2001: June - August

From the Head

Congratulations to our two successful ARC applicants. Rick Shine has been awarded a new Discovery Grant, "Evolutionary ecology of snakes and lizards", worth $932,000 over 5 years, and John Sved has been awarded a Linkage grant, "Fruit fly pests in northwestern Australia : invasion, hybridisation or evolution?", worth $280,000 over 3 years.

May I also commiserate with those who applied unsuccessfully; remember there are other ways to get funding, and the School will do whatever it can to help with these. Since we had fewer applications than normal, and a lower success rate (20%, where the overall success rate at Sydney was 30%), the Research Committee will be looking into how we can improve our
performance next year. A lot of biology departments seem to have fewer grants than expected, and this may be partly due to the fact that the Research Biological Sciences at ANU now has access to ARC funding - whatever the cause, we need to ensure that we diversify our funding and return to our recent high success rate with ARC.

Head of School's Report


Ms Keryn Wilkes took up duties as Associate Lecturer (fixed-term, half-time) from 7 May - 28 September 2001.

Ms Kate Hardie took up duties as HEO Level 5 Research Assistant (Skurray) on 7 May (to 6 May 2002 in the first instance)

Ms Joanne Browne took up duties as HEO Level 5 Research Assistant (Pitt) on 21 May 2001 (to 20 May 2002 in the first instance).

Honorary Appointments

Honorary Reader - Dr Meats' appointment as Honorary Associate has been changed to that of Honorary Reader

Honorary Associate Professor - A/Professor Armati's appointment as Honorary Associate has been changed to that of Honorary Associate Professor

Visiting Scholar
Mr Wonje Lee (nominated by Professor Patterson/Dr Rouse)

Honorary Associate
Dr Michael Gray (nominated by Professor Shine)
Dr Nihal Agar (nominated by Professor Hume)
Dr D Woodside (nominated by A/Professor Hinde)

Jul - Sept '01



Lectureship in Marine Biology
15 applicants have been shortlisted for referees' reports.

Mr Richard Potts (HEO 4, First Year Biology) is taking 6 months' leave without pay. Ms Olivia Hamilton has been appointed to the position during his absence, from 7 August 2001 to 10 January 2002.

Dr Jonathan Webb took up duties as Postdoctoral Fellow on 12 June 2001 (to 11 December).
Mr Stephen Kwong has taken up duties as Level A (Research-only academic) (NH&MRC-Skurray) on 25 June (to 31 December 2001 in the first instance).
Dr Lousie Cole took up duties as Level B Research Fellow on 1 August 2001 (to 31 December 2003).

Honorary Appointments approved by the Dean

Visiting Scholar
Dr A Bouskila (nominated by Dr Dickman)
Dr J Stewart (nominated by A/Professor Thompson)
Mr J Strasburg (nominated by Dr Melville)

Honorary Associate
Mr R de Kroon (nominated by A/Professor Armati)

Special Honorary Appointment

Congratulations to Professor Skurray on his election to the Keeley Visiting Fellowship at Wadham College, Oxford for the Michaelmas Term, during his period of Study Leave.


Publications submitted to the School Database Since the Last Newsletter:


  • Adcock, GJ, Dennis, ES, Easteal, S, Huttley, GA, Jermiin, LS, Peacock, WJ & A Thorne. (2001). Human origins and ancient human DNA: Response. Science. 292:1656
  • Allaway, WG & AE Ashford. (2001). Motile tubular vacuoles in extramatrical mycelium and sheath hyphae of ectomycorrhizal systems. Protoplasma. 215:218-225
  • Allaway, WG., Curran, M., Hollington, LM., Ricketts, MC. & NJ. Skelton. (2001). Gas space and oxygen exchange in roots of Avicennia marina (Forssk.) Vierh. var. australasica (Walp.) Moldenke ex N.C. Duke, the Grey Mangrove. Wetlands Ecol. Managmnt. 9:211-218
  • Allen, LR. & ID. Hume. (2001). The maintenance nitrogen requirement of the Zebra Finch Taeniopygia guttata. Physiol. Biochem. Zool. 74:366-375
  • Andorfer, B., Kieseier, BC., Mathey, E., Armati, P., Pollard, J., Oka, N. & H-P. Hartung. (2001). Expression and distribution of transcription factor NF-kB and inhibitor IkB in the inflamed peripheral nervous system. J. Neuroimmunol. 116:226-232
  • Barron, AB. & BP. Oldroyd. (2001). Social regulation of ovary activation in 'anarchistic' honey-bees (Apis mellifera). Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 49:214-219.
  • Board, PG, Chelvanayagam, G, Jermiin, LS, Tetlow, N, Tzeng, H-F, Anders, MW & AC Blackburn. (2001). Identification of novel glutathione transferases and polymorphic variants by expressed sequence tag database analysis. Drug Metab. Disposition. 29:544-547
  • Clarke, KE, Oldroyd, BP, Javier, J, Quezada-Euan, G & T Rinderer. (2001). Origin of honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) from the Yucatan peninsula inferred from mitochondrial DNA analysis. Mol. Ecol. 10:1347-1355
  • Corso, M. & M. Thomson. (2001). Protein phosphorylation in mitochondria from human placenta. Placenta. 22:432-439
  • Dibbayawan, TP., Harper, JDI. & J. Marc. (2001). A gamma-tubulin antibody against a plant peptide sequence localises to cell division-specific microtubule arrays and organelles in plants. Micron. 32:671-678
  • Dorfman, EJ., Lamont, A. & CR. Dickman. (2001). Foraging behaviour and success of Black-necked Storks (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus) in Australia: impications for management. Emu. 101:145-149
  • Franklin, S. & M. Peat. (2001). Managing change: The use of mixed delivery modes to increase learning opportunities. Aust. J. Educational Technol. 17:37-49
  • Jakobsen IB, Saleeba JA, Poidinger M & TG Littlejohn. (2001). TreeGeneBrowser: phylogenetic data mining of gene sequences from public sequence databases. Bioinformatics. 17:535-540
  • Markovina, A-L. & PA. McGee. (2001). Comparison of symbiotic and asymbiotic seed germination and plantlet development in Sarchochilus (Vandeae; Orchidaceae). Lindleyana. 15:68-72
  • Palmer, KA & BP Oldroyd. (2001). Mating frequency in Apis florea revisited (Hymenoptera, Apidae). Insectes soc. 48:40-43
  • Peat, M., Dalziel, J. & AM. Grant. (2001). Enhancing the First Year Student experience by facilitating the development of peer networks through a one-day workshop. Higher Educatn. Res. Dev. 20:199-215
  • Seebacher, F. (2001). A new method to calculate allometric length-mass relationships of dinosaurs. J. Vert. Paleontol. 21:51-60
  • Seebacher, F. & G.C. Grigg. (2001). Changes in heart rate are important for thermoregulation in the varanid lizard Varanus varius. J. Comp. Physiol. B. 171:395-400
  • Spencer, R-J., Thompson, MB. & PB. Banks. (2001). Hatch or wait? A dilemma in reptilian incubation. Oikos. 93:401-406

