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Category Archives: Science

Science news and research from Australian universities

Boost for food crisis research

Plant scientists at the Research School of Biology (RSB), part of the ANU College of Medicine, Biology & Environment, have been awarded up to $7 million to add their scientific expertise to a new Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant. The five-year project aims to enhance photosynthetic efficiency in crop plants to tackle the loomingContinue Reading

Large old trees in rapid global decline

Large old trees in rapid global decline

Ecosystems worldwide are in danger of losing large, old trees forever, without more research and policy changes to better protect them, warns a new study published in Science today. Lead author of the paper, Professor David Lindenmayer from the Fenner School of Environment and Society in the ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, saysContinue Reading

Mystery of DNA decay unravelled

Mystery of DNA decay unravelled

A new study is finally laying to rest the debate over whether DNA from the age of the dinosaurs could survive to the present day. Scientists at Murdoch University led a study which shows the rate of DNA degradation and calculates that all bonds in a DNA strand preserved at the ideal temperature of minusContinue Reading

Toxic oceans preserve ancient life

Toxic oceans preserve ancient life

Curtin University research showing that bacteria were responsible for the excellent preservation of a crab-like fossil during the Devonian period suggests that organic geochemistry could be a useful new tool for understanding ancient environments. The research, recently published in the prestigious journal Geology, showed that hydrogen sulphide dependant organisms (known as Chlorobi) and sulphate-reducing bacteriaContinue Reading

Novel underwater noise study maps critical wildlife habitats

Novel underwater noise study maps critical wildlife habitats

Researchers from Curtin University’s Centre for Marine Science and Technology (CMST) have completed a study mapping underwater sea noise levels along the coast of British Columbia. The study used modelling tools developed at Curtin and mapped noise from thousands of ships over one year. It aimed to identify noise exposure levels in critical habitat forContinue Reading

Future grim for ‘biggest, most magnificent trees’

Future grim for ‘biggest, most magnificent trees’

Across the world, big old trees face a dire future globally from agriculture, logging, habitat fragmentation, exotic invaders, and the effects of climate change, warn leading scientists in an article published this week in Science magazine. Professor William Laurance, an ecologist at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia, reveals a dramatic decline among the world’sContinue Reading

Cane toads can be stopped

Cane toads can be stopped

It may be possible to stop the spread of can toads into new areas of Australia according to new research published today in the Journal of Applied Ecology. One of the lead authors of the study, James Cook University’s Dr Ben Phillips, said that their work, which involved an international team of scientists, showed thatContinue Reading

Scientists find more use for crops

North Queensland sugarcane and essential oil derivatives could be turned into pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and even luxury perfume, in ground-breaking research by James Cook University researchers. Matthew Bolte, from JCU’s Solarchemicals Research Group in the School of Pharmacy and Molecular Sciences, is using sunlight to photo-chemically convert biomass derivatives into materials that are both naturally derivedContinue Reading

Researchers discover how the body uses vitamin B to recognise bacterial infection

An Australian research team has discovered how specialised immune cells recognise products of vitamin B synthesis that are unique to bacteria and yeast, triggering the body to fight infection. The finding opens up potential targets to improve treatments or to develop a vaccine for tuberculosis. The study, jointly led by the University of Melbourne andContinue Reading

Crimes of evolution: algae held captive and genes stolen

Microscopic animals held algae captive and stole their genes for energy production, thereby evolving into a new and more powerful species many millions of years ago reveals a new study published today in the journal Nature. The results reveal a ‘missing link’ in evolution because the tiny animal thieves (protozoa) couldn’t completely hide all evidenceContinue Reading

Bionic muscle regeneration within reach

Car accident victims and cancer patients are among those who may benefit from a University of Wollongong breakthrough in the use of nanostructured bionic platforms to regenerate muscles. The development, which features in the November issue of the prestigious new journal Advanced Health Care Materials, gives scientists the ability to align muscle cells and facilitateContinue Reading

Sea snails could have medicinal purposes

A workshop for the development of natural medicines from the Muricidae family of sea snail will be conducted at Southern Cross University this week (November 5 to 9). Muricidae has already been found to contain cancer-fighting properties as well being used for gynaecological problems in India so a team of scientists from around Australia andContinue Reading

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