Telling the Beavers

You may have seen recently some talk about the reintroduction of certain animals into the UK. There are a few animals you might never have realised were native to the UK, such as lynx and bears, the white-tailed eagle, and the ridiculously cute pine marten (seriously, look at them!). Well, we’ve just started work on a project alongside our Ecology and Environmental friends at Teesside for the Forestry Commission investigating a new beaver enclosure!

You must answer the riddle to pass the beaver’s dam (image: BBC)

A beaver’s paradise

Within just a year, what started as a small stream passing through the private woodlands has now become home to two beavers, their four new-born kits (yeah, I wish they were called babe-eavers too) and this massive pond teeming with new aquatic life! And to think, you used to be able to stroll through here without needing overalls and a raft just a year ago…

Fancy a quick dip? This guacamole pond is much deeper than it looks!

Why do we give a dam?

Beavers have a pretty well-known habit of building dams. Did you know that a major reason for this is winter survival? The deep water behind the dam doesn’t freeze the whole depth, allowing the beavers to anchor a food source at the bottom of the water and survive the winter. When building the dams, the beavers scurry around the environment selecting the juiciest of trees and have a little nibble. Okay, more like a feast. As they munch on the bark, the trees eventually give way and topple over. Sometimes these are left in place for a while, sometimes they’re broken down and moved elsewhere, generally somewhere that would be a good place to fill up with water. These branches accumulate, slowing down the movement of water and creating a sort of reservoir. Eventually, this forms a series of dams that can reach several meters high, filling up with water. This water is amazing for the ecosystem, providing a good quality environment for many sensitive plants and animals whilst also potentially improving flood control. When we visited this week, there were frogs everywhere, you had to play leapfrog around them! Frogs are fantastic for the environment, so we certainly want lots and lots of lil’ froggos bopping around.

Time for Change, Time for TUBA!

Hold up, conservation… beavers… ok ok, so why were TUBA there? Part of TUBAs research involves recording and visualising the environment, and exploring ways to show this information to the public and improve learning without disrupting the beavers. Whilst it’s early days and we’re limited on what we can show and tell you right now (I mean, we did only just complete our first recording session), we’re so looking forward to show some awesome applications of digital technology to the environment and sustainability.

Sneaking in some filming – perfect for a 10-hour loop of the dam’s tranquillity for YouTube study channels!

That’s all for now, but keep an eye open for some more updates on this project in the coming months, whether through the blog or our new Twitter page @TUBArch. Until next time!


An Update on TUBA

It’s been some rather tubalent times and as we haven’t been posting much about our activities and exciting outings for a while (I’m sure you can guess why), we thought it would be good to give an update on the TUBA team and what’s happening with the TUBA blog over the coming months!


We’ll still be posting our longer updates and stories here every month or so. We especially plan to give some of the juicy behind-the-scenes details to our new research papers and conference visits. The fact is, behind every fantastic high-flying paper, there are several months of unsuccessful experiments and cute animals. But, we want to keep the TUBA blog as the fun and friendly blog that you’ve all come to know and unconditionally love for its occasional posts. We will instead be posting more regularly on our new Twitter page which you should definitely give a follow, no doubt about it!

TUBA Twitter

That’s right, we’re now on Twitter, at @TUBArch! We’ll all be posting smaller bits and fun stuff more regularly through Twitter.

Our full blog updates will still be linked on our Twitter and our Facebook page TU.BioArch so don’t worry if you can’t get the email updates via the blog site.

Project Updates

We have a couple projects in the pipeline which we’re very excited to bring to you. And so, we’ll soon start a “Project Update” series of posts where we will occasionally share some updates on the behind-the-scenes work. We’re sure you’ll find these interesting, even if just to confirm that the long-term projects are, in fact, still alive and in progress!

Guest Posts

We’re also looking into starting a series of occasional guest posts by other students and researchers at Teesside University and beyond that we work with. These may showcase a wide range of subjects, such as biomedicine, forensic science, digital technology, all sorts! We hope you’ll join us in reading their fascinating stories, and get in touch if you’d like to join in!