In Situ Science
Ep 82. Emu farming, pregnancy tips and Bill Nye the Science Guy with Andrew Katsis

Ep 82. Emu farming, pregnancy tips and Bill Nye the Science Guy with Andrew Katsis

August 19, 2019

SPECIAL GUEST: Andrew Katsis (Deakin)

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A single tweet can make all the difference, or at least it did for Andrew Katsis, who decided to get involved in the #billmeetsciencetwitter trend. Little did he know that his tweet would be seen by American television producers, who decided to fly Andrew over to LA to talk about this research on the Netflix show ‘Bill Nye Saves the World’. Andrew’s research looks at how bird calls can affect the development of chicks while they still inside their eggs.

Andrew’s life in ornithology had a bumpy start as he grew up on his family’s emu farm and was terrorised by the giant birds roaming their property. The birds he studies now are much smaller and more manageable, but no less fascinating. Andrew is also a co-founder of Lateral Magazine, a freely available popular science magazine driven by early career scientists.

Check out Lateral Magazine here, follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_katsis, and check out his research website here.

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

Ep 81. Harry potter, taxonomy and academic publishing with Tom Saunders

Ep 81. Harry potter, taxonomy and academic publishing with Tom Saunders

August 4, 2019

SPECIAL GUEST: Tom Saunders (U of Auckland)

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Tom Saunders experienced a burst of scientific fame after naming a newfound species of wasp Lusius malfoyi, after the beloved and maligned Harry Potter character Lucius Malfoy. Naming new species after pop culture figures has become a useful tool for enhancing public awareness taxonomy and biodiversity research. Taking this strategy though has to be handled delicately as paying homage to beloved fictional characters can upset both traditional taxonomists and hardcore pop-culture fans.

 

Tom Saunders studies the biology of agricultural pests and biocontrol agents at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. In this interview we talk about the importance of fundamental biological research for enhancing applied agricultural research. We also chat about the strange beast that is the academic publishing system and how it needs to be improved into the future.

Follow Tom on Twitter @TomSaundersNZ and visit his research website here.

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

 

Ep 80.  Deception, maths and parental expectations with Amy Martin

Ep 80. Deception, maths and parental expectations with Amy Martin

July 21, 2019

SPECIAL GUEST: Amy Martin (UoA)

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Amy Martin is a researcher at the University of Auckland that studies the incredible private lives of orchids that trick male wasps into mating with them. By depriving these wasp populations of male sperm they can actually have long term effects on the wasp populations. Amy says that this is why deceptive orchids the world over tend to use haplodiploid insects as their pollinators as their unique mating systems make them ideal dupes.

Amy’s scientific specialties in animal behaviour and mathematical modelling come as no surprise when you find out that she is the daughter of a mathematician and an animal behaviour researcher. In this interview we chat about what it’s like following your parent’s footsteps into a career in academia and whether their support and interest can be a blessing or a curse.

 

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

 

Ep 79. Meteorites, volcanoes and Armageddon with Tim Chapman

Ep 79. Meteorites, volcanoes and Armageddon with Tim Chapman

July 7, 2019

SPECIAL GUEST: Tim Chapman (UNE)

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This episode sees our first ever geologist on the podcast. Tim Chapman is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of New England. He studies the high energy geological reactions, such as the formation of volcanoes and meteorite impacts, and what influence these have had on our landscape.

As we discuss the cutting edge of geological science, Tim answers such pressing questions as ‘what is a rock?’ We cover hot topics including geology themed sci-fi disaster movies and whether glass can actually flow over time. The take home message is, if you haven’t seen ‘The Core’, go and see ‘The Core’.

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

Ep 78. Lizard fights and crafternoons with Fonti Kar

Ep 78. Lizard fights and crafternoons with Fonti Kar

June 23, 2019

SPECIAL GUEST: Fonti Kar (UNSW)

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Fonti Kar is a behavioural ecologist from the University of New South Wales. She studies the life history of skinks and how the conditions they are born in can affect their behaviour and development later on in life. In this interview Fonti we dive deep into what it takes to be a productive scientist and the pros and cons of forging out a career in such a competitive field.

And, as always, it seems that the answer involves regular crafternoons. Your productivity as a scientist can have as much to do with the time spent outside of work, as it does your time spent working. Fonti is a passionate baker, gamer, dancer and crafter and has found that making time to escape from the pressures of a high achieving career path are essential for your overall happiness and ultimate success.

Follow Fonti on twitter @Fonti_Kar or visit her website here

 

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

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

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

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

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

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