Science and Nature Blitz

Members of the School have recently begun a blitz on the high profile publications, Science and Nature. Lars Jermiin published another paper in his series on Mungo Man in Science ( June 1) and Kylie Robert published her paper on temperature dependent sex determination in a viviparous skink in Nature (August 16).

Congratulations to both authors.

School OH&S Committee

From September 1, a new act covers Ocupation Health and Safety in NSW (policy at this link As a result of this act the School has established a new OH&S Committee to ensure that the School complies with the new legislation. and to assist individual labs and researchers with meeting the new requirements for using hazardous goods and developing Risk Assessments for all hazardous proceedures.

The committee will post regular updates in the newsletter and the minutes of the meeting can found on the School's website (click here). As an introduction into what the new legislation means to individuals in the School, the committee has arranged for Patrick Dunn, OH&S officer with Risk Management, to give a seminar on Friday October 5, in the DTA Lecture Theatre at 1-2pm. There will be inducements for those who attend!

Mark Ahern for OH&S committee.


Double honours for the Bee Lab.

At the recent Genetics Society of Australia meeting in Adelaide, two School members received awards. Kellie Palmer, PhD candidate, was awarded the prestigious Smith-White (after the (in)famous Sydney Professor) Student Travel Award, which she will use to attend the International Union for the Study of Social Insects congress to be held in Berlin in September.

Not to be outdone, Emilie Cameron, who recently submitted her Honours thesis on mating behaviour in stingless bees, was awarded the prize for the best talk by an Honours student. Congratulations to both.

From First Year Biology:

In FYB we are all recovering from the marking frenzy which was bigger than ever!! We all feel like we are full of cakes etc from the pseudo competition for the best and most interesting cake!! A few of us we lucky enough to miss some of this as they were in the field.

I went to Tampere in Finland, about 200km north of Helsinki to present a workshop and a paper at the EDMEDIA2001 conference. One of the highlights was a surprise outing for the workshop presenters - it was to a Finnish Sauna, women first, men second. We were welcomed by a dignitary and had good Aussie wine to drink. The sauna was an amazing experience, pretty hot at 120 degrees C, birch leaves to beat yourself with, and a swim in the cold lake followed by more wine and dinner.

The Last Installment- Bill Allaway's Swedish Opus.

Over Prennegatan

Early spring morning:
Hear the sound of God breathing.
A hot-air balloon.

Glad midsommar!

On midsummer's eve we went to a nearby village to the midsummer celebrations. Girls and boys with wreaths of wild flowers in their hair, a huge (15-20 ft high) 'midsommerstång' - a cross with a hoop on each arm, completely covered with leaves and flowers. Gentle folk music, and simple dancing in contra-rotating rings. Everybody calm but happy and laughing. Delightful!

After this, we were treated to the traditional Swedish midsummer feast - matjes sill (a special kind of pickled salt herring, pretty similar to all the others to our un-refined palates), new potatoes, sour cream with chives, hard bread, dark bread and cheese, all followed by strawberries and cream, and accompanied by beer and schnaps with 'skål-ing'. This is the full midsummer feast, apparently, consumed by everyone that day over the whole country.

That's all from Sweden, bye for now


August saw the departure of two members of the School to new horizons at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga. John Harper and Nim Weerakoon will be sadly missed by all, although we wish them all the best in their new endevours. Pictures of the farewell can be viewed here!

And to close this issue of the newsletter a priceless image of our staff working flat out on the Ecophysiology field trip held earlier this year - Assoc Prof Thompson has been at me for ages to show the School how hard we actually worked!