Avon whitebeam, Sorbus avonensis.
Unique plants in Bristol, contraceptives and fish
30 October 2012
This week in the Planet Earth Podcast: how conservationists are using science to help protect rare plants found only in Bristol's Avon Gorge, and are feminised fish changing wild fish populations?
Bristol's Avon Gorge in southwest England is one of the richest botanical sites in Britain. The site is home to 27 nationally rare and scarce plants, some of which are found nowhere else in the world. They include the Bristol, Wilmott's, Avon Gorge, Houston's and Leigh Woods whitebeams. In fact, the gorge has a greater diversity of whitebeams than any other location in the country. It's also the only place in the UK where you can find Bristol rock-cress and Bristol onion growing wild. But, because of their rarity, some of the area's plants are currently on the IUCN Red List of endangered species.
Richard Hollingham meets Simon Hiscock, professor of botany at the University of Bristol, and Mandy Leivers, Avon Gorge & Downs biodiversity education officer to find out about the role science is playing in helping to protect these rare plants.
Later in the podcast, Richard talks to Chris Tyler, professor of environmental biology at the University of Exeter to find out about the work he's doing to find out if fish feminised by man-made oestrogens are adversely affecting wild fish populations.
Click the play button above to listen now.
A full text transcript is available.
Finally, the reasons behind the UK's recent run of wet summers, how humans have been changing the atmosphere for nearly 2000 years, and a new website that makes exploring the tree of life as easy as using an online mapping service.
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