Events

Science in the Pub: Salt marshes, brains, flies...

Thursday 14th October 2021 7:30 PM
Location/Venue: Blue Ball Inn Sidmouth EX10 9QL

Image gallery

Beer: image by Here and Now.

King's College London and Plover Rovers scientists will chat about UK salt marshes, growing brains and how a fly that cannot fly is teaching us about nervous systems.

Scott Gudrich from Plover Rovers joins us to talk about Carbon capture in UK salt marshes. Natural wetlands, including salt marshes, can help offset climate change by storing carbon in their soils. At the same time wetland soils respire methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide which are all major greenhouse gases. It was thought that because salt marshes are frequently covered by the tide, the salt in the sea water would reduce the activity of methane producing bacteria and the decomposition of organic matter and therefore the production of greenhouse gases, and methane in particular.

Jonathan Clark from King’s College, London discusses whether we can, and should we grow human brains in a dish. Many labs world wide are making advances in growing mini brains from human stem cells. He'll discuss what they are doing, how far they have advanced and why they are doing it. The audience may have views on whether this is a good idea!

Connor J Sproston from King’s College, London tells us how a fly, that can’t fly, is teaching us about the evolution of nervous systems. Insects have conquered almost every corner of our planet and with that evolved to be a massively diverse group of organisms. I’ll be talking about how we are taking a comparative approach and using this diversity to help reveal something fundamental about how all insects build their nervous systems. We are asking the questions ‘How have insects brains changed during evolution?’ and ‘What processes are changing them?’