Ep 49. Peacock spiders and citizen science with Stuart Harris

May 14, 2018
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: Stuart Harris

In the summer of 2008 Stuart Harris was out bushwalking when he spotted a small colourful spider. He decided to take a photo and put it up online on his flickr account. Little did he know that this was a peacock spider that was previously unknown to science. This marked the beginning of a long adventure for Stuart, along with a number of passionate arachnologists and explorers, that have discovered and documented numerous new peacock spider species. 

Stuart Harris is now a spokesperson for citizen science and natural history with a career path worthy of an award winning documentary. The film Maratus chronicles Stuarts adventure and explores the interface of science discovery with our daily lives. In this interview with In Situ Science, Stuart discusses the impact that these discoveries, and the film, have had on his life and career.

Watch Maratus online here

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Ep 48. Soil microbes and healthy farming with Maarten Stapper

April 29, 2018
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: Maarten Stapper (BioLogic AgFood)

How do you know if you have healthy soil? Look for worms! Dr Maarten Stapper joins us on In Situ Science to chat about how caring for soils and healthy ecosystems can improve our farming practices. Unfortunately modern farming practices, including livestock grazing, pesticide use and synthetic fertilizer use, can actually harm our crops more than they help them. 

Dr Maarten Stapper now runs his own agricultural consultancy that helps farmers transition towards organic farming practices whilst maintaining their productivity. He believes very strongly in the role of organic farming, not only for improving our environment, but also human health. Martin also talks openly about the industries behind science and farming that may be actually hindering progress in agricultural research. 

Find out more on Maartin's company website BioLogic AgFood 

 

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Ep 47. Sexy siestas and shooting for the stars with Dr Karl

April 15, 2018
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: Dr Karl Kruszelnicki

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki is perhaps Australia’s most prolific and well known science communicator. He has written over 43 books, and has appeared regularly on on national radio for over 30 years. In an interview with In Situ Science we chat about the immense amount of research and hard work that goes in to building up Dr Karl’s broad  range of expertise.

We then delve into his mind and chat about everything from the science behind what makes people attractive and why world peace can lead to economic inequality. We also get some sneak peeks into his upcoming book and what a day in the life of Dr Karl is like. His latest book Karl the Universe and Everything covers topics from the science behind artificial uteruses to the search for life on other planets. 

 

Vist Dr Karl’s website at www.drkarl.com and follow him on Twitter @doctorkarl

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Ep 46. Eurovision, cake and ant-mimicking spiders with Mariella Herberstein

April 1, 2018
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: Mariella Herberstein (MQ)

 

‘There are many Maries out there… But there’s only one Mariella, and thats me.’

       - Mariella Herberstein

 

In addition to her research Mariella Herberstein is well known for her role as a mentor to emerging scientists in biological sciences. In an interview with In Situ Science she discusses how important a collegiate and positive research environment is to making good science happen. 

She also tells us about her current research projects in the mysterious lives of spiders. Currently she is working with a team of researchers to understand why and how some spiders mimic ants. She also really likes Eurovision...

 

Follow Mariella on Twitter @MarieHerberstei

Find out more about her research on the Behavioural Ecology Group website.

Keep up to date with the latest Eurovision gossip at http://www.thescienceofeurovision.website

 

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Ep 45. Wing Threads: Flight to the Tundra with Milly Formby

March 18, 2018
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: Milly Formby (Wing Threads)

To raise awareness for shorebird conservation, zoologist and illustrator Milly Formby has formed an epic plan; she will circumnavigate Australia in a microlight aircraft. This journey is roughly the same length as one of the worlds most important seabird migration routes, the East Asian-Australian Flyway. 

Milly is a multi-talented scientist, artist, and explorer. After beginner her career in visual arts as a tapestry weaver, she made the career transition to become a research scientist. In an interview with In Situ Science, Milly Formby describes the life changing moments that led her to directing her whole life towards the pursuit of this new goal. Find out more about Milly's journey and donate to support her cause at www.wingthreads.com

Also check out Milly's artwork and online store at www.millyformby.com

 

 

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Ep 44. Assassin bugs, cloud forests and spread-eagle hunters with Matthew Bulbert

March 4, 2018
00:0000:00

“Born too late to explore the earth. Born too early to explore the stars”

    - Anonymous

 

Modern scientists often have the strange feeling that they have been born in the wrong era; that they are the ‘middle children’ of history. They read enviously about the exploits of explorers past, sailing boldly into uncharted waters, and worry that they may never be able to undertake those same legendary journeys. But the truth is that scientists are explorers everyday; they explore the uncharted waters at the boundary of human knowledge. By studying the phenomena that occur all around us every day they are uncovering more and more information about the building blocks of our universe.

