Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Feature

Feature article

This Little Piggie Went Wee Wee Wee

Credit: dusanpetkovic1/Adobe

Credit: dusanpetkovic1/Adobe

By Jeremy Ayre & Navid Moheimani

Microalgae strains that can survive the extreme conditions in piggery effluent could not only clean up the wastewater but also reduce greenhouse emissions, provide a source of biofuel and even be fed back to the pigs.

To view this article subscribe or purchase a yearly pass here.

A Stone Age “Rosetta Stone”

Image credits: R. Fullagar and J. Field

Modern experiments form the basis for studying use-wear on archaeological artefacts and microscopic residues preserved on ancient tools. The inset photos show a fish scale on a Pleistocene stone tool from Siberia (scale bar 1 mm), a grass compound starch grain from a Pleistocene grinding stone in Australia (scale bar 0.01 mm) and a grass phytolith from the same grinding stone (scale bar 0.005 mm). Images: R. Fullagar (main photo, fish scale) and J. Field (starch grain, phytolith)

By Richard “Bert” Roberts, Richard Fullagar & Linda Prinsloo

Our ancestors had the edge over several other contemporary species of human that were headed for extinction by about 40,000 years ago. What were they doing differently? Archaeological scientists are trying to find out using modern techniques to study traces of use left on stone tools and other artefacts.

To view this article subscribe or purchase a yearly pass here.

Mammals on the Brink

short-eared rock wallabies

Perhaps because of their rocky, inaccessible habitat, short-eared rock wallabies are one of a few species whose populations remain healthy in much of the Northern Territory. Credit: Ian Morris

By Mark Ziembicki

Traditional ecological knowledge and western science have combined to address one of Australia’s most pressing biodiversity conservation issues – the decline of its native mammal species.

To view this article subscribe or purchase a yearly pass here.

Tropical Invaders Seek a Cool Change

 Moorish idol

Larger-bodied tropical species, such as the Moorish idol, are more likely to show vagrant behaviour into high latitude regions.

By David A. Feary & David Harasti

As oceans warm, a new study has shown that certain measurable traits may help scientists predict which species of tropical fish will successfully shift into cooler temperate waters.

To view this article subscribe or purchase a yearly pass here.

Can Diet Be Tailored to Suit Our Genes?

foetus

The long-term impact of what your mother ate and drank, whether she was underweight or overweight and whether she smoked during pregnancy influences your chances of becoming obese, diabetic and even developing certain cancers.

By Helen Truby

Lifestyle factors such as a eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, getting a good night’s sleep and keeping physically active are the best way to help your genes keep you healthy.

To view this article subscribe or purchase a yearly pass here.

What Speed Sperm Should a Sea Squirt Squirt?

Sea Squirt

Sea squirts reproduce by broadcast spawning, where eggs and sperm are released into the ocean and the sperm have to swim around to find an egg to fertilise.

By Angela Crean

Sea squirt sperm is revealing how a male’s environment affects his sperm’s quality, with implications for the health of offspring that could also improve the success of human IVF procedures.

To view this article subscribe or purchase a yearly pass here.

Sex in the Economy

Paris Hilton

Only those with sufficient resources can afford to waste them, making conspicuous consumption attractive to a potential mate.

By Jason Collins

The imprint of the competition for mates and status can be seen in the past and present shape of our economy.

Jason Collins is a PhD student in the University of Western Australia’s Business School. He blogs at Evolving Economics (www.jasoncollins.org).

To view this article subscribe or purchase a yearly pass here.

Drilling for Sub-Seafloor Life

The Japanese deep-drilling vessel DV Chikyu can core up to 4000 metres below the seabed and in areas where there is a potential danger of striking oil or gas. Photo courtesy of the Japan Agency for Marine–Earth Science and Technology

The Japanese deep-drilling vessel DV Chikyu can core up to 4000 metres below the seabed and in areas where there is a potential danger of striking oil or gas. Photo courtesy of the Japan Agency for Marine–Earth Science and Technology

By Chris Yeats

Extreme sub-sea temperatures, noxious fumes and broken drilling rods made life difficult onboard a scientific expedition that set out to sample life deep beneath the sea.

To view this article subscribe or purchase a yearly pass here.

Neurogenesis in the Emotion-Processing Centre of the Brain

Credit: Photographee.eu

Credit: Photographee.eu

By Dhanisha Jhaveri

The generation of neurons during adulthood can affect our behaviour and alter our mood, so the discovery that this occurs in the amygdala could lead to new strategies for the treatment of anxiety-related disorders.

To view this article subscribe or purchase a yearly pass here.

Neural Interfaces: From Disability to Enhancement

Credit: Jaimie Duplass/Adobe

Credit: Jaimie Duplass/Adobe

By Scott Kiel-Chisholm

Neuroprosthetic arms, mind-controlled exoskeletons and brain–computer interfaces are already enabling the disabled, but what happens when these and other devices become mainstream consumer products that blur the lines between enhanced human and machine?

To view this article subscribe or purchase a yearly pass here.