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Based on size alone, bats should live around four years but in fact they can reach the age of 40. Image credit - https://www.pikist.com/licenced under CC0
Based on size alone, bats should live around four years but in fact they can reach the age of 40. Image credit - https://www.pikist.com/licenced under CC0
Based on size alone, bats should live around four years but in fact they can reach the age of 40. Image credit — https://www.pikist.com/licenced under CC0

Bats stave off infections and ageing. What could humans learn from these abilities?

by Aisling Irwin

Bats are in the limelight these days because they are rumoured to be the source of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that caused the coronavirus pandemic. But that is just part of their story. Bats turn out to be miraculous creatures. Their ability to age without decrepitude or cancer, as well as fight off a multitude of infections, are giving us clues about how to do the same for ourselves.

Professor Emma Teeling is co-founder of Bat 1K, an initiative to sequence the genomes of all bat species. …


Wearable electronics powered by the user's own body heat could help tackle the issue of how to storage energy. Image credit - pxhere.com/licenced under CC0
Wearable electronics powered by the user's own body heat could help tackle the issue of how to storage energy. Image credit - pxhere.com/licenced under CC0
Wearable electronics powered by the user’s own body heat could help tackle the issue of how to storage energy. Image credit — pxhere.com/licenced under CC0

Researchers are harnessing the thermoelectric effect.

by Sarah Wild

Thanks to rapid computing developments in the last decade and the miniaturisation of electronic components, people can, for example, track their movements and monitor their health in real time by wearing tiny computers. Researchers are now looking at how best to power these devices by turning to the user’s own body heat and working with garments, polka dots and know-how from the textile industry.

The wearable electronics market is expected to grow to €53bn by 2025, but it is dominated by one product — smartwatches. Outside of this, there are many products in ‘starting position’, said Dr Matthias Fahland of the Fraunhofer FEP in Germany. …


Mesophotic coral ecosystems, found 30-150m below the sea in tropical and subtropical regions, could make up half of all reefs worldwide but there is little known about them. Image credit - Gal Eyal
Mesophotic coral ecosystems, found 30-150m below the sea in tropical and subtropical regions, could make up half of all reefs worldwide but there is little known about them. Image credit - Gal Eyal
Mesophotic coral ecosystems, found 30–150m below the sea in tropical and subtropical regions, could make up half of all reefs worldwide but there is little known about them. Image credit — Gal Eyal

Scientists are studying past conditions to understand which corals migrated to deeper waters.

by Gareth Willmer

In three decades of diving at locations including the Red Sea and Great Barrier Reef, Gal Eyal has seen coral reefs transform in front of his eyes.

‘The change is tremendous,’ said Dr Eyal, a marine ecologist at Bar-Ilan University in Israel and the University of Queensland in Australia. ‘I was at the Great Barrier Reef for the first time in 2004 … When you dive down and see this coral bleaching, it’s crazy. You see all the reef that you used to see colourful and full of fish all bleached and white … and it’s like a graveyard.’

A major environmental puzzle in recent years has been how to mitigate the devastating impact that climate change, pollution and other human effects are having on coral reefs — with huge losses already, and alarming forecasts that 70% to 90% of existing reefs may die in the next 20 years. …

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Horizon

The EU research & innovation magazine

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