This week at Science in Public

This Week

Ghostly traces of massive ancient river revealed: Using zircon crystals, researchers have discovered the route of a massive ancient river that could help find new reservoirs of fossil fuels and suggest how modern rivers might change over time.

You saw sawfish! Hundreds of citizen science sightings reveal opportunities to protect Australia’s four iconic sawfish species

Making light work more cheaply: Australian researchers unlock the key to cheaper high-tech telecom and medical diagnostic devices.

Brain temperature can now be measured using light: Nanotech technique could revolutionise neurological treatments.

Tea trees crave water during hot and dry summer days: The iconic Australian tea tree (Melaleuca decora) is more vulnerable than native eucalypt species.

New clues for allergy prevention by breast milk: UWA research team are investigating the complex interactions of breast milk with allergens and baby’s gut immune system.

Goannas return to mine site: Animals play critical roles in ecosystems, but they are broadly overlooked in assessments of mine site restoration success

Ghostly traces of massive ancient river revealed

Fresh Science

Using zircon crystals, researchers have discovered the route of a massive ancient river that could help find new reservoirs of fossil fuels and suggest how modern rivers might change over time.

Sara Morón, The University of Sydney

More than two thirds of the worlds’ major cities are located in coastal deltas. How they change over time can impact communities that live around them.

[continue reading…]

You saw sawfish!

Media releases, Other

Media call: 8am Wednesday 26 February 2020, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

With scientists and sawfish Roger and Ryobi; footage available.

Hundreds of citizen science sightings reveal opportunities to protect Australia’s four iconic sawfish species

Green Sawfish (P. zijsron) – Weipa, QLD 2019
  • New hotspots for green sawfish in Weipa and Karratha.
  • A sawfish nursery in the Brisbane River until about 1950.
  • Evidence that sawfish have not completely disappeared from NSW waters, with a Newcastle sighting.
  • Juvenile sawfish reported down the WA coast.
  • More action needed in Queensland as only one species reported south of Cooktown.
  • A new call to action to step up conservation and assess the impact of net-free zones in Weipa and Queensland’s east coast.
  • And keep reporting your sightings. Together we can save sawfish.
[continue reading…]

Making light work more cheaply

ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science, Media releases
Dr Girish Lakhwani, chief investigator for the Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science.

Australian researchers unlock the key to cheaper high-tech telecom and medical diagnostic devices.

Scientists and engineers will soon have a much cheaper way of stabilising, blocking and steering light – potentially lowering the costs of high-tech equipment used in telecommunications, medical diagnostics and consumer electronics.

Researchers led by Dr Girish Lakhwani, a chief investigator for the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science (ACEx), have found a way to manipulate light produced by lasers at a fraction of the cost of existing methods.

[continue reading…]

Innovative projects to help Australians celebrate science

National Science Week

Media release from The Hon Karen Andrews MP, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology

Forensic science, ocean sustainability and pop-up health lab projects are among those being funded by the Morrison Government’s 2020 National Science Week Grants.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said 33 projects across Australia will share in $500,000 of funding to support creative and engaging events during National Science Week in August.

[continue reading…]

Brain temperature can now be measured using light

Fresh Science, Media releases

Nanotech technique could revolutionise neurological treatments.

Light could replace invasive techniques to measure brain temperature– eliminating the need to place a thermometer in the brain when treating a range of neurological disorders.

Researchers from Victoria’ Swinburne University have teamed up with Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Spain and Stanford University in the US to develop a technique for measuring sub-degree brain temperature changes using near-infrared light. 

[continue reading…]

Tea trees crave water during hot and dry summer days

Fresh Science

The iconic Australian tea tree (Melaleuca decora) is more vulnerable than native eucalypt species to extreme temperature and moisture stress, Western Sydney University researcher Anne Griebel has discovered. 

To make the finding, Anne and colleagues fitted instruments that measure the exchange of carbon, water and heat at 10 times a second to an extendable mast on a trailer deployed in a critically endangered woodland in Western Sydney.

[continue reading…]

New clues for allergy prevention by breast milk

Fresh Science, Media releases, Other

Written by Akila Rekima and the University of Western Australia. For the full UWA press release, click here.

A research team at UWA is investigating the complex interactions of breast milk with allergens and baby’s gut immune system.

They’ve found that food-derived but also airborne allergens are present in breast milk. Some do give protection and reduce allergies later in life.

[continue reading…]

Goannas return to mine site

Fresh Science, Media releases

Animals play critical roles in ecosystems, but they are broadly overlooked in assessments of mine site restoration success says Sophie Cross, an ecologist at Curtin University.

She tracked Australia’s largest lizard species, the perentie, using VHF radio and GPS tracking, and walked hundreds of kilometres through unmined and restoration bushland on a mine site in the mid-west region of Western Australia for her study published in the Australian Journal of Zoology.

[continue reading…]

Sharp increase in Ningaloo whale shark injuries might be due to boat encounters

Australian Institute of Marine Science, Media releases

Scarring and major lacerations due to vessel collisions becoming more common, study finds.

The tail of a whale shark (Rhincodon typus), showing massive scarring. Image: Jess Hadden.

Almost one-fifth of the whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) in Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef Marine Park show major scarring or fin amputations, with the number of injured animals increasing in recent years, new research reveals.

Distinctive scar patterns strongly suggest many of the injuries are caused by boat collisions, says whale shark scientist Emily Lester from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).

[continue reading…]