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The Importance of Size in the Evolution of Complexity in Ants

Tue, 16 Sep 2014 10:14:37 +0000

Ants are amongst the most abundant and successful species on Earth. They live in complex, cooperative societies, construct elaborate homes and exhibit many of the hallmarks of our own society. Some ants farm crops, others tend livestock. Many species have a major impact on the ecosystems they live in, dispersing seeds, consuming huge quantities of […]

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Understanding Catfish Colonisation and Diversification in The Great African Lakes

Fri, 05 Sep 2014 10:29:42 +0000

Why some regions or habitats contain vast, diverse communities of species, whilst others contain only relatively few species, continues to be the subject of scientific research attempting to understand the processes and conditions that allow and adaptive radiation. The Great African Lakes exist as freshwater ‘islands’, with spectacularly high levels of biodiversity and endemism. They […]

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Sex Differentiation Begins During Early Development

Wed, 27 Aug 2014 14:04:57 +0000

Males and females look different from each other, and these sexual dimorphisms are the result, largely, of sex differences in the expression of certain genes. Typically, scientists have studied sexual dimorphism in sexually mature adult animals, as this is the lifestage where differences are most apparent. However, many sex-specific phenotypes arise from sex-biased development, so […]

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Extinction and Species Declines:Defaunation in the Anthropocene

Mon, 18 Aug 2014 10:35:52 +0000

We are in the grips of a mass extinction. There have been mass extinctions throughout evolutionary history, what makes this one different is that we’re the ones causing it. A recent review paper from GEE’s Dr Ben Collen discusses the current loss of biodiversity and suggests that our main concerns are species and population declines, […]

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Defaunation in the Anthropocene
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Evolving Endemism in East Africa’s Sky Islands

Fri, 08 Aug 2014 14:16:32 +0000

The World’s biodiversity is not evenly distributed. Some regions are hot spots for species richness, and biologists have been trying better to understand why these regions are special and what drives evolution and diversification. A recent paper by GEE’s Dr Julia Day and recent PhD graduate Dr Siobhan Cox, investigated the diversification of White-Eye Birds […]

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We are Green Champions!

13 January 2011

UCL’s GEE staff and students are passionate about green issues and wish to do our best to help preserve the environment.  The following are Green Champions in GEE:

  • Professor Max Telford (Darwin Building)    
  • Dr Paola Oliveri (Darwin Building)   
  • Jane Dempster, Executive Officer to the HoRD, GEE (Wolfson House)  
  • Student Green Champion to be advised shortly
  • Please contact any of them with your green ideas!
  • Green Champions will attend and participate in plenary meetings of the Green Champions’ network and other smaller, local Green groups (for instance, those which might be set up in relation to particular UCL buildings/sites).

Message from Professor Stephen Smith, Chair of the Environmental Sustainability Steering Group, UCL, more

The UCL Environment website gives further information and outlines UCL's Green plan of action.

Please read UCL's Environment Sustainability Policy.

Here are some ways we are playing our part, more

OTHER USEFUL WEBSITES:

WASTE MANAGEMENT HELPDESK

WASTE MANAGEMENT: UCL Q&A

GEE staff and students take part enthusiastically in the UCL Recycling scheme, whereby all waste is recycled apart from:

  • food;
  • teabags;
  • polystyrene;
  • used tissues.

Ideas on avoiding wasting food can be found on the useful Love food, hate waste website.

In February 2010, UCL rolled out a bin initiative.  There are now dual action bins in the Quad: one side is for general waste and one for recycling.  In offices, small underdesk bins are being replaced by large bins – but there will be fewer of them on each floor.  Grey bins are for recycling matter and black ones are for waste matter.  Bins are labelled, but Estates & Facilities are working on producing clearer labels for the tops of bins. 

The success of the initiative will depend upon the bins being used correctly.  Careless disposal of food waste into the recycling bins can lead to an entire load of otherwise recyclable waste being sent to landfill, which defeats the object of the exercise.  Similarly, putting recyclable waste into the black bins will reduce the level of recycling achieved.  If the bins are used properly, it should be possible to recycle around 80% of office waste and so we have a very real opportunity to help to improve UCL’s environmental performance.

Evidently, there are a number of advantages: less office space is taken up by bins, the office looks prettier without a bin at every desk, and less cleaning time is required to empty them.  Staff need to save up waste and recycling matter and then deliver it to the appropriate bin.  However, this provides a good opportunity to give eyes a break from the computer screen and legs a break from desk-chairs! 

Waste Management

How are we doing? As at May 2010, UCL produced around 12 tons of waste of all types every working day.  The following figures are examples of what is generated for disposal each month:

Recyclable materials – 140 tons: paper, cardboard, cans, plastic mixed waste – 90 tons; polystyrene, food, electricals including computers – 3 tons; confidential waste – 5 tons; glass - 1.5 tons; hazardous waste - 20 tons.

UCL is re-using, or recycling, over 60% of this waste each month, assisted by the new dual compartment external waste bins.

What Happens Next?

UCL is committed to re-using and recycling as much waste as possible and is launching the following initiatives:

Batteries: brightly coloured battery bins are coming soon around the campus for the collection and recycling of batteries.

Food waste: we are now collecting food waste from the main kitchen.  In the first two months of this operation, we have diverted 0.4 tons of waste from landfill and converted this into energy equivalent to 48 KW or boiling 25 kettles for 1 hour!

Compost: new wooden compost bins have been introduced to enable our grounds maintenance staff to dispose of grass cuttings and leaves on site. This time next year, we hope to have converted this summer’s grounds waste into compost which can then be put back into the flower beds and planters around the campus.

Zero landfill: all material previously collected at the Bloomsbury Campus and disposed of in landfill will be diverted to a new energy from waste plant, from January 2011.  From January 2011, UCL will put nothing into landfill.

Page last modified on 13 jan 11 18:01