Warming oceans will affect sharks’ brains

By Macquarie University

Rising ocean temperatures due to climate change will not only be felt by smaller organisms like coral, but will also impact apex predators, according to new research.

The study from the Macquarie University Fish Lab found that increasing water temperature by just 3ºC altered the behaviour of hatchling sharks.

Baby sharks incubated at temperatures predicted by the end of the century had very different turn preferences compared to sharks reared in present day water temperatures.

Continue reading Warming oceans will affect sharks’ brains

Why so blue? New research sheds light on why our iconic blue-tongue lizards have such colourful tongues

By Macquarie University

A new study by researchers at Macquarie University has shed light on why blue tongue lizards have such an outrageously coloured tongue, given that the vast majority of lizards have a regular pink tongue.

The study, just published in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, found that the colour is not accidental, and likely evolved as a protection against predators. Continue reading Why so blue? New research sheds light on why our iconic blue-tongue lizards have such colourful tongues

Making drug discovery faster, cheaper and safer

A Macquarie University start-up that created a new way to develop drugs faster and more cheaply than current methods, has won a CSIRO innovation award.

Currently it takes over a decade and $2 billion to develop a new drug. Of these, four out of five will never be launched.

If we want everyone in need to have access to affordable and effective medications, we must reduce the time and cost associated with drug development, argues Molecular Sciences’ Professor Peter Karuso.

And that’s what the start-up he founded—Hyperdrive Science—is attempting to do.  Continue reading Making drug discovery faster, cheaper and safer

Are damselflies in distress?

Damselflies are evolving rapidly as they expand their range in response to a warming climate, according to new research led by Macquarie University researchers in Sydney.

“Genes that influence heat tolerance, physiology, and even vision are giving them evolutionary options to help them cope with climate change. Other insects may not be so lucky,” says Dr Rachael Dudaniec, lead author of the paper. Continue reading Are damselflies in distress?

Protecting surfers from shark attacks

Macquarie University researchers discovered that most sharks are colour blind, and used that knowledge to create patented wetsuit camouflage designs that are now on the market. Now the team is looking at how sharks perceive surfboards.

Associate Professor Nathan Hart, his students and collaborators are taking a new look at the sensory world of sharks. Using a range of physiological, genetic and behavioural methods, they have obtained the clearest view yet of how sharks, including notorious predators such the great white shark, see the world around them. 

Continue reading Protecting surfers from shark attacks

The hidden reef made of giant algae doughnuts

A hidden reef exists behind the Great Barrier Reef—but it’s three times bigger than previously thought, constructed by algae, and made up of doughnut-shaped mounds.

Uncovering the true scale of the 6,000 km2 structure was made possible by airborne laser mapping technology LiDAR, provided by the Royal Australian Navy.

It has implications for the Great Barrier Reef’s habitat mapping and conservation zoning, as well as providing possible insights into past climates.

Continue reading The hidden reef made of giant algae doughnuts

Mapping species and coral bleaching by drone

Advanced, miniature cameras on drones are capturing details of landscapes that have previously been invisible. QUT researchers are using them to fly low over reefs, capturing almost 100 times the colours captured by standard cameras.

“High-altitude surveys of reefs may lack the resolution necessary to identify individual corals or bleaching effects,” says Associate Professor Felipe Gonzalez, who is leading a team of researchers and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) engineers from QUT in a partnership project between QUT and the Australian Institute for Marine Science (AIMS).

Continue reading Mapping species and coral bleaching by drone