Science Cafe, Adam Walton

Series 5: Prog 19: 23/08/09

Last updated: 21 August 2009

This week, a progress report on the efforts to rescue the freshwater pearl mussel from extinction in Wales. How men and women's preferences for the design and colour of websites links to how our ancestors saw the world. There's an insight from Aberystwyth into the way birds vary their song depending on how noisy their location is. We also delve into quantum theories to explain human behaviour.

Pulling mussels from the edge

The freshwater pearl mussel, once a common sight in our rivers, has been facing extinction for many years due to a combination of poor water quality and, in the past, pearl fishing. Three years ago, scientists with the Environment Agency Wales began breeding the mussels in captivity to help turn around their fortunes. Biodiversity expert Huw Jones updates us on the progress of the project.

Website preferences

The differing preferences that men and women have for the colours and design of websites, and the way that we prefer websites designed by our own gender, is a modern day example of a phenomenon that can be observed in the artwork of our cave dwelling ancestors. Gloria Moss, author of " Gender, Design & Marketing" (Gower) discusses her research and its implications for the modern commercial world.

Pitching their tweets

Research by scientists at IBERS at Aberystwyth University has shown that great tits from urban areas sing at a higher pitch than their rural counterparts. Dr Rupert Marshall from IBERS joins the programme to outline why the birds have adapted their song, and the potential problems that urban noise can cause them.

Qunatum behaviour

Scientists in both Wales and America have been working on a way to model human behaviour using the principles of quantum probability. Adam Walton talks to Emmanuel Pothos from Swansea University about this intruguing way of looking at how we behave.

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