2013 Media Report

January

1: Cosmos magazine has reported on research by PhD candidate Chris Reid on how slime moulds have a spatial memory system.

11: The Sydney Morning Herald has interviewed Professor Rick Shine about a scrub python on a Qantas plane flying to Papua New Guinea. High drama: Qantas python’s flying circus.

11: The Meaning of Life: Celebrating 50 years of Biological Sciences exhibition was promoted in the Time Out Sydney (online) magazine.

17: Sydney City Hub and Inner West Independent has reported that inner city residents are being asked to assist a cockatoo tracking project being conducted by PhD student Adrian Davis at the University of Sydney in conjunction with the Royal Botanic Gardens. The Cockatoo Wingtag project aims to see how many sulphur-crested cockatoos call the Botanic Gardens home, and find out how far they travel to find food.

24: ABC (Newcastle) interview with Professor Chris Dickman on the effect domestic cats have on the environment.


February

6:Nothing fishy about swimming with same-sized mates” reads the headline on Phys.Org (online), which reports on Associate Professor Ashley Ward’s research published in Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology. He found that fish use chemical cues to size-assort when forming shoals.

6: Professor Rick Shine describes his work on toad control in “Toad busting traps are easy alternative” published in the Herbert River Express.

14: The Higher Education section of The Australian interviewed Professor Eddie Holmes about his research identifying four new forms of hantavirus in bats. “Virus came from bats not rats.”

  • 20: “Experts on the trail of bat viruses” - Central Magazine

15: The documentary TV show starring Professor Steve Simpson, Great Southern Land , is released on DVD and reviewed in Cosmos magazine.

20: Professor Frank Seebacher’s work investigating spider sex was reported on in the AAP Newswire “Fitness is key in spider sex, study finds” and ABC Science (online) “Energetic spiderman gets the girl”.

26: School of Biological Sciences volunteer and author, Debbie S Miller, is interviewed on 666 ABC (Canberra) about her children’s book ‘Survival at 40 Above’. She researched this book whilst volunteering in the Simpson Desert.

  • March 1: “David’s pick of the month” - Brisbane’s Child
  • April 5: “Book launch at ASHOF tonight” – Longreach Leader

27: The 50th Birthday exhibition at the Macleay Museum had its final spruke in the Central (Sydney) magazine – “Last chance to see exhibition”.


March

5: The final in a four-part Health Canal (online) series on the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases, ““Defective” virus leads to epidemic of dengue fever”, features research from Professor Eddie Holmes.

7: BBC Nature (online) reports on findings from Professor Rick Shine’s Austral Ecology paper which showed that the presence of green tree frogs reduced cane toad survival - “Australia’s native frogs beat invasive toads.”

11: ABC Radio outlets and ABC (online) have reported that there is new evidence that the Queensland cane toad is heading towards the far south coast and interviewed Professor Rick Shine, who said many people struggle to correctly identify toads. “Cane toad hitches a ride to Lake Illawarra”

11: “Hopping mad? Scientist wants more toads” - The Daily Telegraph has reported that Professor Rick Shine wants to import more cane toads for research.

12: A number of scientists comment on the capacity of various animals to tolerate heat in an ABC Environment (online) article, “Heatwaves to hit wildlife hard” . Professor Rick Shine says Australian reptiles are very flexible and capable of coping with very hot conditions.

16: The Forbes Advocate reports on an upcoming workshop presented by Associate Professor Peter McGee in “Low down on cropping soils”. The carbon, nutrition and soil management workshop is part of a series on innovative farming systems.

  • 18: “Leader in the field to address locals” – Champion Post

17: Professor Frank Seebacher comments on a study about lactating dinosaurs “Did mother’s milk make dinosaurs so big?” to Australian Geographic, which is reported in the Illawarra Mercury.

20: The West Australian interviewed Professor Rick Shine about the spread of cane toads across the Northern Territory and the Kimberley - “Toads closing in on Broome.”

  • 28: Cane toad march closer to Broome” – Broome Advertiser
  • May 15: Interview with 2UE radio for the Nights program.

