ecology

Food and housing crisis for Melbourne’s native bees

RMIT researchers call on Melburnians to plant the right plants and create the right homes for native pollinators.
They say we’ll get better tomato crops, more flowers and boost urban biodiversity.

  • Meet RMIT researchers, community gardeners, native bees and wasps
  • South Melbourne BEE Gardens, part of the Heart Gardening Project
  • Corner of Moray and Cobden Streets in South Melbourne

Link for footage from Botanic Gardens and images of native bees

As Melbourne’s gardens burst into life after a wet spring, native insects are out looking for flowers and pollen. City gardeners rely on bees, butterflies and other insects to pollinate their plants, which is how flowering plants reproduce and grow fruit or seeds.

But city gardens often don’t have the right types of food and homes for these helpful native bees and flies, with knock-on effects for our gardens and for biodiversity. Urban ecologist Katherine Berthon from RMIT University found that only 43% of flowers in the Melbourne city gardens she studied were being used by bees and other pollinating insects.

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Goannas return to mine site

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.

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Crocodile eggs measure river health

A new land management tool using Aboriginal knowledge

Ngan’gi speakers know it’s time to look for freshwater crocodile eggs when the red kapok trees near the Northern Territory’s Daly River burst into flower.

This can occur at a different time each year, but the environmental link is solid.

A Darwin-based scientist has converted this link and other intimate Aboriginal knowledge of Australia’s landscape into an environmental management tool. [continue reading…]

Fresh Science 2012 state finalists

This year, thanks to funding from the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science, Research and Tertiary Education through the Inspiring Australia initiative, and partners in other states, we’ve expanded the program to include state finals in:

Here’s the state finalists – we’ll announce the national finalists in the next week or so. [continue reading…]

Inspiring Australia: Is that angry bird a native, farming in the desert, whale spotters wanted, something is fishy about this and more

Some of 63 Unlocking Australia’s Potential science communication grants totalling $5 million announced today by the Minister for Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans.

For the official announcement from the Minister; State by State releases; and a full list of grant recipients; go online to www.scienceinpublic.com.au/inspiringaus
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Inspiring Australia grant overviews

A total of $5 million has been awarded across three levels of grant categories, small, medium and large, for projects to be delivered in 2012 and/or 2013 and/or 2014.

The prime objective of the program is to increase the engagement of Australians in science and it has prioritised projects that engage people who may not have had previous access to or interest in science-communication activities. Inspiring Australia is an initiative of the Australian Government.

Below is the full list of grants received in each state. [continue reading…]