Fit for Front Line

Fit for Front Line


Fit for the frontline? New study identifies the hearing requirements of British soldiers

University of Southampton researchers, with assistance from the Ministry of Defence, have conducted the first study to identify the hearing requirements of British soldiers fighting on the frontline. The study, which provides an important and novel insight into the frontline experiences of British infantry personnel, identified 17 ‘auditory tasks’, such as ‘hearing grid references’ and ‘locating enemy movement in maize fields’, carried out on operational duties abroad.

By identifying these tasks, researchers will be able to develop a new auditory fitness for duty test to determine the impact of hearing loss among infantry personnel and ensure that personnel are given appropriate training and equipment before deployment.

Southampton news

World’s largest student motorsport competition

University of Southampton students gear up for world’s largest student motorsport competition

University of Southampton students are on track for the world’s biggest student motorsport competition at Silverstone from 9-13 July.

A team of over 100 University of Southampton students is building a car to race against 114 teams from 38 different countries at Formula Student 2014. The competition - run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers - challenges student engineers to design, build and race a single seat racing car.

“It’s an opportunity to apply the skills I’ve learned during my time at university, and to design and build something which can be used in the real world,” says James Le Hoax, Team Leader of SUFST (Southampton University Formula Student Team). “One of the biggest challenges in Formula Student is the time scale; we start designing the car at the beginning of the academic year in September to race the following July. That gives us just over nine months to completely design and build a new car.”

Rise and fall of prehistoric penguin populations

Rise and fall of prehistoric penguin populations charted

A study of how penguin populations have changed over the last 30,000 years has shown that between the last ice age and up to around 1,000 years ago penguin populations benefitted from climate warming and retreating ice. This suggests that recent declines in penguins may be because ice is now retreating too far or too fast.

An international team, led by scientists from the Universities of Southampton and Oxford, has used a genetic technique to estimate when current genetic diversity arose in penguins and to recreate past population sizes. Looking at the 30,000 years before human activity impacted the climate, as Antarctica gradually warmed, they found that three species of penguin; Chinstrap, Adélie and southern populations of Gentoo penguins increased in numbers. In contrast, Gentoo penguins on the Falkland Islands were relatively stable, as they were not affected by large changes in ice extent.

artists in Southampton

The Light Fantastic

Back in 2005, award winning graphic designer and illustrator, Alison Bates swapped her London career as an advertising art director for a better quality of life by the sea. As enthusiastic scuba diving instructors and sailor, Alison and her family decided living near Hamble was a no brainer. But it’s the light along the coast that has really launched Alison’s creative boat.

Alison has always produced illustrations as part of her job in advertising and marketing. As her drawings have been predominantly computer generated vector graphics, it’s only recently she has discovered the joys of putting pen to paper. Or to be more precise, finger to screen. Alison has been exploring the iPad sketching app ‘Paper’ used by creatives the world over to jot down quick ideas, which has lead to a whole new portfolio of watercolour style sketches.

jelly fish in Dorset

World’s first global jellyfish database

Marine scientists use JeDI to create world’s first global jellyfish database

An international study, led by the University of Southampton, has led to the creation of the world’s first global database of jellyfish records to map jellyfish populations in the oceans.

Scientific and media debate regarding future trends, and subsequent ecological, biogeochemical and societal impacts, of jellyfish and jellyfish blooms in a changing ocean is hampered by a lack of information about jellyfish biomass and distribution from which to compare.

To address this knowledge gap, scientists used the Jellyfish Database Initiative, or JeDI, to map jellyfish biomass in the upper 200m of the world’s oceans and explore the underlying environmental causes driving the observed patterns of distribution.


New state-of-the-art communication network

University consortium receives funding to develop state-of-the-art communication network

The University of Southampton is part of a consortium that has been awarded £2.5 million to develop a national infrastructure that will allow experimentation on future internet technologies.

The UK Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) has provided the funding for a new National Dark Fibre Infrastructure Service (NDFIS), which will enable the University’s researchers to access a dark fibre network, using dedicated optical fibre connections.


The Boutique Box Warehouse

The Boutique Box Warehouse - Europe’s largest indoor shipping container boutique warehouse, is opening it’s doors this summer!

Macerich UK are opening a series of new indoor pop-up style warehouse shopping malls across the UK. The first of which opens to the public this July in Southampton.

“The Boutique Box Warehouse is a brand new concept in local street trading that encompasses the thrill of bargain hunt shopping with the exciting feel of urban street chic retail – all within a warm and dry eclectic style warehouse”. Says Pascal Molliere, UK Sales Director. “We are the first in the UK to use industrial style steel shipping containers as custom designed retail units within a huge indoor space. It enables small businesses to test new products, sell at competitive prices and develop their brands, without it costing a fortune to rent an expensive shop and pay expensive rates etc”.

Local Southampton News

People with higher bonuses don’t give more to charity

Research by economists at the University of Southampton has shown people who receive higher bonuses are less likely to give to charity than those on lower earnings.

The study by Dr Mirco Tonin and Dr Michael Vlassopoulos shows higher earners are less inclined to give, and donate a similar share of their money compared to those on lower incomes.

The researchers also found that people getting high bonuses tended to attribute their windfall to their own hard work or achievement, even if in fact it was actually just down to good fortune.

going out Southampton

Biochar stimulates more plant growth but less plant defence

New study finds biochar stimulates more plant growth but less plant defence.

In the first study of its kind, research undertaken at the University of Southampton has cast significant doubt over the use of biochar to alleviate climate change.

Biochar is produced when wood is combusted at high temperatures to make bio-oil and has been proposed as a method of geoengineering. When buried in the soil, this carbon rich substance could potentially lock-up carbon and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The global potential of biochar is considered to be large, with up to 12 percent of emissions reduced by biochar soil application.

Is laughter the best medicine?

Is laughter the best medicine?

Cartoons could help patients cope with their chronic conditions.

Researchers from the University of Southampton have shown that cartoons could be a beneficial way of educating patients and empowering them to cope better with their long term conditions.

“Humour is frequently and naturally used by people with chronic illnesses to help them adjust and understand what is happening to them,” explains Associate Professor Dr Anne Kennedy, who led the study. “Our study has shown that cartoons could provide clarity to patients and be a way to engage with them. It is an untapped resource and could be a potential approach to support self-management.”

Cartoons are already used in patient information but the content is sourced from health professionals rather than directly from patient experience, a unique aspect of the Southampton study.

southampton news

Blood test may help predict if a child will become obese...

Blood test may help predict whether a child will become obese

Scientists have found that a simple blood test, which can read DNA, could be used to predict obesity levels in children.

Researchers at the Universities of Southampton, Exeter and Plymouth used the test to assess the levels of epigenetic switches in the PGC1a gene – a gene that regulates fat storage in the body.

Epigenetic switches take place through a chemical change called DNA methylation, which controls how genes work and is set during early life.

southampton news

Children’s activity levels

Children’s activity levels are influenced by how active their mother is, according to new research published in the journal Pediatrics.

The study, from the Medical Research Council Units and the Universities of Southampton and Cambridge, showed that mothers’ activity levels differed depending on her level of education, number of children and weekly working hours. It also showed that many mothers were not meeting the government’s recommended amount of physical activity per week.

Researchers suggest that interventions to increase physical activity in preschool children should include an element which involves the mother, while also targeting specific times of the day, to achieve maximum impact.


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