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Environment

The Duke of Edinburgh heard how Cardiff University researchers are conducting groundbreaking research to control world-wide pests without harming the environment.

Dr Bill Symondson explained how a new project, in collaboration with several companies and research institutions, was looking at the problem of slugs and other invertebrates, which destroy millions of pounds worth of crops each year in the UK alone.

"He asked about the New Zealand flatworm, which has now been introduced to Britain, " said Dr Symondson. "And he took an interest in the beetles and other pests which we had on display."

The Duke of Edinburgh heard how Cardiff scientists are pursuing a two-pronged attack on the pests, with novel chemical reduced pesticides and other non-chemical techniques.

Professor Ivor Bowen explained how he is working with collaborators on programmed cell death in insect development and induced cell death in human tumour cell lines.

The Duke, accompanied by the University President, the Rt Hon Neil Kinnock, saw the work of several project teams based in the School of Biosciences, focusing on environmental concerns. The visit was led by the Director of the School, Professor Martin Evans FRS.

The Duke of Edinburgh was particularly interested in Dr Mike Bruford's research which involves collecting DNA from faeces and hair traces left by endangered species, such as the lowland gorilla and Sumatran orang utan.

Mr Kinnock remarked that he and The Duke had "both mastered the shedding hair stage. "

The research is designed to find ways of saving these and other threatened species around the world by improving our understanding of primate societies and how behaviour and reproduction correlate with social and genetic structures.

The Duke, President Emeritus of WWF, also heard from PhD students Zoe Masters and Heike Rothfritz, how the Catchment Research Group led by Dr Steve Ormerod, is analysing the effects of acidification, the ecology of river and wetland birds and river conservation. 

The Duke of Edinburgh hears of the damaged done to crops by slugs.

Slugs don't only eat our garden plants, they also munch their way through millions of pounds of crops each year. Leading a two pronged attack in invertebrate ecology are Professor Ivor Bowen and Dr Bill Symondson (centre).

Prince Philip learns a little more about the work being done in support of the preservation of endangered species.

Prince Philip learns a little more about the work being done in support of the preservation of endangered species.

Rothfritz and Masters explaining their work to the Duke of Edinburgh.

Ms Heike Rothfritz and Ms Zoe Masters (back to camera) PhD students in Dr Steve Ormerod's Catchment Area Research Group explain their work to Prince Philip and Neil Kinnock.