In Situ Science
Ep 77. Craft beers, trilobites and Lagerstätten with John Paterson

Ep 77. Craft beers, trilobites and Lagerstätten with John Paterson

June 9, 2019

SPECIAL GUEST: John Paterson (UNE)

John Paterson is a professor of paleontology and earth sciences at the University of New England. He studies the evolution of life during the Cambrian explosion. Some of his recent research has shown that during this time some of the largest predators around, Anomalocaris, had wonderfully complex eyes and they were likely to be incredible visual predators of their time.

In this interview we also hear about his work studying the fossils found in the Emu Bay Shale on Kangaroo Island. We also hear about how he and his team celebrated their 10 year anniversary of working at the Emu Bay Shale with a specially brewed ‘Shale Ale’, a craft beer filtered through fossil remnants.

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Ep 76. Spinifex, fires and Aboriginal languages with Boyd Wright

Ep 76. Spinifex, fires and Aboriginal languages with Boyd Wright

May 26, 2019

SPECIAL GUEST: Boyd Wright (UNE)

Boyd Wright is an arid zone ecologist from the University of New England that studies the life history of the sturdy plants that make their homes in Australia’s dry deserts. Boyd has spent many years working with Indigenous communities in these areas and has made it his mission to find as many opportunities as he can to work in his true desert home. This includes finding odd jobs on farms, in aged health care and even as a Pintupi-Luritja language interpreter.

In this interview with In Situ Science we chat about how Boyd had learn the Pintupi-Luritja language from scratch by living amongst the community and is now a NAATI accredited language interpreter. By building relationships with Indigenous communities Boyd has been able to share his scientific knowledge and work alongside them to study the ecology of fire and its role in shaping the Australian landscape.

 

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Ep 75. Small shelly fossils and paleo tattoos with Marissa Betts

Ep 75. Small shelly fossils and paleo tattoos with Marissa Betts

May 12, 2019

SPECIAL GUEST: Marissa Betts (UNE)

Palaeontology isn’t just about Dinosaurs! Marissa Betts is a researcher at the University of New England that studies the evolution of miniscule animals that existed during the Cambrian explosion. During this era animals evolved hard shelled bodies that made them much more likely to fossilise. By looking at these tiny fossils Marissa can investigate how lifeforms on earth have changed over millions of years and how this information can be used to trace the history of the earth itself.

In this interview we chat about everything from paleo-art tattoos to continental drift, magnetic pole shifts, lumpers and splitters, and scientific ‘arranged marriages’. Marissa trots across the globe finding fossils and conducting research across Australia, Asia and Europe. Follow her adventures on her website and check her out on Instagram @200micron

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Ep 74. Cotton, moths and kleptoparasites with Mary Whitehouse

Ep 74. Cotton, moths and kleptoparasites with Mary Whitehouse

April 28, 2019

SPECIAL GUEST: Mary Whitehouse (CSIRO)

Farmers have learned that the widespread use of pesticides is a dangerous strategy as it can lead to the evolution of highly pesticide resistant crop pests. Land managers are moving towards ‘Integrated Pest Management’ techniques that use a multitude of strategies to more responsibly control pests, including fostering populations of natural pest predators. 

Mary Whitehouse has (in her own words) been masquerading as an entomologist with the CSIRO for almost 20 years studying the management of cotton crop pests in regional NSW. Although her secret scientific passion has always been the private lives of spiders. In this interview we chat about the history of genetically modified cotton in Australian agriculture and how keeping landscapes natural and biodiverse can enhance our agricultural industries. 

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Ep 73. Poetry, Poop and Peron’s Tree Frog with the Dudleys

Ep 73. Poetry, Poop and Peron’s Tree Frog with the Dudleys

April 14, 2019

SPECIAL GUESTS: Alexander and Jane Dudley (Faunaverse)

Alexander and Jane Dudley are passionate defenders of the natural world. They have written two poetry books showcasing Australia’s unique animal life. Alexander travels all across Australia as a wildlife surveyor. His passion for animals and poetry has led him, with some firm encouragement from Jane, to compile his poetry together and share it with the world. Jane has been taking things one step further and putting her passion for wildlife into songs. 

In this episode we talk about, well, everything! Topics include wombat poo, house prices and the Coolatai panther. We hear about how the couple met when Jane jumped online to try and identify a frog. We chat about We hear the story of Jane’s struggle with mental illness and how an unconventional and experimental treatment has had some pretty incredible results.  

Get your own Australian wildlife poetry book at the Faunaverse website or follow the team on social media @faunaverse.

