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There’s More to Hen Health than Housing Style

By Stephen Luntz

A comparison of chicken stress levels has found that other factors are more important than whether they are housed in cages or allowed to roam free.

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Take a Break from Sitting

By Stephen Luntz

Overweight workers in sedentary jobs should take frequent short activity breaks to reduce the negative impacts of sitting for too long, a paper in Diabetes Care suggests.

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Blood Proteins Reveal Onset of Alzheimer’s

By Stephen Luntz

A selection of 11 proteins can collectively identify people with Alzheimer’s at a point where diagnosis is currently difficult, raising prospects for early intervention.

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Brain Stimulation Solves Puzzle

By Stephen Luntz

Transcranial brain stimulation has enabled people to solve a puzzle they could not previously crack, offering the promise of a smarter future.

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Briefs

By Stephen Luntz

Brief bites of science news

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By Stephen Luntz

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Sugar’s Role in Climate Change

Phytoplankton

Phytoplankton living in the surface waters of the oceans are responsible for absorbing up to 40% of all of the carbon that becomes incorporated into living things.

By Christel Hassler

Marine plankton account for up to 40% of carbon absorbed by all living things, but their growth is limited in half of the world’s oceans by iron bioavailability. New research has found that marine plankton can produce sugars that improve iron bioavailability – and hence plankton growth.

Christel Hassler is Chancellor's Post Doctoral Research Fellow with the University of Technology Sydney’s Plant Functional Biology and Climate Change Cluster. The research described here was a collaboration with the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, CSIRO, the Center for Australian Weather and Climate Research and New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, and was published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science. Co-authors are V. Schoemann, E.C.V. Butler, C.A. Mancuso Nichols, M. Doblin, P.J. Ralph and P.W. Boyd.

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bug

Legionella causes about 300 infections per year in Australia.

Legionella causes about 300 infections per year in Australia.

By Michael Taylor

The public may think of Legionella as a deadly disease, but Michael Taylor sees parallels with the structure of the universe in the slimes he examines under the microscope.

Michael Taylor has been investigating the ecology of Legionella in potting mix and human-constructed environments for his PhD, which he completed at Flinders University’s School of the Environment under the supervision of Kirstin Ross and Richard Bentham.

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Masters of Illusion

The bower of a great bowerbird with one display court visible in the foreground.

the bower of a great bowerbird with one display court visible in the foreground, the other court is visible through the avenue. Note the green decorations to the side of the court.

By Laura Kelley & John Endler

Male great bowerbirds construct visual illusions that enhance mating success by altering female perception of their displays.

Laura Kelley is a Research Fellow at Deakin University’s Centre for Integrative Ecology.

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What Illuminated Dark Energy?

Brian Schmidt

Prof Brian Schmidt’s discovery solved three major problems in astrophysics. Credit: Belinda Pratten

By Tamara Davis

Science rarely overturns existing paradigms, so why was the astonishing announcement that a mysterious “dark energy” was accelerating the expansion of the universe so quickly accepted by cosmologists?

Tamara Davis is a Research Fellow with the University of Queensland’s School of Mathematics and Physics.

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