21: A conservation effort which trains wild animals not to eat cane toads, is reported on. The work, by Professor Rick Shine and Dr Jonathon Webb at UTS, involves feeding nausea inducing cane-toad flavoured sausage to quolls and lizards. “Quolls, lizards learn to eat safe” - Cairns Post

  • 21: “The quoll’s last stand” – Sydney Morning Herald
  • 21: “Quoll jumps aboard Attenborough’s Ark” – Sydney Morning Herald
  • 28: Interview with ABC Far North on the Mornings program.
  • April 17: “Life saving lessons” – Cairns Sun

25: Research by Professor Rick Shine on cane toads and their control is mentioned on ABC Far North.

25: ABC 702 Sydney has interviewed Professor Rick Shine about the reptiles in his lab at the university, and talks about reptiles now being for sale in NSW pet shops. Professor Shine answers questions from callers.

25: Students from the Bee Lab appear in an ABC TV news story about the Macleay Museum exhibition – “Rare glimpse of medical history on display.”

27: The South Western Rural Advertiser and the Liverpool Champion speak to students from Holsworthy Public School about their upcoming visit to the University of Sydney for the Giant Science outreach program.

28: ABC Radio National’s PM program has interviewed Professor Ben Oldroyd re two new studies which show that some commonly used pesticides are affecting the brains of honey bees – “Studies find pesticides damage brains of bees.” This story was aired across a number of ABC radio stations.

28: The Mosman Daily interviewed a high-school student who attended the Sydney Science Experience outreach workshop – “A new generation learning.”

29: Associate Professor Nathan Lo comments on research from the University of Hamburg for a New Scientist article, “Termites are the ‘fairies’ behind weird desert rings.” The research claimed that sand termites were responsible for ‘fairy circles’ in the Namib desert.

29: Professor Rick Shine comments to The Hindu on a news story - “The name of the snake” - which talks about a water snake apparently having the same name in an Indian language and an Australian aboriginal language.


April

8: ABC Southern Queensland has interviewed Professor Rick Shine about snakes in Australia. He says Australia is the only continent where the majority of snakes are venomous, but Australia also has a comparatively low mortality rate from snakes.

10: ABC Tropical North interview Professor Rick Shine, who talks about the beauty of snakes. Shine discusses the capturing of snakes, and the transmitters placed on snakes to keep track of them. The snake is also part of the 2013 year for the Chinese.

23: ABC Science has interviewed Professor Edward Holmes on how bats are a major natural reservoir for two groups of viruses, including those that resemble hepatitis C – “Bats a ‘major natural reservoir’ of viruses.”

  • June 1: “Healthy hints” – Have-a-Go News

23: Associate Professor Peter Banks is interviewed on 612 ABC Brisbane about rodents.

27: The Sydney Morning Herald and 2UE have reported on a study run by PhD student Adrian Davis and collaborators to observe the movements of sulphur-crested cockatoos in the urban Sydney landscape – “Spotlight on cockatoo, winged wanderer who loves city life.”

27: Whats on Sydney promotes Sydney Zoo lecture by Associate Professor Dieter Hochuli, “Wildlife vs The City.”


May

5: Associate Professor Peter Banks speaks to ABC’s Radio National about the onerous animal ethics approval process - “Animal experiments under the microscope.”

7: Reports of the newly elected Australian fellows of the London based Royal Society, including Professor Steve Simpson, were circulated. “Royal fellowship for Australian scientists”TMC Net (online)

11: New Scientist quoted Dr Jerome Buhl in their story “Plague of locusts blankets Madagascar.”

11: Professor Rick Shine comments on the New Scientist story, “If all painted turtles turn female, it’s curtains.” This story reports on research showing a temperature rise of 1oC would result in 100 per cent of painted turtle eggs being female, earmarking them for extinction. Rick said that the findings of the turtle study may extend to crocodiles, some lizards and some fishes.

12: PhD student Adrian Davis is mentioned in a 702 ABC Sydney radio interview for his involvement in the cockatoo Wingtag project.

