Amy’s Articles

A collection by Amy Howard

The scandal of Higher Education funding in England.

This is Great Britain, a place where education is accessible and encouraged to everyone, right? Wrong.I have personally made my way through all the conventional steps of the English education system, namely, GCSE’s, A-levels, Bachelor’s degree. When faced with the question all undergraduates fear: ‘so, what are you doing after university?’, I decided I wantedContinue reading “The scandal of Higher Education funding in England.”

Green Energy done badly: Cleve Hill Solar Park.

On the 28th May 2020, the proposal for the UK’s biggest solar farm was approved. For those ecologically minded, this seems like a huge win, a step in the right direction for sustainable development. However, on closer inspection, the questionable financial motivations, potentially catastrophic health risks, opposition from local communities, and impact on endangered ecosystemsContinue reading “Green Energy done badly: Cleve Hill Solar Park.”

Intelligence and Neurobiology in Coleoid Cephalopods: Why and How? (long read)

Abstract: How intelligent are coleoid cephalopods? Why has their intelligence evolved, and how do neurological or anatomical features enable it? This paper reviews behavioural and neurological studies of to help answer these questions. Firstly, for background I will summarise scientific definitions of intelligence, how it is measured in animals, and the factors typically driving itsContinue reading “Intelligence and Neurobiology in Coleoid Cephalopods: Why and How? (long read)”

Critically evaluating the evolutionary and ecological theories that explain the latitudinal species richness gradient.

Tropical rainforests can be loosely defined as the permanently wet wooded areas in the equatorial region between tropic of Cancer and Capricorn. There is huge diversity – not only within tropical rainforests – but also between them; there is no set model forest, as each has its own biogeographical and biological structures, which vary hugelyContinue reading “Critically evaluating the evolutionary and ecological theories that explain the latitudinal species richness gradient.”

Is paying for ‘ecosystem services’ good for sustainable development?

Ecosystem services are the benefits that humans gain from the natural world, and are defined into 3 general categories: provisioning services supply us with a commodity (water, timber), regulating services help maintain homeostasis in our environment (air regulation), and cultural services offer an opportunity to expand our experiences, with nature tourism and education (Department forContinue reading “Is paying for ‘ecosystem services’ good for sustainable development?”

To what extent are individuals able to Construct and Perform their own gendered identities in Western cultures?

IntroductionThe question of whether individuals are really in control of their identity has been widely studied by anthropologists worldwide. Some argue that our gender identity is innate and deeply connected to biology and personality traits, while the opposing belief is that the subject of gender is malleable and can is influenced and constructed by manyContinue reading “To what extent are individuals able to Construct and Perform their own gendered identities in Western cultures?”

Discussing the main issues concerning the compatibility, between the pursuit of economic growth and the pursuit of sustainability.

IntroductionThe issue of the contrasting, and potentially conflicting, interests between the current economic model, and sustainability, has become more prevalent in recent years. It’s suggested by economists and ecologists alike, that under the western capitalist structure, economic growth cannot be achieved in a manner that is sustainable for natural habitats and ecosystems.The industrial revolution gaveContinue reading “Discussing the main issues concerning the compatibility, between the pursuit of economic growth and the pursuit of sustainability.”

POSTnote: The Geographic Expansion of Chronic Wasting Disease.

Overview Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), is a type of Prion disease, which effects members of the Cervidae family (deer).   The disease effects the nervous system of the animal, and causes a spongy degeneration of the brain, resulting in abnormal behaviour, emaciation (wasting), loss of bodily functions, and ultimately death. CWD is highly contagious, currentlyContinue reading “POSTnote: The Geographic Expansion of Chronic Wasting Disease.”

The Population and Foraging Ecology of the Hydrurga leptonyx (Leopard Seal).

The Leopard seal inhabits the Antarctic continent region, and is one of six species of Antarctic seals (Antarctica Guide). It is the second largest of these species, after the Southern Elephant Seal, which is the largest species of seal on earth, but the Hydrurga leptonyx isn’t far behind, as the average body length is aroundContinue reading “The Population and Foraging Ecology of the Hydrurga leptonyx (Leopard Seal).”

Examining the statement ‘By 1918 liberalism had simply had its day’.

Depending on which definition of liberalism you refer to, this question could have two different answers; the parliamentary liberal party and the ideological creed of liberalism have fared enormously dissimilarly since the events of 1918.The ideology of liberalism was arguably born from the Enlightenment of the 18th century, on the core values of individualism andContinue reading “Examining the statement ‘By 1918 liberalism had simply had its day’.”

Discussing ‘Reduce, Re-use, Recycle’ in relation to the Evolution of the Vertebrates.

At first, the maxim ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ may seem unrelated or tenuous to apply to the evolution of the subphyla known as the vertebrates, or Vertebrata. This slogan is typically used in relation to environmental issues, as the 3R’s of sustainable development. However, natural selection and evolution can be viewed as a form of sustainableContinue reading “Discussing ‘Reduce, Re-use, Recycle’ in relation to the Evolution of the Vertebrates.”

POSTnote: Is the current emphasis on ‘natural capital’ simply monetising nature?