 

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Ep 72. Honey bees, slime moulds and velvet worms with Tanya Latty

Ep 72. Honey bees, slime moulds and velvet worms with Tanya Latty

March 31, 2019

SPECIAL GUEST: Tanya Latty (USyd)

Urban beekeeping is all the rage but its not the only thing you can do to help pollinators. Tanya Latty from the University of Sydney says being a lazy gardener may be the best thing you can do to help your local bees, beetles and butterflies. Tanya’s work was recently featured on ABC’s Catalyst as part of the Great Australian Bee Challenge.

Tanya and her lab work on understanding how social organisms work together to solve problems like navigation, predation and decision making. Incredibly this work can help scientist and engineers develop new technologies such as self-driving cars and autonomous robots. 

We had a few audio issues with this one. Apologies for the scratchy track, but a million thanks to John Dennison for helping out and saving this one for us!

Find out more about Tanyas work on her lab website or follow her on Twitter at @TanyaLatty

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Ep 71. Science Meets Design Live at the Django Bar

Ep 71. Science Meets Design Live at the Django Bar

March 16, 2019

LIVE FROM THE SYDNEY DESIGN FESTIVAL

Can science explain what makes good design? Are designers and scientists really that different? Or are they both just explorers searching for truth in different ways?

We celebrated the intersections of Science and Design at the Sydney Design Panel with a celebrity panel featuring Tom Gordon, Chris Reid, Wendy Davis and Laura Jade Hindes. 

We explored everything from optical illusions to corpse piles to redneck science. Audience members got a sneak peek at the inner workings of James' brain and everyone got to take home a slime mould!

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Ep 70. Coeliac disease and carnivorous plants with Richard Charlesworth

Ep 70. Coeliac disease and carnivorous plants with Richard Charlesworth

March 4, 2019

SPECIAL GUEST: Richard Charlesworth (UNE)

Is gluten actually bad for you? Is all the hype surrounding gluten free diets justified? According to Dr Richard Charlesworth, its complicated. People's responses to gluten can range from severe coeliac disease, through to a whole spectrum of intolerance syndromes, to not reacting to it at all. And diagnosing which of these conditions people are susceptible to is a complex challenge.

In an interview with In Situ Science Richard chats about his own challenges with living a gluten free lifestlye and his research into developing better diagnostic tests to understand coeliac disease. As well as being a scientist and lecturer Richard is an enthusiastic archer, flautist, and keeper of carnivorous plants. We chat about his range of hobbies and explore what it takes to make sure you have a healthy work-life balance in academia.

Follow Richard on Twitter @drcarnivorous

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Ep 69. Horseshoe crabs and hot pink theses with Russell Bicknell

Ep 69. Horseshoe crabs and hot pink theses with Russell Bicknell

February 16, 2019

SPECIAL GUEST: Russell Bicknell (UNE)

Horseshoe crabs, firstly, are not crabs, nor do they make effective horseshoes. They are a unique animal more closely related to spiders and scorpions than crustaceans. They are highly valued due to the coagulant properties of their blood, which is harvested as a pharmaceutical product to identify impurities in medicinal products. This sadly also places them under threat as their populations are routinely harvested and their numbers are declining.

Russell Bicknell is a scientist studying their feeding behaviour and says that they need additional protection for them to survive. Russell also uses fossils to understand ancient predators from the cambrian using 3D scanning techniques to ‘reconstruct’ images of fossilised organisms. He also hopes to one day publish a pink fluffy PhD thesis :-D

Find out more about Russell's work here

Music: ‘Strange Stuff’ by Sonic Wallpaper - www.sonicwallpaper.bandcamp.com

Ep 68. Steampunk, crazy ants and early childhood with Kirsti Abbott

Ep 68. Steampunk, crazy ants and early childhood with Kirsti Abbott

February 3, 2019

SPECIAL GUEST: Kirsti Abbott (UNE)

Have you ever wanted to visit a Steampunk themed scientific learning space aimed at all ages in a regional university. We’ll guess what!? The Boilerhouse Discovery Space is currently under construction at the University of New England and is on track for completion in 2022. In this interview we chat with Kirsti Abbot the manager of UNE Discovery. She talks to us about how making learning experiences accessible to kids in regional communities is essential for bringing about equality in education later on in life.

We also talk about her previous work as an entomologist studying invasive species management. Working in invasive species management enabled her to engage with community members and diverse stakeholders and lead her towards a career in science outreach and community engagement.

Follow Kirsti on Twitter @beyondbuggirl

Or find out more about the Boilerhouse Discovery Space at uneboilerhouse.org.au 

 

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