should have a word!

Photograph: Thomas Millot via Unsplash

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