A rubbery invader under fire
Grass fires may be the key to containing rubber vine, Cryptostogia grandiflora, one of the northern Australia's most destructive pests. Since its introduction from Madagascar as a garden plant, rubber vine has infested about 350,000 square kilometres of open woodland.
Preliminary studies by CSIRO have revealed that birds, wildlife and domestic animals are contributing to the contamination of Australian waterways at previously unrecognised levels.
Australia's tropical fruit industry is besieged by native fruit-piercing moths which attack at night and destroy whole orchards in hours. CSIRO entomologists believe exotic predators offer the best chance of long-term control.
Good oils and fishy tales
CSIRO's research on marine oils involves scientists working with industry to seek profitable uses for the by-catch and byproducts of Australia's south-eastern fisheries (such as orange roughy, jack mackerel, blue grenadier and deep-sea shark).
From banks to biodiversity
Australia's new National Herbarium is part of the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research which plays a key role in monitoring, analysing and researching Australia's unique botanical richness. Documenting Australia's Botanical species, 80 per cent of which are found nowhere else in the world, is the main function of the Herbarium, which houses more than one million plant specimens.
Towards a strategy for sustainable pastures
Black speargrass, Heteropogon contortus, is an important component of south-east Queensland's sub-coastal pastures because it survives drought conditions, contributes to soil stability, and is a relatively nutritious food source for cattle. In the early 1980s, however, graziers and scientists became concerned that black speargrass, and other valuable species, were disappearing. In response to these concerns, a project to assess the longer term impact of grazing on black speargrass pastures was set up in 1988. The project is centred on sustainable land-resource use within the context of extensive beef cattle grazing.
Digesting the 'farmyard effect'
Australia is a relatively high per capita methane emitter because of the nature of its agriculture. Innovative techniques are being developed using microbes and vaccines to lift feed-conversion rates in ruminants, while at the same time reducing the gases they exhale.
Weighing up a hot tip
A two-week field trial designed to measure how much methane is produced by an average tonne of municipal solid waste was conducted at Mugga Lane Landfill, ACT, during August 1994. From the measurements the research team concluded that about 10 kilograms of methane was produced annually per tonne of average municipal solid waste.
Viruses on the hop
Researchers have determined that kangaroo blindness is caused by the Wallal virus, which is transmitted by biting midges. In other virus-related research, CSIRO has been investigating the potential of rabbit calicivirus (RCV) as a control of rabbits. If rabbit calicivirus is approved for national release, plans will be developed with landowners to maximise the long-term impact on rabbit numbers.