Robo reef protector

A fleet of autonomous robots is being developed by Queensland scientists to kill crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS), and monitor the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

Dr Matthew Dunbabin and Dr Feras Dayoub of QUT are working with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation to create the RangerBot, following successful field trials of QUT’s COTSBot in 2016.

Continue reading Robo reef protector

Modern humans were in Southeast Asia 20,000 years earlier than previously thought

Dating of ancient human teeth discovered in a Sumatran cave site suggests modern humans were in Southeast Asia 20,000 years earlier than previously thought.

The international research, led by Dr Kira Westaway from Macquarie University and published in Nature, has pushed back the timing of when humans first left Africa, their arrival in Southeast Asia, and the first time they lived in rainforests.

Continue reading Modern humans were in Southeast Asia 20,000 years earlier than previously thought

The mystery of leaf size solved

Why is a banana leaf a million times bigger than a common heather leaf? Why are leaves generally much larger in tropical jungles than in temperate forests and deserts? The textbooks say it’s a balance between water availability and overheating.

But it’s not that simple.

A global team of researchers, led by Associate Professor Ian Wright from Macquarie University, revealed that in much of the world the key limiting factor for leaf size is night temperature and the risk of frost damage to leaves.

Continue reading The mystery of leaf size solved

Stories of Australian Science 2017

Making motorcycle clothing safer, a robotic arm for stroke rehab, prospecting for gold using prehistoric volcanoes—these are some of the highlights of the past year featured in Stories of Australian Science 2017.

Australian scientists are making silk-derived implants to fix damaged eardrums, and working to stop people going into flood waters. They’re flying unmanned drones to record our reefs in incredible detail, and teaching bots to search out and destroy crown-of-thorns starfish. They’re keeping stored red blood cells in shape, testing water safety with fingernail-sized sensors, expanding the net for gravitational waves, and much more.

Continue reading Stories of Australian Science 2017

Supporting Australian science – 2017

Science in Public is a science communication business based in Melbourne, Australia, with a team of 12 staff and associates.

We have a passion for science. We encourage and challenge scientists to reach the public, politicians and the media, while staying true to their science. We mentor, train, plan, and benchmark. We produce websites, reports, books, videos, events and conferences.

You can read more about us at www.scienceinpublic.com.au

Stories of Australian Science grew out of our work hosting the World Conference of Science Journalists in Melbourne in 2007, where we realised that there was a hunger for more stories about the best of Australian science.

Continue reading Supporting Australian science – 2017

Curing blindness by repairing corneas with invisible films

A patented treatment could restore eyesight for millions of sufferers of corneal disease.

The University of Melbourne-led team of researchers have grown corneal cells on a layer of film that can be implanted in the eye to help the cornea heal itself. They have successfully restored vision in animal trials and are aiming to move to human trials in 2017.

Continue reading Curing blindness by repairing corneas with invisible films

Perth community can help save Carnaby’s cockatoo

Endangered Carnaby’s cockatoos are adapting to urban life in Perth suburbs. And new research has shown how the community can help save them by creating cockatoo-friendly suburbs.

A world-first study used satellite technology to track the wild cockatoos, which are found only in Australia’s south-west and are often spotted in the suburbs of Perth.

Continue reading Perth community can help save Carnaby’s cockatoo

Immune boost for cancer patients with HIV

Cancer is the leading cause of death among people with HIV and yet cancer treatment can be risky as their immune system is already compromised.

Now, a new class of drugs developed at the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales is providing hope—demonstrating it is effective in treating the cancer and strengthening the immune response to that cancer.

Continue reading Immune boost for cancer patients with HIV