University of Stirling

Development and External Affairs

Media

 

News Archive

December 2006

Christmas Buzz

Laws of Attraction

University of Stirling to Open Northern Ireland's First Dementia Centre

 

Christmas Buzz

Date released: Monday 11 December 2006

Buff-tailed bumblebee wearing santa hat.This festive season, keep an eye and ear out for something unusual. The buzz of bumblebees flying amongst flowers is normally associated with a summer’s day. But now it can be heard throughout much of Britain in the depths of winter, when all sensible insects are hibernating.

Driven by climate change, and by planting of exotic garden plants that flower through the winter, one species of bumblebee seems to have given up hibernating altogether. The buff-tailed bumblebee is a typical large yellow-and-black stripy bumblebee. Like other bumblebees, it is only normally seen from about April to September, spending the autumn and winter asleep underground. But for a few years now, confused bees have been seen in winter on the south coast of England.

This winter, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust based at University of Stirling has been sent reports of winter bumblebees as far north as Nottingham and York, suggesting that the phenomenon has spread several hundred miles northwards. It seems that, as the climate warms and winters become much milder, the bees are taking advantage and trying to breed through the year. So this year, if you feel the need for a bit of fresh air after your Christmas lunch, give the Queen’s speech a miss and go out into the garden and see if you can spot a bumblebee.

Professor Dave Goulson, of the University’s School of Biological and Environmental Sciences and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and, said: “At a time when most of our bumblebee species are undergoing devastating declines it is good to hear that at least one species seems to be thriving, and adapting to our changing climate. However, we are concerned that there may be knock-on effects for other rare bee species. We are very keen to hear how far this has spread, and would welcome records from anyone who sees bumblebees in their garden this winter, particularly those in the North of England, Wales or Scotland.”

While the buff-tailed bumblebee is thriving, the picture is not so cheery for other bumblebee species.

Professor Goulson said: "Many bumblebee species are undergoing catastrophic declines across Europe, with three species now extinct in the UK and several more heading that way. The main cause is loss of hay meadows and flower-rich grasslands to intensive agriculture. We can all help by planting wildflowers and cottage-garden flowers such as foxgloves, lupins and lavender in our gardens."

Professor Goulson will give a free public lecture entitled Where have our bumblebees gone? on Wednesday 13 December 2006 at 4.00 - 5.00 pm in the Logie Lecture Theatre, University of Stirling.

Lesley Wilkinson (née Pollock)
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

 

For further information:

 
contact us > > >
address

Professor Dave Goulson

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0)1786 467759


Laws of Attraction

Date released: Monday 18 December 2006

The personality of a potential partner is very important when choosing an individual who we will potentially spend our lives with. Previous research has highlighted that individuals pair up with people who have similar personalities to their own. For example, sociable people pair up with partners who are also sociable.

Intrigued by this finding, University Stirling psychologist Dr Anthony Little has been studying whether individuals make decisions about personality based only on appearance.

Dr Little said: “We generated computer graphic faces based on attractiveness ratings of individuals who differed in their desires in a partner. For example, we blended together all the features of faces that were attractive to people who desired an easy-going partner and all of the features that were attractive to people who did not value this trait. We found that these two faces did differ in perceived personality, indicating that the personality desired in a partner is reflected in face preference. If a trait is desired, then faces perceived to possess that trait are found more attractive than faces which do not possess that trait.”

These findings highlight individual differences in attractiveness judgements – there is no ideal face that is attractive to everybody, though being seen to possess personality traits that are generally attractive may be important in making an individual’s face attractive.

You can take part in online studies of facial attraction at: www.alittlelab.com

Lesley Wilkinson (née Pollock)
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

 

For further information:

 
contact us > > >
address

Dr Anthony Little

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0)1786 467651


University of Stirling to Open Northern Ireland's First Dementia Centre

Date released: Wednesday 20 December 2006

The University of Stirling is to establish a second centre dedicated to dementia. The University’s Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC), which was launched in 2003, is to set up a branch in Northern Ireland early next year. The project was given the green light after winning funding of £293,000 over two years from The Atlantic Philanthropies – following recommendations by the AP’s Advisory Group.

Director of DSDC, Professor June Andrews said: “Northern Ireland is the only region in the UK that does not have a specialist centre for dementia services. There are around 20,000 people in Northern Ireland with dementia and this number will steadily increase and will have doubled by 2040. Educators and health and social care workers have long expressed a keen interest in having a Dementia Centre established in Northern Ireland. At present the region relies on a mixture of importing trainers from organisations in other parts of the UK or sending staff outside Northern Ireland for training.”

The generous grant will fund a dementia centre with specific resources such as education and training, consultancy, library and information services that aim to improve the lives of people with dementia, their carers and families in Northern Ireland.

Professor Andrews added: “We hope to work closely with many organisations including Northern Ireland’s Dementia Forum, Alzheimer’s Society and the Dementia Services Information and Development Centre in Dublin. Our aim is to leave behind an organisation run by local people to meet local needs when we withdraw at the end of the two year project."

DSDC hopes to be able to identify a location for their new office early in February 2007. A formal launch and conference will take place in Northern Ireland in the spring.

Lesley Wilkinson (née Pollock)
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058


For further information:

 
contact us > > >
address

Professor June Andrews

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0)1786 467740