Missing heat may be hiding deep in the Atlantic

Published 01-Sep-2014
More than a dozen theories have now been proposed for the so-called global warming hiatus, ranging from air pollution to volcanoes to sunspots. A new study shows that the heat absent from the surface is plunging deep in the north and south Atlantic Ocean, and is part of a naturally occurring cycle.

Genetic technologies point to proliferation of insect species

Published 01-Sep-2014
While scientists have some idea of the diversity of plants, mammals and birds in Australia little is known about the number of insect species. The puzzle is now being solved through the use of DNA technology and chromosome analysis.

Innovation gets a boost in solar sector

Published 01-Sep-2014
$21.5 million funding has been allocated through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to 12 new R&D projects in solar photovoltaics, solar thermal and solar storage.

Mini choppers map rainforest weed invasions

Published 01-Sep-2014
Australia's rare rainforests, such as Queensland's iconic Daintree, could have an unexpected aerial ally in the battle against weeds – autonomous mini helicopters equipped with advanced imaging technology.

Some desert plants more heatwave-resistant than others

Published 01-Sep-2014
Researchers have identified a wide variation in thermal tolerances of desert plants, meaning some species may be more vulnerable than others in a heatwave.

A hairy trick: why geckos can walk on walls

Published 25-Aug-2014
Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a model that explains how geckos, as well as spiders and some insects, can run up and down walls, cling to ceilings, and seemingly defy gravity.

Consumers ‘taking a big bite out of the earth’

Published 25-Aug-2014
Every meal served costs the planet 10 kilos of soil, 800 litres of fresh water and 1.3 litres of diesel fuel, according to respected science communicator and author, Julian Cribb.

Getting more cities to go global on urban sustainability

Published 25-Aug-2014
A new five-year agreement between the United Nations Global Compact and RMIT University aims to unite and strengthen efforts to tackle the world’s urban sustainability problems.

Good news for turtles: study identifies Gulf ghostnet hotspot

Published 25-Aug-2014
The Gulf of Carpentaria off Australia's northern coast has one of the highest rates of abandoned fishing nets, or so-called ghostnets, anywhere in the world. In fact, up to three tonnes of netting washes ashore each year for every kilometre of coastline.

Scientists say logging linked to Black Saturday fire severity

Published 25-Aug-2014
Logging in Victorian forests was partly to blame for the severity of the 2009 Black Saturday fires reaching the intensity of the nuclear explosions at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, leading Australian ecologists have found.

P on the pods

Published 18-Aug-2014
Urine could be successfully recycled to fertilise crops according to University of Sydney researchers, who have examined the effectiveness of reusing nutrients from human waste.

Saving orangutans: habitat conservation or reintroduction?

Published 18-Aug-2014
Protecting the forest homes of orangutans is the most cost-effective way of boosting the great apes' chances of survival in the long run, according to a team of Indonesian, Malaysian and Australia scientists.

Air traffic growth set to outpace carbon reduction efforts

Published 18-Aug-2014
Carbon-reduction efforts by the airline industry will be outweighed by growth in air-traffic, even if contentious mitigation measures are implemented, according to new research from the UK.

Acidification rates higher in coral reefs than open oceans

Published 18-Aug-2014
The rate of acidification in coral reef ecosystems is more than three times faster than in the open ocean, according to recent research published in Geophysical Research Letters by Australian biogeochemists.

Australia’s Virtual Herbarium: five million records and counting

Published 18-Aug-2014
Australia’s Virtual Herbarium (AVH) – one of the world’s largest repositories of information on plant species based on actual specimens – has just notched up a landmark five million data records.

Molecule discovery brings hydrogen storage a step closer

Published 11-Aug-2014
Australian and Taiwanese scientists have discovered a new molecule that puts the science community one step closer to solving one of the barriers to development of cleaner, greener hydrogen fuel-cells as a viable power source for cars.

Gudjuda rangers celebrate a year of turtle conservation

Published 11-Aug-2014
Home Hill's Gudjuda Indigenous Land and Sea Rangers in Queensland celebrated their one-year anniversary on World Ranger Day, 31 July. The rangers have been responsible for helping over 300 baby turtles out to sea and protecting turtle nesting habitats.

Sea sponges a soak for sewage

Published 11-Aug-2014
Research into the impacts of sewage effluent on a marine sponge species in waters around Darwin Harbour has uncovered some surprising results, microbes within sea sponges can soak up elevated nutrients such as nitrogen.

Key drivers of climate change can be global and local

Published 11-Aug-2014
A study published in Nature Climate Change suggests that climate scientists struggling to understand a recent increase in Pacific equatorial trade winds may have been using climate models that underestimate the connection between Atlantic and Pacific ocean basins. A separate study in PNAS calls for a better understanding of regional climates, based on the findings of research into the timing of the disappearance of New Zealand’s glaciers.

Let’s hold onto Australian Plains-wanderer: ecologist

Published 11-Aug-2014
The Plains-wanderer, one of the most endangered species of native grasslands in eastern Australia, continues to decline at alarming rates according to ecologist John Morgan.

Biogas retrofit a first for Australian red meat processing

Published 11-Aug-2014
JBS Australia, the country's largest meat processor and exporter, is capturing and using biogas at its Dinmore, Queensland, facility to reduce dependence on grid-connected natural gas by about 50 per cent.

Pesticide risk management made easier for Spanish-speaking world

Published 04-Aug-2014
Living in Australia, we tend to forget that more than 400 million people globally speak Spanish as a first language. Now, Spanish-speaking farmers and regulators have been given access to risk management software that will help them rate the impact of pesticide pollution on water resources.

Simple step saves mattresses from landfill

Published 04-Aug-2014
Where do old mattresses go to die? ‘Landfill' is the answer, and this can be a significant economic burden for local councils as landfill costs rise. South Gippsland Shire Council has instituted a simple program to tackle the problem.

Google’s global search for a smarter ‘little box’

Published 04-Aug-2014
Google's Little Box Challenge is an open competition to invent and build a small working power inverter for solar and other forms of renewable energy. The prize of $1 million will be announced in January 2016.

Wave energy atlas to identify potential power hotspots

Published 04-Aug-2014
Ocean waves are one of the most powerful natural forces on our planet and potential energy source for Australia's future energy mix. An Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) grant will allow CSIRO to make a wave energy atlas to map our potential wave power.

Ecos Issue 198 - Table of Contents


Enviro14: Pathways for Better Business

Adelaide, 17-19 September

Ecological Society of Australia

Alice Springs, 28 September - 3 October

Climate Adaptation 2014: Future Challenges

Gold Coast, 30 September – 2 October

Australian Regional Development Conference

Albury, 15-16 October

Coast to Coast Conference

Mandurah, WA, 27-31 October

Environment Institute of Australia & New Zealand Annual Conference

Hobart, TAS, 30-31 October 2014