Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

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Droughts? Floods? Or Will We Run Out of Fuel First?

By James Ward & Simon Beecham

Does the impending arrival of “peak carbon” mean that alarming climate change scenarios need to be revised downwards?

James Ward is a Lecturer in Water and Environmental Engineering at the University of South Australia. Simon Beecham is Professor of Sustainable Water Resources and Head of the School of Natural and Built Environments at the University of South Australia.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Rig Recycling

Two tugboats pull the Perdido spar from Texas shore to Alaminos canyon, where it

Two tugboats pull the Perdido spar from Texas shore to Alaminos canyon, where it was secured to the seafloor in ~2450 metres of water. Photo: Shell

By Ashley Fowler, Peter Macreadie & David Booth

Some 6500 oil rigs are due for decommissioning by 2025 at a cost of $100 billion. Would they be more useful as artificial reefs?

Ashley Fowler, Peter Macreadie and David Booth are with the Fish Ecology Laboratory at the University of Technology, Sydney.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

The Mouse Is Not Enough

The invasive nature of embryo retrieval has necessitated the use of a mammalian

The invasive nature of embryo retrieval has necessitated the use of a mammalian species that reproduces rapidly and is inexpensive to house – the mouse.

By Peter Pfeffer and Debra Berg

Fundamental differences in embryonic development mean that research using mice may not be reliably applied to other mammals, and that cattle embryos may be a better model for stem cell studies in humans.

Peter Pfeffer and Debra Berg are Senior Scientists at Agresearch in Hamilton, New Zealand.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Death in the Hive

By Andrew Barron

Almost 5 years since colony collapse was identified, the science tells us there is neither a single cause nor a single solution.

Andrew Barron is a senior lecturer with the Department of Biology at Macquarie University.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Mining with Microbes

Sampling from acidic saline drains in Western Australia.

Sampling from acidic saline drains in Western Australia.

By Carla Zammit

High salt concentrations in Western Australian groundwater have restricted the mining industry’s use of microorganisms to extract metals from their ores. Until now.

Carla Zammit completed this study during her PhD at Curtin University and is currently a postdoctoral researcher at The University of Adelaide.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Aluminium Production: A More Sustainable Future

Aluminium cans

Alcoa has designed a large-scale bioreactor that can degrade up to 40 tonnes per day of oxalate produced at one of its aluminium refineries.

By Naomi McSweeney

Bacteria that consume sodium oxalate have the potential to reduce the environmental footprint of aluminium production while saving the industry millions.

Naomi McSweeney is a PhD Student with CSIRO’s Light Metals Flagship.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

The Scientific Legacy of Burke & Wills

The camp site at Menindee

The camp site at Menindee where a base party remained behind for several months while an advance party continued north under Burke’s leadership.

By Bernie Joyce and Doug McCann

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the deaths of Burke and Wills. The expedition was originally considered a failure, but more recent analysis has changed that view.

Bernie Joyce works is an Honorary Principal Fellow in the School of Earth Sciences at The University of Melbourne. Doug McCann is a science historian and Fellow of the School of Earth Sciences at The University of Melbourne. This article was originally published in The Australian Geologist. As part of the 150th Anniversary Commemoration of the Burke and Wills Expedition, the Royal Society of Victoria has engaged a team of authors including surveyor Frank Leahy to produce a book on the scientific legacy of the Burke and Wills Expedition and the supporting relief expeditions. For further information see www.burkeandwills150.info

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Balancing Act

Ballerina

Moving effortlessly through the world and maintaining balance requires the use of specific areas in the brain that specialise in the processing of the information required for us to be able to do them.

By Mark Edwards and Michael Ibbotson

What can an earthquake simulator tell us about how our visual and vestibular systems communicate with each other to help us balance?

Mark Edwards is an Associate Professor at the Australian National University’s Department of Psychology. Michael Ibbotson is a Professor in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Vision Science at the Australian National University.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Drug Labs Leave Lethal Legacy

Drug lab

Criminal gangs can rent a property briefly, cook up their lucrative brew, chuck the waste down the drain then take off – leaving others to cop harmful side-effects that can last for years.

By Julian Cribb

Mobile methamphetamine labs leave behind a deadly cocktail of contaminants in residential neighbourhoods – with property owners left to pay for the considerable clean-up costs.

Julian Cribb is a freelance science writer.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Cryptic Clues to Species Diversity

The clawless gecko  actually consists of ten or more species.

The clawless gecko (Crenadactylus ocellatus) actually consists of ten or more different species.

By Paul Oliver

Genetic research is revealing how much we have seriously underestimated species diversity in many Australian vertebrate groups.

Paul Oliver recently completed his PhD on the evolution, systematics and diversity of Australian geckos, and currently works at the South Australian Museum.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.