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.
A team of Queensland researchers have discovered the genetics that underlies the one molecule that lobsters, prawns and other crustaceans use to make the complex coloured patterns appreciated by biologists and connoisseurs of seafood.
The work of Dr Nick Wade and colleagues will help with conservation and aquaculture, and may even lead to a new food colourant. The colour of seafood is directly linked to its acceptability as food. Highly coloured lobsters and prawns attract a premium price. And for the crustaceans themselves, it’s a matter of survival.
Most people recover from whiplash injuries within the first few months. However, some people have long term pain—lasting months or years. Until now there has been no way of diagnosing these more severe cases.
New research suggests that fat deposits in the neck muscles are the key.
“We’ve found that people with long term injury have large amounts of fat infiltration in their neck muscles,” says Dr James Elliott from the University of Queensland (and former US professional baseball player). “Something is causing that difference, and it isn’t their body weight,” he says.
Southern bluefin tuna can’t even have a quiet snack without CSIRO researchers knowing. They’ve developed a way of tracking when the tuna feed and also where, at what depth, and the temperature of the surrounding water.
Dr Sophie Bestley and her colleagues at CSIRO’s Wealth from Oceans National Research Flagship surgically implant miniaturised electronic ’data-storage’ tags into juvenile fishes off the coast of southern Australia.
Researchers at Geoscience Australia have unravelled the development of a unique seafloor community thriving in complete darkness below the giant ice sheets of Antarctica.The community beneath the Amery Ice Shelf in Antarctica is 100 kilometres from open water and hidden from view by ice half a kilometre thick. This ecosystem has developed very slowly over the past 9,000 years, since the end of the last glaciation.
Today it is home to animals such as sponges and bryozoans fed by plankton carried in on the current. Dr Alix Post studied shell fossils within core samples where she unexpectedly found evidence of these isolated ecosystems.
Why does the same species of strawberry taste different in different countries? How is it that Californian strawberries are loved by locals but fail to impress Down Under?
RMIT University researchers, Assoc. Prof. Eddie Pang and Prof. Phil Marriott, are looking for answers to those questions to help Australian strawberry growers identify which breeds grow best in which region.
Australia’s scientific approach to grape growing and winemaking means that you can be confident in what you’re buying when you drink Australian wines. And that’s helped Australian wine become the market leader in the UK and second behind Italy in the US market.
The economic potential of carbon is the focus of a new fire project on the Tiwi Islands, 80 kilometres north of Darwin in the Northern Territory and home to 2,000 Aboriginal Australians. Nearly half of the Tiwi Islands are burnt every year, resulting in significant greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing the extent of fire may provide substantial financial benefits under the emerging carbon economy.
The devastating bushfires in Victoria, Australia on 7 February 2009 resulted in the loss of 173 lives and caused major property and asset damage. The fires are considered to be Australia’s worst peacetime disaster.