Vulnerable dolphins keep to themselves

From ABC News in Science, 3 July 2014: Two dolphin species in north-western Australia are vulnerable to local extinction because they rarely mingle with their own kind outside their immediate location, a new study has found. The genetic analysis, published today in PLOS ONE, also identified one of the first cases of successful breeding between Continue reading Vulnerable dolphins keep to themselves

Neanderthals loved vegies with their meat

From ABC News in Science, 26 June 2014: The oldest known samples of Neanderthal faeces have revealed these early humans actually enjoyed some salad with their steak. The findings, published today in PLoS ONE, challenge the image of Neanderthals as unrepentant carnivores, and the theory that their high meat intake may have contributed to their Continue reading Neanderthals loved vegies with their meat

Damselfish ‘algal gardens’ harbour coral disease

From ABC News in Science, 25 June 2014: The unique damselfish practice of cultivating their favourite type of algae on coral reefs contributes to an increase in coral disease, Australian researchers have found. The study, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, also suggests that overfishing of other fish species may contribute to Continue reading Damselfish ‘algal gardens’ harbour coral disease

Ancient reefs helped shape fish diversity

From ABC Science Online, 30 May 2014: Large coral reefs have acted as survival centres for fish biodiversity during periods of climatic upheaval, explaining the extraordinary biodiversity present in the Indo-Pacific region. The findings appear in an international study published today in the journal Science. Researchers used sediment core data to map the changing distribution Continue reading Ancient reefs helped shape fish diversity

Citizen science a winner for shark conservation

From ABC News in Science, 24 April 2014: Citizen science has proven its worth by delivering better quality data on shark populations than conventional acoustic tagging methods, and at lower cost. Researchers from Australia and Palau compared data collected by professional dive guides in Palau with acoustic telemetry data from tagged sharks at the same Continue reading Citizen science a winner for shark conservation

Leg hairs hold secret to walking on water

From ABC News in Science, 5 March 2014: The hairy legs of water striders are artfully designed to strike a balance between the water capillary action and gravity, Chinese researchers have discovered. They found the spacing of the insect’s leg hairs fits a formula that takes into account the contact angle of the hairs and Continue reading Leg hairs hold secret to walking on water

Desert cane toads no longer nocturnal

From ABC News in Science, 26 February 2014: Once creatures of the night, cane toads are now becoming active during the day to adapt as they move into semi-arid regions of Australia. Australian researchers used acoustic tags normally used to track fish movements and discovered that cane toads were accessing a dam during daylight hours, Continue reading Desert cane toads no longer nocturnal

Do you need a science background to write about science?

I wrote my first astronomy story recently. It was one of those stories where the journal/research organisation press release sounds amazing and you think, ‘wow, this story is going to write itself’. Then you look at the actual paper and you can’t even understand what the title means. Reading the abstract makes your brain leak Continue reading Do you need a science background to write about science?