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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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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