The lure of koalas, sea-dragons, cuttlefish and cute little critters

Media releases, National Science Week

Great environment stories up for grabs now around Australia.

Are dropbears just koalas making mischief? Are there really dragons living near Adelaide? And just what curious creatures live in your garden?

These are just a few of the questions set to answered during this year’s National Science Week (August 15 to 23).

If you’re after more great ideas for highly visual stories, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at www.scienceinpublic.com.au/science-week, and on Twitter at @SciWKMedia.

Scientists, experts and event organisers are available for interview throughout National Science Week. Read on for contact details for each event, or call:

Mythbusting koalas: dropbears, drowsiness and deadly threats

Are koalas really cuddly? How are they recovering after last summer’s disastrous bushfires? Can they survive future fires? And are dropbears real? Take your hard questions about these soft marsupials to an expert: Professor Chris Daniels from South Australia’s International Koala Centre of Excellence.

Professor Daniels will front an online interactive event, livestreamed from the Royal Institution of Australia, in Adelaide. Log on to explore the science and history of koalas, including conservation, habitat loss, social lives, disease threats, drowsy behaviour — and dropbears.

Thursday 6 August Event details

Chris Daniels is available for media interviews.

Contact Sheryn Pitman, inspiringsa@sa.gov.au or 0466 410 364

Meet the cuttlefish, sea-dragons, dolphins, sharks and rays of the Great Southern Reef – without getting wet

The Great Southern Reef reaches from Tasmania to the mainland, extending as far as WA and Queensland.

Adelaide-based organisation Experiencing Marine Sanctuaries is presenting a series of livestreamed events and virtual tours revealing the spectacular diversity of the reef system.

  • Weird and wonderful creatures of the Great Southern Reef: Monday 3 August, event details
  • Sea-dragons and their cousins – Monday 10 August, event details
  • Rays and sharks – Monday 17 August, event details
  • Site attached reef fish of the Great Southern Reef – Monday 24 August, event details
  • Dolphins – Monday 31 August, event details
  • Aboriginal connections to coast and marine – Monday 7 September, event details
  • Virtual tour: swim with Giant Australian Cuttlefish – Saturday 1 August – Wednesday 30 September: event details

The events include commentary and Q&A from leading South Australian marine biologists, ecologists, Kaurna elders, underwater photographers, researchers and citizen scientists.

Contact: Carl Charter, info@emsau.org or 0466 278 187.

Underwater photos and footage available.

Bronwyn Gillanders (0417 036 235) and Carl Charter (0466 278 187) available for media interviews.

The Great Aussie BioQuest: help scientists map where the wild things are

The Great Aussie BioQuest is a gigantic, nationwide citizen science project to map Australia’s wildlife.

How is climate change influencing where the wild things are?

Join the competition, submit your wildlife sightings using your smartphone, and help scientists map Australia’s shifting biodiversity.

The Great Aussie BioQuest participants log sightings of plants, animals or fungi using the QuestaGame smartphone app. They can provide identifications, or wait for an expert to help. All sightings are expert-verified and given a “remarkability score”.

The data is shared with the Atlas of Living Australia to help researchers make better decisions about protecting the environment.

QuestaGamers are finding new species, including the spider Ornodolmedes benrevelli, named after Ben Revell, the gamer who photographed it. More new species of moths, spiders and insects are in the process of being formally described and confirmed. Gamers have also spotted invasive species that are a threat to biosecurity.

Saturday 15 August until Sunday 23 August Event details

Media enquiries: Andrew Robinson, andrew@questagame.com or 0458 111 148.

QuestaGame image library (please credit photos with the full text of each file name)


About National Science Week

National Science Week has become one of Australia’s largest festivals. Last year saw 1.5 million people participate in more than 2050 events and activities.

In 2020, the festival is almost entirely virtual, online, DIY and well-spaced. This means most events, large and small, is open to anyone, no matter where they live.

National Science Week 2020 will run from 15 to 23 August. Media kit at www.scienceinpublic.com.au, public event listings at www.scienceweek.net.au.