2012 News archive

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December 2012
Honours student receives grant for plant systematics   View Summary
18 December 2012
Analysing Herbarium sheetHonours student Charles Foster has been awarded the 2012 Hansjorg Eichler Research Grant from the Australasian Systematic Botany Society to investigate the systematic relationships and biogeography of Logania.
November 2012
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo data collected on facebook   View Summary
30 November 2012
Cockatoo number 15Community science is uncovering the habits of sulphur-crested cockatoos. Adrian Davis, in collaboration with the Royal Botanic Garden and a horde of facebook followers, has been tracking the movements of these cockies via social media.
Postgraduate Excellence Prize awarded for smelly research   View Summary
20 November 2012
Finalists for the 2012 Postgraduate Excellence PrizeWhat's that smell? Alex Carthey's research on the response of native mammals to the odours of alien predators has won her the Postgraduate Excellence Prize for 2012.
Winner of the Dr Paris Goodsell Grant in Aid announced   View Summary
16 November 2012
Winner of the Dr Paris Goodsell Grant in Aid announcedAline Martinez, PhD candidate with the Centre for Research on Ecological Impacts of Coastal Cities, is the winner of the 2012 Dr Paris Goodsell Marine Ecology Grant in Aid. By making starfish fluorescent Aline plans to monitor their herbivorous habits.
Changes predicted for the Simpson Desert's droughts and flooding rains   View Summary
13 November 2012
Climate change predicted to lead to incresed desert stormsIn the face of climate change, central Australia is predicted to have more flooding rains followed by explosions in rodent populations. This forecast, based on over 100 years of historical data, was published this month by researchers in the School of Biological Sciences.
October 2012
Science photographer profiled by ABC Science   View Summary
18 October 2012
Lichen by RickettsThe work of Malcolm Ricketts, science photographer and member of the School of Biological Sciences, has this month been made the feature of an Australian Broadcasting Corporation photo gallery.
Odours of mass deception - how rats learn to ignore native birds   View Summary
16 October 2012
experimental nestRats' keen sense of smell can be exploited to dramatically reduce their attacks on native birds, researchers from the School of Biological Sciences have shown. The technique could be adapted to protect vulnerable species worldwide.
Deep-sea isopods confirmed to be ancient   View Summary
11 October 2012
HeteromesusEvolution, extinction and recolonisation. These processes formed the core of Luana Lins' exploration into the isopods of the deep sea.
Brainless slime moulds can remember   View Summary
9 October 2012
Slime mould growing on a plateSlime mould has no brain and yet it 'remembers' where it has been. The mechanism for this marvel has been elucidated by Chris Reid in a new study published in PNAS.
Eddie Holmes joins the School of Biological Sciences   View Summary
5 October 2012
Professor Eddie HolmesProfessor Edward Holmes arrived in Sydney in October to begin work with the School of Biological Sciences and the Sydney Institute for Emerging and Infectious Diseases on the Australian Disease Database.
September 2012
Biology exhibition opens at the Macleay Museum   View Summary
28 September 2012
white lichen growing on a rockThe Meaning of Life exhibition, which celebrates 50 years of the School of Biological Sciences, was launched on September 27th by the Chancellor.
Professor Steve Simpson presents Great Southern Land on ABC TV   View Summary
17 September 2012
Steve Simpson in a small planeExplore the amazing landscapes of Australia from the air, when Professor Steve Simpson presents Great Southern Land - a four part documentary series on ABC TV
From solo to sociable - how locusts try to avoid cannibalism   View Summary
5 September 2012
locust eating locustNew research by Professor Stephen Simpson and international collaborators suggests cannibalism has played a crucial role in the evolution of locust behavioural transformations - from solitary to social and back again.
August 2012
How a zebra virus killed a polar bear   View Summary
23 August 2012
Lars the polar bearNew research by an international team, including Dr Simon Ho, has discovered that the mystery death of a polar bear in a German zoo was caused by a virus found in zebras.