Dr Matthew Bulbert (AKA Dr Bulby) is a behavioural ecologist from Macquarie University with an insatiable desire for exploration. In an interview with In Situ Science he recounts his journeys throughout Papua New Guinea, Africa and Australia in search of rare and poorly understood animals. He explores new paradigms in biology by describing and studying animal behaviours that have never been studied before. 

Find out more about his research through his lab’s website www.conflictecology.com or follow him on Twitter @MBulbert

 

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Ep 43. Microbial Game of Thrones with Gal Winter

February 18, 2018
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: Gal Winter (UNE)

How is your gut health affecting your brain? Recent research suggests that conditions like depression can actually be linked to the microbiology of your gut. Dr Gal Winter from the University of New England is a microbiologist that studies the microbial communities involved in food digestion and how it can affect your health. 

In an interview with In Situ Science Gal explains how your gut fauna respond to environmental changes, and manages to use Game of Thrones as a perfect analogy for this. She also talks about her previous research in the lucrative field of wine research and drops a few diet tips along the way. 

You can follow Gal on Twitter @GalWinter2

 

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Ep 42. Curious minds, homeward bound and just wingin’ it with Mary McMillan

February 4, 2018
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: Mary McMillan (UNE)

In hindsight, career pathways seem like they were meticulously planned and pre-destined. The reality is that they are an unpredictable rollercoaster ride grasping at whatever opportunities present themselves along the way. In an interview with In Situ Science Mary McMillan takes us through the twists and turns that lead to her career as a molecular biologist at the University of New England. Now she spends her days teaching biology and researching the biology behind mental health issues. 

2018 is gearing up to be a big year for Mary as she mentors high school students through the Curious Minds program aimed at encouraging more young women to get into STEM fields. Along with all of this she is taking part in the global Homeward Bound leadership program that will see her developing professional skills across the year. This program also culminates in a trip to Antarctica for the award recipients, theres only one catch though… Mary has to fund her own way there!

To support Mary on her journey get in touch with her on Twitter @maryemcmillan or on Instagram @theaccidentalscientist

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Ep 41. Pollinators, Bond films and ecosystem services with Manu Saunders

January 21, 2018
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: Manu Saunders (UNE)

Twice a year Australians get together to scour their backyards for native pollinators. The Wild Pollinator count is a nation-wide citizen science project aimed at increasing awareness of Australia’s native pollinator diversity. It was started a few years back by a team including ecologist Manu Saunders. In an interview with In Situ Science Manu describes how it is important that people understand that bees are not the only pollinators, and that many critical ecosystem services like pollination are carried out by lesser known insect groups. 

During the interview Manu tells us about her passion for James Bond movies and muses on whether they reflect cultural changes in peoples’ perceptions of scientists over time. This mind field is spurred on by Manu’s manifesto to have ecology realised for the hard science that it is. Unfortunately science is often stereotyped as something that has to involve space, robots, or chemicals in a lab, in modern times we seem to have forgotten that nature and natural history are just as important to scientific discovery and progression. 

You can follow Manu on Twitter @ManuSaunders or follow her blog Ecology is Not a Dirty Word

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Ep 40. Twitchers, miners and presidential decorum with Paul McDonald

January 7, 2018
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: Paul McDonald (UNE)

Australia’s iconic birdlife can be a divisive issue. Whilst some species are welcomed into backyards and gardens, others are derided as pests and invaders. Paul McDonald studies the behaviour of one particularly divisive species, the Noisy Miner. Whilst many people may regard them as urban pests, Paul says that beneath their screeching facade they exhibit complex social behaviour, comparable even to primates. 

Paul McDonald is a behavioural ecologist from the University of New England who specialises in understanding the social behaviour of birds. He is also currently the president of the Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour and in an interview with In Situ Science insists that James refers to him as Mr President. We also chat about the ins and outs of being part of an academic society, as well as the difference between twitchers and normal people.

Learn more about Paul’s research at his lab’s website www.abel.une.edu.au

 

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