French and Australian scientists are working together to understand how climate change is affecting reef sharks in French Polynesia, why corals in New Caledonia can survive extremes of temperature and acidity, and what fish markets mean for reef health.
On Mo’orea in French Polynesia, Dr Jodie Rummer leads a project studying baby sharks to see how they will cope with climate change.
“Healthy reefs need healthy predators,” Jodie says. “And healthy predators need healthy reefs.” Continue reading Reef rescue
An Aussie eucalypt can ‘remember’ past exposure to extreme heat, which makes the tree and its offspring better able to cope with future heatwaves, according to new research from Macquarie University.
This finding could have important implications for restoring ecosystems and climate-proofing forestry, as the number of hot days and heatwaves increase due to climate change.
“Unlike animals, which can bury deeper into the soil or flee to cooler locations, plants are stuck in one spot and so must be able to withstand extreme conditions in situ,” says Dr Rachael Gallagher, senior author of the paper published in the journal Functional Ecology.
Continue reading Trees remember heatwaves
South Australian winemakers are looking to Europe as the climate – and what drinkers want – is changing
Grapes don’t ripen the way they used to. As temperatures climb, they are getting sweeter faster.
Winemakers find that by the time the crop achieves the right colour or level of tannins, the grapes contain more sugar. More sugar means heavier, more alcoholic wine. At the same time, drinkers are preferring lighter wines.
Dr Roberta De Bei is trialling countermeasures to delay ripening at the University of Adelaide, where she has worked as a research fellow in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine since she left Italy in 2008.
Continue reading Making wine in a warming world
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
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?
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
Mapping reefs with drones; robots destroying crown-of-thorns starfish; coral as a rain-maker; and more—researchers at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) are investigating new technologies to protect Australia’s reefs.
Continue reading Technology to save the reefs—Queensland University of Technology
How can cities grow and thrive in an era of climate change? This is a challenge faced by both Australia and Indonesia. With ever-increasing population shifts towards urban environments, it is crucial to make cities sustainable.
Australian cities are adopting water sensitive approaches. Melbourne Water, for example, has created over 10,000 raingardens. But progress is slow, in part because of the existing massive traditional water infrastructure.
Continue reading Leapfrogging towards water sensitive cities: The Australia-Indonesia Centre Urban Water Cluster
Twenty hectares of old, abandoned fish ponds have been rehabilitated into mangrove forests in Tiwoho, in Indonesia’s North Sulawesi.
Their efficiency in capturing and storing carbon from the atmosphere is being put to the test by researchers, in the hopes the rehabilitation process can help mitigate the effects of climate change and restore the provision of ecosystem services, such as fisheries, provided by healthy mangroves.
Continue reading Rehabilitating mangrove forests may help combat climate change
We can make biofuels with algae, but can we make them commercially viable?
A University of Queensland (UQ) research team is working towards it – and Siemens, Neste Oil Corp, the Queensland Government and others have joined their quest.
The Solar Biofuels Research Centre is one of the most advanced national facilities investigating the development and use of high-efficiency microalgae production platforms.
Continue reading Can algae fuel our future?