Overview: ‘Natural capital’ is often broadly defined as the Earth’s stocks of resources. Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services are intrinsically linked. “The term ‘capital’ is used to describe a stock or resource from which revenue or yield can be extracted” (6). Therefore, Natural Capital is the pool of resources that we draw from, in orderContinue reading “POSTnote: Is the current emphasis on ‘natural capital’ simply monetising nature?”

Explaining the structural and functional basis of how the vestibular system works, even in the absence of visual cues.

The vestibular system is located in the inner ear of humans and other mammals, and is one of our sensory systems; it contributes to our sense of balance, spatial understanding, as well as sensations of speed and inertia. The senses enabled by this system are collectively named equilibrioception. A rough illustration of the basic structureContinue reading “Explaining the structural and functional basis of how the vestibular system works, even in the absence of visual cues.”

Explaining the steps of neuronal differentiation, and the mechanisms ensuring that neurons in different areas of the cerebral cortex have different form and function?

After gamete fertilization, the zygote goes through a series of developmental stages over time, and as cell proliferation occurs, they specialize and group together, to form tissues and organs with specific functions. This process is complex and requires many factors to work in synchrony.In the case of the nervous system, the neurons themselves must firstContinue reading “Explaining the steps of neuronal differentiation, and the mechanisms ensuring that neurons in different areas of the cerebral cortex have different form and function?”

Can economic games teach us about reducing the likelihood of Tragedy of the Commons?

The tragedy of the commons (TOC) is an environmental and economic theory, first described by William Forster Lloyd, and later brought to the public eye by Garrett Hardin. The logic behind this theory is premised on the accepted understanding of human nature being rational, self-interested beings. The ‘commons’ are defined as any shared resource, ofContinue reading “Can economic games teach us about reducing the likelihood of Tragedy of the Commons?”

Comparing cooperative hunting techniques, in which the hunters are complementary versus non-complementary.

Many predatory species have relationships that enable a wider variety of hunting strategies. These interactions can be interspecific, such as with Moray Eels and Groupers, or intraspecific, when packs of Wild Dogs work together to take down a prey item much larger than they could manage alone. Complementary cooperative hunting refers to a strategy whereContinue reading “Comparing cooperative hunting techniques, in which the hunters are complementary versus non-complementary.”

Research Proposal: Investigating links between Primary Rainforest Loss and the Zoonotic Disease Ebolavirus.

Introduction & Rationale of project: This study investigates the link between loss of primary rainforest habitat in Liberia and the increased risk of zoonotic diseases.We are targeting 3 bat species, as suspected disease reservoirs leading to human transmission of Ebolavirus (1) and will be comparing their infection rate in two locations: a primary rainforest inContinue reading “Research Proposal: Investigating links between Primary Rainforest Loss and the Zoonotic Disease Ebolavirus.”

Defining three subtypes of motor neuron disease at the clinical, neuropathological, and genetic levels.

Abstract: This paper details 3 subtypes of sporadic motor neuron disease (MND): Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Primary Lateral Sclerosis, and Progressive Muscular Atrophy. We discuss these diseases in depth, investigating the clinical, neuropathological, and genetic characteristics of each.The term ‘clinical’ refers to the range of symptoms being exhibited by the patient, which aid in diagnosis andContinue reading “Defining three subtypes of motor neuron disease at the clinical, neuropathological, and genetic levels.”

Do Fig Plants limit ‘cheating’ in their mutualistic relationship with Wasps?

Mutualisms, in which individuals of different species help each other, are common. For example, bees pollinate flowers from which they obtain nectar. But some bees take nectar without pollinating and some flowers don’t provide nectar. There are two main ways that a mutualism partner may cheat. First, by not playing its part. Second, by takingContinue reading “Do Fig Plants limit ‘cheating’ in their mutualistic relationship with Wasps?”

Why should conservation biologists consider the interaction between tropical rainforest conservation and human health?

The practice of preserving ecosystems, species, and habitats serves to benefit humans in the future for a variety of reasons: firstly economic, through the ecosystem services we receive from natural resources; secondly environmental stability provided by natural systems such as trees as flood barriers and air purifiers, and the equilibrium of pristine ecosystems maintaining themselves;Continue reading “Why should conservation biologists consider the interaction between tropical rainforest conservation and human health?”

Evaluating the use of semiochemicals to modify the behaviour of natural enemies in attempts to control insect crop pests.

Introduction: The connections between plants and animals drive countless trophic interactions. These interactions fall into 4 main categories: mutualism, commensalism, antagonism, and competition. Most animals depend on plants, whether directly, through shelter and food, or indirectly as predators upon herbivores and other animals lower in the trophic system. Furthermore, the majority of carbon and solarContinue reading “Evaluating the use of semiochemicals to modify the behaviour of natural enemies in attempts to control insect crop pests.”

Which mammals could we (re)introduce to a hypothetical 8,000km2 Pleistocene rewilding project in Europe?

Overview: ‘Rewilding’ is a concept in conservation biology generally defined as the idea of restoring an ecosystem to more natural historical state. The concept is based on the surrender of human influence over an environment, as natural equilibriums and trophic interactions are left to run their course.There are distinct schools of thought within this, whichContinue reading “Which mammals could we (re)introduce to a hypothetical 8,000km2 Pleistocene rewilding project in Europe?”

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