12: SBS TV reports that Australian scientists are scrambling to strengthen stocks of honeybees in the wake of increasing pressure from mites, viruses, bacteria and bad-practices. Work from Professor Ben Oldroyd is mentioned.

17: “How cyanide-eating butterflies led to Charles Perkins centre appointment”, on the Campus Daily (online) website, explains Professor David Raubenheimer’s path to the University of Sydney.

19: Professor Chris Dickman is interviewed for Radio National’s Background Briefing in a story called “The dogs that ate a sheep industry.” Chris comments on the Queensland Government’s strategy of poisoning the dingoes, explaining that this may lead to a change in the pack structure and that as the poison loses its potency the animals may take a long time to die.

21: The Conversation website has published an article by Dr Tanya Latty, on how fire ants could help in the design of rescue robots – “Worker antics could lead us to search and rescue robots.”

21: “Microscopic mite will bug bees” in the St George and Sutherland Shire Leader newspaper and online reports on work published last year by Professor Ben Oldroyd. (See the June 2012 Media Report for more coverage of this research.)

29: The Australian has interviewed Professor Steve Simpson regarding his research into locust swarming, which has changed ideas about human obesity – “Locusts lead to a fat chance-discovery.”

31: The Age newspaper has interviewed James Herbert-Read and Associate Professor Ashley Ward on how mosquitofish move as a group – “Fishing for answers”


June

1: In a Women’s Health and Fitness magazine article on diets to promote longevity, “Extension diets”, Professor Steve Simpson comments on the Okinawa principle. Steve says the ratio of protein to carbohydrates consumed is important as well as the total calorie count.

Genetic research by Dr Tom Newsome showing that the dingos in the Tanami Desert have not bred with domestic dogs gets coverage on ABC radio.

8: Dr Camilla Whittington’s visit to Orange Anglican Grammar School to extract DNA from strawberries was covered by the Central Western Daily in “Science under the microscope”.

A regional outreach program, Kickstart on the Road, visited Tamworth and was covered locally. The program targets HSC-level students and involves the School of Biological Sciences and the School of Physics.

25: Science Magazine (online) reports on research suggesting that viviparous reptiles originated on tropical mountainsides, “Lizard family tree solves 30-year-old mystery”. Dr Matthew Brandley comments on this research by encouraging the examination of other warm climate viviparous species.


July

3: Dr Tom Newsome published an article in ECOS Magazine on the funding for a feasibility study to resurrect the wild-dog fence in Queensland’s central west. In the article, “Dog-fence proposal reignites debate over role of dingoes”, Dr Newsome said there will be ecological consequences that most likely won’t be factored into the economic viability.

  • 16: Interview with ABC Wide Bay. Also broadcast on ABC North West WA and seven other ABC stations.
  • 22: Interview with ABC Tropical North.

7: 2TM interviewed Dr Kerryn Parry-Jones about Hendra. She said vaccination is best to prevent deaths.

11: Dr Mathew Crowther contributes to The Conversation’s series on Australian endangered species - “Australian endangered species: Central Rock-rat”.

  • 16: “Fears for rarest rock-rats” – Centralian Advocate

16: ABC Western Queensland interviewed Professor Chris Dickman about how dry weather affects bilbies. Replayed on 17 July and also broadcast on ABC North West Queensland.

The students who attended the Gifted and Talented Discovery program are profiled in local newspapers (see April and July 2012 media reports also).

  • 17: “Science a natural selection”Armidale Express
  • 18: “Top scientific minds” – St George and Sutherland Shire Leader
  • 18: “Student takes on science challenge” – Corryong Courier
  • 18: “Elizabeth’s got a gift for science” – Port Macquarie Independent
  • 19: “Gifted program” – North Shore Times
  • 19: “Switched on science” – Singleton Argus
  • 19: “Young scientist in NSW’s top 9.4% - Maitland Mercury
  • 23: “Heart for the sciences” – Illawarra Mercury
  • 23: “Science stars” – Blacktown Sun
  • 23: “Science classes for your school holidays? Yes please, says James” – Border Mail
  • 23: “Science stars” – Northern News
  • 23: “Experimenting with future role” – Auburn Review Pictorial
  • 23: “Science stars” - Rouse Hill-Stanhope Gardens News (online)
  • 24: “Skilled Ruby shines” – Wentworth Courier
  • 24: “Fun in science” – Coffs Coast Advocate
  • 30: “Gifted kids hands-on”Hills News
  • 30: “Mitch joins talented science students for workshop”Inverell Times
  • 31: “Elite training for science students” – Port Macquarie News
  • August 14: “A gift to science” – Camden Haven Courier
  • August 14: “Science students get career insights” – Rouse Hill Times

