Plants need water, but if that water also comes with a hefty dose of salt it can kill the plant. But the ice plant, Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, has a clever way of storing salt in special cells, allowing it to thrive in saline coastal areas.
Mangroves help fight climate change but they’re at serious risk from its effects. That’s one of the findings from a study of a massive mangrove dieback that occurred in late 2015.
Local fishermen reported mangroves were dying along hundreds of kilometres along the Gulf of Carpentaria coastline, an area known for its barramundi fishing and high value commercial fisheries.
This caught the attention of Dr Damien Maher of Southern Cross University, who is interested in the chemistry of mangroves—how they store carbon in their soils, remove planet-warming nitrous oxides from the atmosphere, and neutralise ocean acidification by releasing alkaline chemicals into nearby waters.
For complete profiles, photos and videos, and more information on the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, visit www.science.gov.au/pmscienceprizes
Researchers at Swinburne University of Technology are working on:
- Gravitational waves—looking further
- Lenses a fraction of a hair’s width, faster communication and better solar cells
- Quantum computers with photons
- Tuning out our internal voices
- Harnessing the data from everything that’s online
The remains of volcanoes from billions of years ago are helping scientists identify both bygone continental boundaries and new places to find mineral resources in Australia.
The benefits of using medical-grade honey to treat and prevent infection in wounds has been confirmed by Sydney researchers.
Dr Nural Cokcetin tested more than 600 Australian honey samples and documented the antibacterial activity, which strongly corresponds to the levels of methylglyoxal (MGO), one of honey’s most active ingredients.
Toxic algal blooms can now be detected up to two weeks before they become a serious health hazard, thanks to an early warning system developed through an Australian university-industry partnership. Continue reading Aussie kit detecting threat of toxic algal blooms
Scientists from RMIT University are helping businesses across Europe and Australia harness the power of social media to become more innovative in a competitive market.
“Social media will help businesses develop innovations and promote novelties faster, with a competitive advantage,” says Professor Anne-Laure Mention, Director of the Enabling Capability Platform for Global Business Innovation at RMIT University.
With colleagues from Sydney, Geneva, and Luxembourg, Anne-Laure’s team is analysing the use of social media for open innovation practices in businesses around the world.
Most motorcycle clothing is not as protective as you might think. But from next year it will be easier to identify the safest gloves and garments, thanks to a rating system developed by Deakin University researchers.
Keen biker Dr Chris Hurren and his colleague Dr Liz de Rome, of the university’s Institute for Frontier Materials, tested fabrics used in biker clothing—such as denim and synthetic protective liners—to measure breathability and durability. More than 60 per cent performed poorly. Continue reading Making motorcycle clothing safer
One in five cases of infertility are caused by scars due to past infections with chlamydia, but in most cases people don’t know they were ever infected.
Researchers at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) have discovered that a specific set of our genes switch on within half an hour of infection, which could lead to new treatments.