Ep 43. Microbial Game of Thrones with Gal Winter

February 18, 2018
00:0000:00

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 the Australia 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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Ep 39. Dingo fences, desert spice and writings in the sand with Charlotte Mills

December 19, 2017
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: CHARLOTTE MILLS (UNSW)

The loss of mammals in Australia is having huge impacts on natural ecosystems. So big in fact that they are visible from space. Charlotte Mills is a PhD candidate from the University of New South Wales studying the role mammals play in the functioning of desert ecosystems. In an interview with In Situ Science she describes how disrupting the important roles mammals play as predators can have enormous flow on effects that drastically change vegetation patterns.

Charlotte describes her time as a PhD candidate as a 'choose-your-own-adventure' experience. This experience has taken her across the magical desert landscapes of inland Australia and continues to be an exciting adventure.

Follow Charlotte on Twitter @EcologistMills

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Ep 38. Mr Do Bee, Katydids and Superstars of STEM with Kate Umbers

December 9, 2017
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: KATE UMBERS (WSU)

Stop murdering invertebrates. OK? Good.

Dr Kate Umbers is an animal behaviour expert from Western Sydney University who is fighting to make sure that invertebrates are recognised as the wonderful creatures they are. In an interview with In Situ Science she says that perhaps the arts are the best way of teaching people about the majesty of the other 99% of the animal kingdom. By forming meaningful relationships between people and invertebrates, we can start appreciating them as things other than the creepy, crawly stereotypes they have been given.

Kate along with 29 other women across Australia is a ‘Superstar of STEM’, recognised by Science and Technology Australia for their contribution to science. These superstars are acting as role models to increase the representation of women in science. We talk about her experiences with the Superstars of STEM initiative as well as her breakthrough role on Romper Room as a child.

Follow Kate on Twitter @kateumbers and find out more about her research at www.kateumbers.com

Find out more about the Superstars of STEM scienceandtechnologyaustralia.org.au at or check out #SUPERSTARSOFSTEM

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Ep 37. Career changes, science buses and Buster the skink with Siobhan Dennison

November 26, 2017
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: SIOBHAN DENNISON (UNE)

Being a research scientist means surviving in a higly competitive professional environment. Transitioning out of this environment into other career pathways can be a challenging, rewarding and life changing experience. Siobhan Dennison started her career as a conservation genetecist, studying the ecology of skinks in inland Australia. She has now made the decision to move into science education and use her skills in science communcation to share her passion for science with school kids. 

In a candid interview with In Situ Science we chat about Sioban's transition from academia to education and her new job in regional science outreach. We're also interrupted by a large dog with a squeaky toy...

You can follow Siobhan on Twitter @Sib_D or find out more about UNE Discovery on their website.

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Ep 36. Lumping dinosaurs and paleo name-dropping with Nic Campione

November 13, 2017
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: NICOLÁS CAMPIONE (UNE)

Reconstructing the Earth’s history from fragments of information is an epic task requiring a variety of approaches. Paleontologists combine technological approaches, quantitative methods and artistic visualisations to reconstruct what dinosaur bodies would have looked like using fossil remains. 

Nicolás Campione is a quantitative paleontologist at the University of New England in Australia that undergoes this detective work to understand how animals have changed over time. Using this information he studies how animals have responded to environmental change and extinction events. This information can enable us to make predictions about future environmental change will affect life on earth and how we might be able to mitigate these impacts.  

You can follow Nic on Twitter @PaleoNic or visit his website www.nicolascampione.weebly.com

 

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Ep 35. Microbats, bushfires and learning Norwegian with Clare Stawski

October 29, 2017
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: Dr Clare Stawski (UNE)

In the face of rapid environmental change scientists are racing to study how animals might be affected by change, or how they can adapt to deal with change. Recent discoveries have shown that changes in temperature are only one consideration and other aspects, such as changes in the frequency of bushfires can have a large impact on animal life histories. Small mammals can use fires as a cue to begin torpor or hibernation, how they will respond to increased fires in Australia is of an immense conservation concern.

Dr Clare Stawski is a mammalogist and ecologist who has been working at the University of New England but is now about to begin a new position at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway. In an interview with In Situ Science she chats with us about what this big move means for her career and personal life.

 

You can follow Clare on Twitter @ClareStawski

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Ep 34. Natural history, sinister mates and the school of hard knocks with Greg Holwell

October 15, 2017
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: GREG HOLWELL (U of Auckland)

In a publish or perish environment scientists are finding it harder to spend time out in the field doing pure exploration. This is a great shame as we can never predict where the next great scientific discovery will come from. The wonders of the natural world around us are the ulitmate source of discovery, but for this to happen we need to find the time to go out in the field and explore.  

Dr Greg Holwell is an invertebrate zoologist and natural historian from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. In this interview with In Situ Science he stresses the importance of spending time making field observations and having them inform your scientific enquiry. He also chats about the importance of being an effective mentor for students, and the responsibilities involved with fostering the next generation of great scientists.  

Find out more about Greg's research at www.gregholwell.com

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