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Department of Geography




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# NERC PhD studentships

Details of new NERC PhD studentships have been published. The Department of Geography/Scott Polar Research Institute is part of the interdisciplinary, interdepartmental, Cambridge Climate, Life and Earth Doctoral Training Programme (C-CLEAR DTP). The DTP has fifteen 3.5 year NERC studentships to award to successful candidates each year, for PhDs commencing 2019 to 2023.

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# Camera traps designed for animals are now invading human privacy

Writing in The Conversation, Rogelio Luque-Lora, Bill Adams and Chris Sandbrook argue that camera traps are a very useful conservation tool but can harm human wellbeing and create conflict. The implications of camera trap technology for people's privacy and well-being need to be more widely and openly discussed, and good practice shared. Conservation projects need to make sure they have proper protocols in place to minimise social impacts and stop useful wildlife research tools from damaging both the short and long-term success of wildlife conservation projects.

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# Urban Ecologies: the Launch

This week will see the launch of Dr Maan Barua's ERC Horizon 2020 Starting Grant Project 'Urban ecologies: governing nonhuman life in global cities'. On the 21 Nov there will be an evening launch with a keynote by Prof Sarah Whatmore, FBA (University of Oxford) on 'Convivial Cities?', followed by lectures by Prof Ash Amin, FBA ('The metropolis and mental health), Prof Matthew Gandy, FBA ('From other-than-human to forensic ecologies') and Dr Philip Howell ('The trouble with liminanimals').

On Thursday 22 November this will be followed by a one-day workshop on Urban Ecologies: Feral, Cultivated, Wild, convened by Dr Maan Barua and Dr Philip Howell, which will focus on nonhuman life in the city, and how it might be understood through inter- and intra-disciplinary perspectives including human geography, behavioural ecology, ethology and urban studies. The workshop is supported by the ERC Horizon 2020 Urban Ecologies project, in conjunction with the Infrastructural Geographies and Vital Geographies Research Groups.

# What's the best way to sample a tree ring?

A new paper by a team involving Alexander Kirdyanov, Ulf Buengten, Paul Krusic and Alma Piermattei explores the best way to take samples in tree ring research. Working with examples from 20 trees in northern Siberia, the team have found that disc samples are often quicker, extend further back in time and contain more low frequency information than cores. This means the samples are better at helping us reconstruct past climates.

# Why conservation success stories in Tanzania need a closer look

Ray Rui Unsplash

A team involving PhD student Peadar Brehony explores the impact of new community-based conservation projects in Tanzania- and their sometimes limited success. Writing in The Conversation, the group are urging researchers, non-governmental organisations, funders, and the media to consider more carefully how their work affects rural communities and how to measure their ecological impact in more complex ways.

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# Methods for protecting England’s coastal communities ‘not fit for purpose’

Professor of Coastal Geography Tom Spencer and Professor Gerd Masselink from the University of Plymouth say evidence suggests there should be far stricter controls on coastal developments in a statement issued by Cambridge University today. Drawing from the Committee on Climate Change's Managing the coast in a changing climate report, they advocate for the use of Coastal Change Management Areas (CCMAs) as part of a coherent national policy to better protect our coastlines now and for future generations.

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# Online atlas explores north-south divide in childbirth and child mortality during Victorian era

A new interactive online atlas, which illustrates when, where and possibly how fertility rates began to fall in England and Wales during the Victorian era has been made freely available from today.

The Populations Past website is part of the Atlas of Victorian Fertility Decline research project run by Dr Alice Reid in collaboration with the University of Essex. It displays various demographic and socio-economic measures calculated from census data gathered between 1851 and 1911, a period which saw immense social and economic change as the population of the UK more than doubled, from just under 18 million to over 36 million, and industrialisation and urbanisation both increased rapidly.

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# Counting whales from space

The research of Cambridge and British Antarctic Survey PhD student Hannah Cubaynes, using high resolution satellite images to count whales from space in remote spaces, has been featured on BBC News and the Today Programme (1 Nov 2018). Hannah and the team at Cambridge and the British Antarctic Survey used detailed high-resolution satellite images provided by Maxar Technologies' DigitalGlobe, to detect, count and describe four different species of whales. This groundbreaking work will allow us to map whales more effectively in remote parts of the world.

Hannah explains:

"This is the most detailed imagery of whales captured by satellites to date. It's exciting that the improved resolution (now at 30 cm) reveals characteristic features, such as flippers and flukes, which can be seen in the images for the first time. Whales live in all oceans. Many areas are difficult to access by boats or planes, the traditional means of monitoring whales. The ability to track whales without travelling to these remote and inaccessible areas, in a cost-effective way, will be of great benefit to conservation efforts for whales."

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# Cambridge Geographer wins creative writing award

Congratulations to PhD student Misbah Aamir who has been jointly awarded the Girton Rima Alamuddin Prize for Creative Writing- on top of finishing her PhD dissertation! Congratulations Misbah!

# Geography Graduate Open Day: Friday 2 Nov

On Friday 2 November, the Department of Geography will be taking part in the University of Cambridge Graduate Open Day. Come to the Department from 2pm to meet current students and from 3pm to hear talks by staff on the MPhil and PhD courses we offer both here and at the Scott Polar Research Institute.

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