21: Professor Chris Dickman commented to The Age about a CRC bid for funding to reintroduce locally extinct fauna to Wilson’s Promontory, VIC. Professor Dickman said if the bid was successful, it would be an exciting development - “Prom may be in for a devil of a time”.

Kickstart on the Road received media attention for its visit to Parkes and Wagga Wagga (see June 2013 media report for more coverage of the program).

  • 22: “Unique science experience coming to Parkes” – Champion Post
  • 23: 2WG Newsreader
  • 23: ABC Central West NSW interviews Francesca van den Berg
  • 24: “Workshops generate excitement” – Riverina Leader
  • 24: “Mudgee High students kickstart science study” – The Weekly
  • 25: Interview with ABC Riverina
  • 25: Interview with Win TV Wagga Wagga
  • 26: “Students get a Kickstart” – Irrigator
  • 26: “Out and about” – Daily Advertiser
  • 31: “Kickstart to HSC success at Condobolin High School” – Condobolin Argus
  • 31: “Kids get kick start in physics” – Champion Post
  • August 5: Photo in Champion Post

24: Professor Steve Simpson has an interview with 3AW Drive program about the Charles Perkins Centre building and the objectives of the centre. Also broadcast on 2AY.

30: “Threat from athlete cane toads” appears in The Australian. This article discussed research published in PNAS from the lab of Professor Rick Shine which showed that studies that only track established populations of invasive species can underestimate the rate at which they can spread into new territory.


August

1: ”Science chews the fat” is the heading of the Newcastle Herald article which interviews Professor Steve Simpson. He comments on his research into animal nutrition and how it links to human obesity.

10: The Weekend Australian interviewed Professor David Raubenheimer on vegan diets for cats – “Cats and dogs on vegan diets give experts paws for thought”.


September

1: Associate Professor Dieter Hochuli is interviewed by 702 ABC Sydney about why insects are dominant on this planet, their perception of pain and risk and about research into managing insects.

1: Australasian Science article, “Shape shifters”, mentions research by Professor Rick Shine into the evolution of Australia land snakes.

5: Professor Rick Shine’s success at the Eureka Awards was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Conversation.

17: The Courier Mail interviewed Professor Rick Shine about a reported increase in snake bites in Queensland – “Deadlier snakes coming out to play as suburbs grow”

19: ABC Radio’s NSW Country Hour program interviewed Dr Arianne Cease on her research into how degraded soils can promote locust growth and the development of migratory swarms - Locusts prefer poor pastures: Sydney Uni research.

26: The Conversation published another endangered species article by Dr Mathew Crowther, on the decline of the Carpentarian Rock-rat in Australia’s Top End.

30: Associate Professor Peter Banks talks about sniffer rats to ABC Darwin. He says rats can detect tiny trace amounts of chemicals.


October

3: The next instalment on Australian endangered species in The Conversation, published by Dr Mathew Crowther, on the Lesser Stick-nest Rat.

Dr Mathew Crowther received domestic and international media coverage, in print, radio and TV, with a reach to 1,769, 251 people for his research on koalas. This research found that in extreme heat koalas moved from feed to shade trees and suggested that Australia's koala population could face a decline unless more is done to protect it from extreme weather.

6: The Sun Herald interviewed PhD candidate Elizabeth Lowe on her research indicating that the increasing use of home pesticides is creating a biodiversity imbalance - “Killing spiders risks an increase in other pests”.

8: Professor Rick Shine answers questions from 891 ABC Adelaide listeners about cane toads in Hawaii.