The Nature of Nutrition   View Summary
20 August 2012
book coverThe Nature of Nutrition, an exciting new book by Stephen Simpson and David Raubenheimer, establishes the first unifying framework for nutrition.
Murray Lecture: Crowd Control - The Principles of Collective Behaviour   View Summary
6 August 2012
Murray lecture 8 August 2012Discover the principles underlying how shoals swim in synch, flocks fly in formation and herds hurry in harmony - in other words, how big groups of animals move in a coordinated fashion - when Professor Iain Couzin, presents his Murray Lecture.
The one that got away - higher temperatures change predator-prey relations   View Summary
3 August 2012
Mosquito fishTemperature rises can drastically alter relationships between predator and prey, including the success of invasive species, new research from the School of Biological Sciences has shown.
Biologists awarded ARC Fellowships   View Summary
1 August 2012
ARC logoIn recent days the School of Biological Sciences has been awarded four Australian Research Council (ARC) grants - three Future Fellowships and one Laureate Fellowship.
July 2012
Genome sequence released for Nicotiana benthamiana   View Summary
26 July 2012
Nicotiana benthamianaThe exceptional research potential of a native Australian plant has been accelerated by the release of both its DNA and RNA sequence.
Memoirs of an evolutionary life   View Summary
18 July 2012
Book coverDistinguished Professor in biology at Indiana University, Rudy Raff, has released his new book, Once We All Had Gills, in which he takes readers on a journey of some of the most vibrant and living examples of evolution on earth.
June 2012
Conservation physiology: predicting responses to change   View Summary
28 June 2012
Front cover artwork for publicationWith many species under threat and populations in decline, understanding and forecasting how organisms respond to human-induced environmental change is becoming increasing important.
Research confirms catastrophic effects of Varroa mite on Aussie bees   View Summary
25 June 2012
The worst fears of Australia's honeybee industry have been realised, with new research confirming that Australian honeybees are highly susceptible to a pest that hasn't yet reached our shores but will decimate them when it does.
Using the cane toad's poison against itself   View Summary
13 June 2012
Cane toad tadpoles caught in a trapAn effective new weapon in the fight against the spread of cane toads has been developed by the University of Sydney, in collaboration with the University of Queensland.
May 2012
Native mints: sorting out a family   View Summary
24 May 2012
Beetle in a Lasianthos flowerDr Trevor Wilson, an associate lecturer from the School of Biological Sciences, has recently been awarded an Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS) research grant to resolve relationships, describe new species, and study the evolution within the Prostantheroideae group.
Limpet research lands fellowship   View Summary
21 May 2012
Limpet attached to rockLimpets may not look like much, but the health of these aquatic gastropods is an indication of the health of the water they inhabit. Sonia Brazao, from the School of Biological Sciences, was recently awarded a doctoral fellowship from the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) for her proposed investigation of these snail-like creatures.
Did dingoes kill thylacines?   View Summary
3 May 2012
Dingo in the desertThere has long been debate as to what caused the extinction of the thylacine from mainland Australia. Was it dingoes, humans or hunger?
February 2012
Just ask the locals: new way to tell if a species is native   View Summary
17 February 2012
Just ask the locals: new way to tell if a species is native'You'll get the best advice from asking the locals' is a tip often used by travellers. It's also a radical new way to determine whether an introduced species has become a native species - by asking the other local species - according to research by Alexandra Carthey, a PhD student in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Sydney, and her supervisor Associate Professor Peter Banks.
January 2012
Hotter homes produce smarter babies   View Summary
12 January 2012
Lizard emerging from eggA hotter home appears to produce babies with better cognitive abilities - but before you turn up the home heater to make your baby brainier, the research was conducted on the Australian lizard Bassiana duperreyi.
Scientists get funny at Bright Club   View Summary
10 January 2012
Dieter HochuliTurning science into stand-up comedy, three scientists in the division of Natural Sciences at the University of Sydney will take to the stage as part of Bright Club at the Sydney Festival over three nights in January.