2002

Australian researchers have developed an epidural simulator that may stop anaesthetists having to relate complex medical procedures to a bowl of fruit. [click to continue…]

Australian scientists have developed a fast, simple and reliable method of camouflaging ships and submarines against magnetic detection by marine mines. [click to continue…]

Astronomers from the University of Melbourne are challenging the current thinking about the nature of the universe’s dark matter by checking out its effect on light. [click to continue…]

From June next year, a “smart” radar system will provide Australia with a clearer picture of the movements of aircraft and shipping more than 1500 kilometres off shore. [click to continue…]

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A joint research team from the University of Newcastle and the University of New South Wales has taken major steps towards producing a bionic eye for the treatment of blindness. It has developed a silicon chip which replaces the sensory part of the eye-the retina. [click to continue…]

Research based on an accidental discovery has found that common blood pressure therapy could slow the rapid aging process associated with diabetics. [click to continue…]

An Adelaide researcher has used kelp to demonstrate a principle of importance to planners and conservationists-that the best way to maintain rare species when habitats are broken up and destroyed is to ensure neighbouring patches are as close together as possible. [click to continue…]

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In a world-first, research has used sophisticated time-lapse video microscope techniques to watch the sex lives of red seaweed in action.

“Until now, no one knew what exactly happens when these seaweeds become sexy,” says University of Melbourne researcher, Dr Sarah Wilson.

“Despite the fact that red seaweed is worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the food processing industry for nori (sushi) and also to helps thicken foods like icecream, little is known about them,” she says. “Their reproductive biology has been studied for over a century, but mostly on dried or preserved seaweed.

“This is the first time we have observed their sex life in living cells.”

Dr Wilson will describe the discovery with the help of video footage at a Fresh Science media conference at the Melbourne Museum today (August 18).

“We found that some male red seaweeds will release millions of sperm when there is less salt in the water and at high tide,” Dr Wilson says. “The sperm travel on water currents to the female seaweed and attach to tiny hairs.  The sperm then inject their DNA into the hairs and fertilise the egg which is found at the base of each hair.”

Dr Wilson describes the first time she saw the sperm enter the female hairs as: “very beautiful – so precise and ordered. And it all happened at the microscope level where most of us never get to see it.

“Heaps of sperm land compete with each other to get to the egg at the bottom of each hair,” she says. “It’s a bit like watching a nightclub scene.”

The southeastern coast of Australia has the largest number of red algae species in the world, and they are found in every type of aquatic environment on earth.

Dr Wilson has won a “Science as Art” prize for the exquisite nature of her microscope photography.

Fresh Science is a national science competition where 16 ‘fresh scientists’ (unpublished in the media) are selected with regard to the quality of their research and their ability to communicate that research.

Photographs and broadcast video footage of the seaweed’s sex life are available.

For photos click here

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Cows produce more milk if they are given a choice of food, according to a study released today in Melbourne.

“Presentation and choice of food affects how much we eat. It’s the same for cows,” says University of Melbourne researcher, Danni Marotti. [click to continue…]

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Researchers at the Howard Florey Institute have discovered a new gene in the lining of arteries that makes them thicken or crack causing reduced blood flow which may lead to heart attacks, stroke or impotence. [click to continue…]

Forget meteorites. Bin volcanic eruptions. When it comes to mass extinction continental drift is the mega-killer, claims Australian palaeontologist Dr Malte Ebach. [click to continue…]

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Some remarkable Australian burrowing frogs can tolerate months of inactivity without their muscles wasting away – unlike a bedridden patient whose muscle size decreases dramatically. [click to continue…]

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A smart computer system able to read deaf sign language has been developed by a PhD student at the University of NSW [click to continue…]

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A new invention by a University of Melbourne PhD student will stop buildings from cracking due to shaking by earthquakes, impacts and blasts.

Dr John Stehle, now an engineer with Hyper Consulting, says he worked with colleagues at the University of Melbourne to design a super flexible system that can beat any level of earthquake shaking. [click to continue…]

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An Australian drug that has the potential to treat stroke survivors is under development in the UK by a UK-based biotechnology company DevCo. 

The drug, known as AM-36, can minimise brain damage and physical impairments caused by strokes – Australia’s leading cause of disability. Dr Jenny Callaway and her colleagues at Monash University discovered  the new drug in collaboration with Melbourne-based biotechnology company AMRAD who have licenced the drug to DevCo. [click to continue…]

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