9: Professor Chris Dickman is mentioned in a Braidwood Times article, “Population, resources and climate change – implications for Australia’s near future”, as a speaker in an upcoming Fenner Conference at the Australian Academy of Science.

The science outreach Gifted and Talented Discovery Program appears in local papers profiling participants.

Research from Professor Maria Byrne has found the sea cucumber can play an important role in protecting coral on the Great Barrier Reef.

22: Penrith Press reports on opening of the Charles Perkins Centre Nepean and interviews Professor Steve Simpson - “New centre to focus on chronic diseases”.

24: The Conversation published another endangered species article by Dr Mathew Crowtherwoylie.


November

5: Dr Mathew Crowther authored an op-ed in The Conversation about the fossil history of the platypus – “Fossil of giant platypus unearthed in Riversleigh”.

Research by Dr Alison Gosby reveals humans are hardwired to reach a protein intake target which may be causing people to overeat. The findings were originally published in Obesity Reviews“Protein leverage and energy intake”.

  • 6: Interview on Seven News – 7TWO
  • 6: Interview on the Nights program – 2UE
  • 7: “Protein craving leads to overeating” – Canberra Times
  • 7: “Hunger for protein may cause overeating: study”Sydney Morning Herald
  • 7: Interview on ABC radio channels News Radio, North West WA and Riverina
  • 10: Interview on The Sunday Show – 774 ABC Melbourne
  • 13: Interview on Riverland Today – ABC Riverland SA
  • 17: Interview on Weekend Nights – 4BC (Brisbane)
  • December 1: “You may scoff” – Readers Digest
  • December 1: “B + S Newsflash: Lack of protein drives overeating” – Sunday Herald Sun, Sunday Telegraph, Sunday Tasmanian, Sunday Times and Sunday Mail Adelaide

9: Associate Professor Dieter Hochuli was quoted about funnel web spiders in a Sydney Morning Herald article about snake precautions – “Precautions, alertness can counter snake danger”. Professor Rick Shine commented on a similar topic in “Snakes raid the suburbs” in the Daily Telegraph.

15: There is a brief in MX about PhD student Lucy Taylor’s study into how nature impacts well-being – “Time for a tree change”.

20: Associate Professor Peter Banks jointly authored an op-ed published in The Conversation encouraging scientists to think more dangerously - “Science needs to be more dangerous”

21: Aaron Greenville and Associate Professor Glenda Wardle co-authored an op-ed for The Conversation about how the dingo may face the same fate as the Tasmania tiger – “Will we hunt dingoes to the brink like the Tasmanian tiger?”

AAP Newswire reports Professor Steve Simpson is concerned about the emphasis on micronutrients as the cure or cause of disease.


December

1: The Australian Geographic regular section “Ask an expert” questioned Professor Rick Shine about cane toads. He explains that cane toads can rapidly adapt to colder conditions.

3: Dr Mathew Crowther comments to The Conversation in an article entitled “Grunt work: unique vocal folds give koalas their low-pitched voice”. He says the researchers initially dissected ten male koalas and found no specialisation.

7: Work on native mint species, Prostanthera marifolia, by Dr Trevor Wilson and Dr Murray Henwood is reported on in the Weekend Australian section “Flora”. The article says that seed and plant material from the native mint will be stored to ensure its survival.

7: The Daily News in Tweed Heads publicises a seminar by Dr Matt Greenlees in which he will speak about cane toad management – “Toad control”.

11: Dr Matt Greenlees was interviewed on the Gold Coast’s local Channel Nine evening news bulletin about a trial of new traps to help native animals.

18: Dr Will Figueira is interviewed by 89.7FM about the federal government’s plan to overturn the ban on recreational fishing in marine reserves - “Boiling point science excerpts: recreational fishing.”

19: Dr Mathew Crowther wrote an op-ed about the Kangaroo Island Dunnart published in The Conversation.

31: The Sydney Morning Herald reports PhD candidate Rebecca Morris has collaborated with a team to research how pots can act as a substitute for rock pools in which algae, snails, starfish and crabs can live - “Sydney Harbour sea creatures go potty for wall of man-made homes.”