Uncovering the enemy within
A large project is developing a system for forecasting both weather and air pollution at a suburban scale. The system will have the potential to be linked to a model that simulates individual exposure to air pollution during normal daily activities. This will enable the prediction of typical exposure to all particulate matter, both indoors and out.
What price biodiversity?
Putting an economic value on biodiversity is a complex challenge involving both scientific and economic tools. Aware that biodiversity is a dwindling and often unappreciated resource, a group of scientists is developing principles and methods for objectively valuing biodiversity.
The rise and rise of resistance
It is only 50 years since antibiotics were hailed as miracle drugs against potentially fatal bacterial infections. However, a new breed of 'superbugs' resistant to many antibiotics is on the rise. The rise has been aided by our inability to internationally regulate antibiotic use in animal husbandry and human medicine. Of particular concern are antibiotics used for 'growth promotion' in the intensive production of cattle, poultry and pigs.
Water flows to the Barmah-Millewa Forest have been set to the demands of irrigated agriculture and only partially to the natural rise and fall of the Murray River. This has reduced the frequency, depth and extent of natural flooding, while increasing the duration of non-flood periods and unnatural flooding in summer. It is now recognised that the entire ecology of the floodplain is linked to river flows. River management committees are now considering how extra water might be made available, and how to manage water released for the best ecological outcome.
What makes sources sinks?
The uptake and release of carbon dioxide at land and sea is complicated by erratic phases of the global climate system. Researchers believe they have discovered where most of extra carbon comes from during La Nina events, and where it goes - or remains - during El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events, as well as identifying the major mechanisms responsible for the variation in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from year to year.
Researchers first noted a connection between carbon dioxide and El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events in 1976. Analysis of 40 years of data has since revealed a complex but consistent relationship between ENSO events and atmospheric carbon dioxide anomalies - in particular, a sharp decline in atmospheric carbon dioxide just before the onset of ENSO events, followed by a 'rebound' effect.
A therapeutic role for viruses
Modified animal cold viruses (adenoviruses) that transport natural immune boosting molecules into cells have the potential to improve the health and growth of livestock raised under intensive conditions.