In this issue

Issue 81

Lakewatching at Tuggeranong
The Lakewatch team of students at Lake Tuggeranong College, Canberra, have been analysing the chemistry, physics and biology of Lake Tuggeranong. The program has demonstrated that action can be taken to improve the local environment and has fuelled community enthusiasm for the program.
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Exotic pests focus of ship's ballast study
The CSIRO has begun a national investigation of the impact of organisms introduced by ships' ballast water. The study is an important step towards better ballast-water management strategies for international and coastal shipping. Three pests, toxic dinoflagellates, the alga Undaria, and the North Pacific seastar, Asterias amurensis, introduced by ballast water, are now of major environmental concern.
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'Escape nets' reduce fish bycatch
New prawn nets to be trialled in the Gulf of Carpentaria near Weipa in early 1995 are expected to reduce the unwanted fish bycatch by up to 70 per cent. The trials will test different types of escape pathways to encourage the fish to swim out of the net while trapping the prawns.
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Car sharing could halve vehicle use
In an effort to reduce vehicle use, a Melbourne company has enlisted CSIRO's help to estimate the viability of an 'instant' carpooling system. Dynamic Transport Management which develops computer applications for scheduling and deploying large vehicle fleets, is applying this technology to a project called 'Easy Share'.
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Unlocking the secrets of flowering
Scientists at CSIRO's Division of Plant Industry are moving closer to deciphering the environmental cues that prompt plants to flower. The cues include day length and low temperature or 'vernalisation'.
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Ant antics
Ants are emerging as reliable indicators of environmental change. Their potential is being tested during rehabilitation work at Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory.
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Alligator weed demands guerrilla tactics
Alligator weed is a serious threat to irrigated agriculture across a broad region of southern Australia. The weed is now infesting the rice crops and irrigated pastures fed by the Barren Box Swamp in south-west NSW. Research into eradication of the weed has investigated a number of strategies, with three herbicides currently being the most effective control agents.
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South America focus of bio-control search
The flea beetle, Agasicles hygrophila, and the moth Vogtia malloi, both from Argentina's Parana River, have helped to control the aquatic form of alligator weed in Australia. However, the insects are unlikely to survive in much of the weed's potential range, especially in inland areas, according to computer modelling using the computer-based climate-matching program CLIMEX.
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Regional planning simplified
CSIRO scientists have developed a computer system that models the transport, diffusion and chemical reactions of emissions for distances of hundreds of metres to a few hundred kilometres. The Lagrangian Atmospheric Dispersion Model (LADM) uses data about the weather, terrain and emissions from a particular region to predict how the pollutants will disperse and change.
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LADM solves monitoring dilemma
The Lagrangian Atmospheric Dispersion Model (LADM) was used to investigate wind patterns affecting the recirculation and build-up of ozone in a 125 square kilometre area centred on Brisbane. Based on this information, scientists have designed an expanded network to improve the monitoring of photochemical pollution.
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Tracking plumes in the sunshine
Plumes from industrial chimneys carrying pollutants are affected by air movement. Scientists from CSIRO have assisted power-generating authorities by carrying out research into the dispersion of chimney plumes, their fate and their environmental impact, at sites such as at Queensland's Tarong Power Station.
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US controls highlight air toxics danger
Traditionally, research into volatile organic compounds, or 'air toxics' has focused on the role played by air toxics as precursors of photochemical smog formation. However, as overseas controls on the emission of particular air toxics tighten, assessing the risks posed by individual compounds is becoming increasingly important. The CSIRO is upgrading its air toxics analysing capabilities to meet these needs.
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Clean air: the inside story
Pollutants are common in indoor air and many occur at concentrations high enough to affect the health of building occupants. CSIRO researchers are now studying the sources of indoor air pollutants and their emission characteristics. The information will be used with indoor air quality models to predict the impact of source emissions on pollutant levels in buildings, and to select sources that do not adversely affect indoor air quality.
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Jet flows and good mixing
Just as natural winds affect the movement of pollutants outside, air flows inside buildings affect how pollutants, and temperatures, are dispersed. Computational fluid dynamics is used to study the different kinds of air flows that occur both inside and outside buildings.
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Can plants purify indoor air?
Scientists are testing the stress responses of plants under various conditions. The information will be used as the basis for quantifying the plants' capacity for reducing indoor pollution. This will enable plants to be selectively bred for specific indoor environments.
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Forests and flying foxes: partners in survival
Flying foxes appear to be declining. Today, five flying fox species are rare, two are vulnerable, and one is extinct. Beyond the immediate issue of bat conservation lies a broader problem: the effects of their decline and altered migration patterns on forest ecology. Flying foxes are vital in sustaining forests as working ecosystems. Researchers believe that with a network of reserves in 15 'critical conservation areas', all species of Australian bats can be preserved.
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A bug for learning
Insects - a world of diversity, the first interactive, multimedia CD-ROM to be produced by CSIRO, presents in one package the most intriguing and important aspects of the insect world.
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John Landy, naturalist
Natural history has been a life-long interest for John Landy. This interest, his books and his career are briefly outlined.
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Digital records assess revegetation
Aerial photography has traditionally been used to monitor the establishment rates and proportional growth of revegetation species. However, this technique has its limitations. A new technique, called multi-spectral aerial videography, can monitor large areas of vegetation at a fine scale, detecting differences in communities by their spectral characteristics and canopy architecture.
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