Life Sciences (new)
THCE Wednesdays 1000-1200 weekly from 18th Oct (5 sessions)
Conveners: Colin & Judith Finn Tim Flowers
Note: Changed venue, day and frequency.
Coffee and Tea
Because of the change to the new larger venue, we are no longer able to offer tea or coffee in the break at about 11.00 am. We suggest that you bring your own.
18th October: "Geology, History and Puzzles of Sussex Botany"
David Streeter (Emeritus Reader in Ecology, the University of Sussex and President of the Sussex Wildlife Trust)
David will outline the geology of the Sussex countryside and give a resume of the history of Sussex botany, outlining some outstanding puzzles. In particular, there are a number of distinctive features of the Sussex flora that on the face of it provide an interesting challenge to explanation. These include the occurrence in the High Weald of a number of species more characteristic of upland and western Britain, the patchy distribution of some chalk down species and the absence of others and the origins of the single-species coppices of much of the county's woodlands.
He will try to resolve some of these puzzles!
25th October: "The 21st Century Struggle to Keep Fit"
Professor Jonathan Doust (Professor of Exercise Physiology, University of Brighton)
The struggle to control obesity and keep fit and active is perhaps the biggest public health issue of the 21st century. Modern society is so labour-saving and routine levels of activity are so low that health suffers. As a nation, obesity continues to become more prevalent and our increasing lifespan makes it even more important to maintain fitness. People worry endlessly about the calories they consume with a new wonder diet or low-calorie wonder food appearing every week. But perhaps more attention should be paid to energy out as much as energy in. How much exercise do we need to do to maintain weight and gain health benefits? Are health clubs the solution? Did the London and Rio Olympics inspire a generation, boost sports and exercise participation or were the big events, such as the 100m sprint, more a case of 10 athletes watched by 10 million being couch potatoes?
This lecture will consider the quandary between the fact that everyone knows that exercise is good, yet most people do too little. What can be done.
1st November: "Sex, Drugs and Sewage"
Dr Elizabeth Hill (Emeritus Professor in Life Sciences, the University of Sussex)
We live in an environment containing hundreds of chemicals used in our daily life, yet we know very little of their impact of exposures on human or wildlife health. In this talk, Elizabeth will give examples of where exposures to chemical contaminants, or their mixtures, have caused unforeseen health effects in wildlife. She will also discuss the problems faced by scientists of predicting whether an environmental chemical will cause harm and their concern that the human foetus may be exposed to certain contaminants that result in irreversible health effects in later life.
8th November: "The Blue Tit"
Dr Martyn Stenning (Retired from the School of Life Sciences, the University of Sussex)
Blue tits are one of our best known garden birds, but also much studied within academia. This talk will reveal where they came from over evolutionary and biological time. Blue tits are feisty, gymnastic, aggressive, punching well above their weight. Blue tits use family planning, but are one of the few European birds that are increasing in number and range. This talk will reveal how they are doing this. Blue tits are distinguished by having the widest range and potentially largest clutch sizes of all Passerine birds, why is this so?
This talk will reveal research that explains this and many other intriguing facts about this popular bird that you thought you were familiar with.
15th November: "The Evolution of Eyes"
Mike Land (Emeritus Professor of Life Sciences, the University of Sussex. Fellow of the Royal Society) Animal eyes make use of about eight different kinds of optical system. Before about 540 million years ago, there were animals with photoreceptive cells, but no eyes we would recognise. Then, in the Cambrian Period, two fundamentally different types of eye evolved: compound eyes in which the receptive elements are directed outwards from a convex part of the head, and ‘simple’ eyes, like our own, in which the receptors line the base of a concave pit. A ‘visual arms race’ developed in which both predators and prey needed better eyesight to detect each other, and eyes with good resolution evolved rapidly. Both simple and compound eyes make use of optical systems based on pinholes, lenses of various kinds, and mirrors.
In this talk, Mike will explore some of the more interesting of these systems, looking at the biology of the animals that use them, and the physical principles involved