School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Featured News

Man’s earliest ancestors discovered in southern England

Fossils of the oldest mammals related to mankind have been discovered on the Jurassic Coast of Dorset.

The two teeth are from small, rat-like creatures that lived 145 million years ago in the shadow of the dinosaurs. They are the earliest undisputed fossils of mammals belonging to the line that led to human beings.

They are also the ancestors to most mammals alive today, including creatures as diverse as the Blue Whale and the Pigmy Shrew. The findings are published today in the Journal, Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, in a paper by Dr Steve Sweetman, Research Fellow at the University of Portsmouth, and co-authors from the same university. 

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Grant Smith

Leading UK geologist joins forces with India’s top scientists

A UK geologist has shared his knowledge with India’s National Centre for Earth Science Studies as its first international visitor under a new scheme to broaden and deepen the understanding of our planet.

Professor Craig Storey, a geologist and associate head of research in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, was invited to spend two weeks at the Centre in Trivandrum, in Kerala. 

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Portsmouth hosts UK’s largest international disaster response exercise

This year’s SimEx exercise took place across multiple sites for three days and involved about 2,000 people from more than 50 organisations.Those taking part reads like a ‘who’s who’ of emergency response, including:

  • the United Nations
  • the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • the UK Department for International Development (DfID)
  • UK International Search And Rescue (ISAR)
  • the Coastguard
  • the RNLI
  • the Red Cross
  • the UK National Disaster Victim Identification Unit
  • ServeOn
  • Tearfund
  • MapAction, a disaster mapping NGO.

The event is managed by Naomi Morris, who teaches on the University’s MSc Crisis and Disaster Management course in between trips abroad using her expertise in emergency response to help respond to natural and manmade disasters.

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Sim-ex 2017

SEES Professor predicts radiation levels in food

Food in Japan will be contaminated by low-level radioactivity for decades following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, but not at a level which poses a serious risk to human health, according to new research from SEES Professor Jim Smith and Dr Keiko Tagami, from the Japanese National Institute of Radiological Sciences.

Scientists can predict with confidence what the effect of the Japanese disaster has had and will continue to have thanks to a legacy of data on radioactive pollution in the environment after decades of nuclear testing worldwide.

Professor Jim Smith, from the University of Portsmouth, and Dr Keiko Tagami, from the Japanese National Institute of Radiological Sciences, say radiation in the average diet in the region is very low.

The exception is for wild food, such as mushrooms and game animals, where contamination remains high.

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Jim Smith

Risk expert takes part in international forum

The potentially devastating effects of climate change and increasing global population were among subjects discussed at an international forum attended by a Portsmouth risk expert.

Dr Richard Teeuw – coordinator of the University of Portsmouth’s MSc in Crisis and Disaster Management course – was among delegates attending the Understanding Risk forum in Venice earlier this month.

The event saw almost 700 international delegates, including academic experts, discussing aspects of risk in the modern world.

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understanding risk forum