Tag Archives: animal behaviour

Birds, bees, robots and flying

He isn’t a pilot, but few people would know more about ways of navigating while flying than Prof Mandyam Srinivasan (Srini) of the Queensland Brain Institute. And he’s steadily finding out more.

Srinivasan works on bee navigation: here he is in the All-Weather Bee Flight Facility at the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) Credit: Dee McGrath/QBI
Srinivasan works on bee navigation: here he is in the All-Weather Bee Flight Facility at the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI). Credit: Dee McGrath/QBI

Initially known for his work in bees, since receiving the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science in 2006, Srini has shown that birds and insects use a similar system of visual guidance to prevent themselves from crashing into trees when flying through dense forest.

Continue reading Birds, bees, robots and flying

Starving cancer and other stories

Prostate cancers are made up of hungry, growing cells. Now we’ve discovered how to cut off their food supply thanks to a study published in Cancer Research and supported by Movember. More below. Also Australian science discoveries you may have missed from the past week. Heart cells growing in a test-tube – Melbourne How birds [...]

Owl CSI—feathers and DNA reveal night secrets

A powerful owl studied by Fiona Hogan. Credit: Fiona Hogan, Deakin University
A powerful owl studied by Fiona Hogan. Credit: Fiona Hogan, Deakin University

Dr Fiona Hogan is DNA fingerprinting Australian owls with the help of feathers and a keen public.

Her work is transforming our understanding of the night life of owls, normally notoriously secretive.

From a single feather, this Deakin University researcher can determine the species, sex, and identity of individual birds. She has already found a pair of powerful owls who have mated together for at least ten consecutive years, and that those breeding in urban areas are typically more closely related than those which breed in the bush.

Surviving in the city

ARCUE is working to understand how plants and animals adapt to urban life. Credit: Janusz Molinski/Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
ARCUE is working to understand how plants and animals adapt to urban life. Credit: Janusz Molinski/Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne

Why do some plant and animal species thrive in the city while others disappear?

Most ecological studies are done in natural environments not in towns and cities so we lack information on urban ecology.

A team from Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens is changing that.

Continue reading Surviving in the city

Erosion and dams threaten barramundi and prawn fisheries

Barramundi caught at Shady Camp freshwater in Northern Territory. Credit: Marcus Finn
Barramundi caught at Shady Camp freshwater in Northern Territory. Credit: Marcus Finn

Kilometre-wide erosion gullies eating their way across Australia’s northern landscape are proving likely culprits as the main source of the sediments that are flushed into the Gulf of Carpentaria each year, possibly smothering prawn and barramundi breeding and rearing habitats.

Continue reading Erosion and dams threaten barramundi and prawn fisheries