In this issue

Issue 80

Ozone depletion: the hole story
Recent monitoring results from Tasmania's Cape Grim Atmospheric Research Station and elsewhere indicate that growth rates of all major chlorine and bromine containing ozone-depleting substances in the lower atmosphere (or troposphere) are slowing or have stopped. However, stratospheric chlorine levels are likely to remain sufficiently high to initiate springtime Antarctic ozone holes until at least 2015. Meanwhile, scientists are continuing to measure chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and other ozone-depleting chemicals in one of the largest studies of ozone-depletion and its causes ever conducted - dubbed ASHOE - the Airborne Southern Hemisphere Ozone Expedition.
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Yoghurt: a treat for ulcer patients
A range of yoghurt cultures is being investigated for therapeutic applications by researchers. If the trials prove successful, it is possible that a regular serve of the right yoghurt, in conjunction with simple antibiotic treatment, may cure an ulcer patient without recourse to surgery or complex drug therapy.
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Where will that pest go next?
A computer program that has helped scientists in Australia to plan strategies to control introduced species such as the cattle tick and Mimosa pigra, is now being used in more than 60 locations worldwide. CLIMEX, developed at CSIRO's Division of Entomology uses climate data and distribution patterns of plant and animal pests to predict their likely spread.
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Food exports: a matter of taste
Scientists at the CSIRO's Sensory Research Centre are investigating what people in other countries eat and why, in order to increase Australia's food exports.
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Testing time for tuberculosis
In response to new antibiotic resistant strains of tuberculosis, CSIRO and CSL have developed a non-invasive, rapid test with results available in only one day.
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Taming forest fire
Fire management has always been a part of forestry in Australia. In Western Australia especially, regular fuel reduction or 'prescribed' burns have been used for many years. In Western Australia's karri forest, a researcher has been carrying out experimental burns of slash left after thinning to find the optimum timing for prescribed burning in thinned regrowth stands. To do so, he must assess fuel quantity, fuel dryness, wind speed, tree size and air temperature in order to reduce the fuel hazard, while preventing damage to retained crop trees. It is a delicate balance, requiring a thorough knowledge of the forest's characteristics.
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New recipe for managing rangeland shrubs
Much of Australia's arid and semi-arid pastoral land - from central-west New South Wales to central-west Queensland - suffers from dense infestations of shrubs, the so-called 'woody weeds'. Individually, no control method prevents the recurrence of woody weeds. Effective control demands an integrated approach incorporating follow-up techniques. One strategy for controlling native shrubs being investigated includes fire and a follow-up application of chemical defoliant at low concentrations. The timing of each control technique is crucial to success.
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Did animals control woody weeds?
Woody weeds may have been controlled prior to European settlement by wildfire, and by animals such as the bettong and malleefowl. Ecologists say fertile burrows and nesting patches provided an oasis of nutrients that were critical to regenerating growth in the rangelands.
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Cool work with wasps and worms
CSIRO scientists have developed the technology for producing, processing and storing by freezing or cryogenics, a range of different 'entomopathogenic nematodes' (nematodes that penetrate and rapidly kill insects with the help of a special symbiotic bacterium). Already, hundreds of billions of these nematodes have been produced for the Australian and overseas market. The technology that makes possible this production has fostered a new export industry. In Australia, use of such nematodes has been used to control the sirex wood wasp.
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Understanding winds and waves
More accurate marine forecasting, particularly in relation to storm conditions, is set to flow from field observations performed off Tasmania's south-west coast. These projects were part of the Southern Ocean Waves Experiment, a joint project between CSIRO, the University of New South Wales and NASA. Analysis of the data collected during the experiment has helped scientists to understand in detail how the wind generates surface waves.
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Playing tag with the tuna
Innovative techniques are being used to track Southern bluefin tuna from the tropics to the Southern Ocean, and back again. These techniques include dye-marking; conventional tagging; and archival tagging, which involve a mini computer set up to record and store information.
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Ocean patterns link life in the deep
An intensive study into orange roughy (deep sea perch) populations off Australia's south-east coast has yielded valuable information about the structure and function of mid-slope marine communities (700 to 1,200 metres deep). Past studies have concentrated on depth-related factors in explaining the composition of species in deep-water environments. This approach, ignoring the influence of ocean circulation, has fostered the belief that organisms in the deep-sea are distributed at random, rather than living as members of distinct, interactive communities. But the new research indicates that communities do exist in the deep-water zone and that their boundaries are defined, not only by depth, but also by the prevailing oceanic circulation.
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Queen of the waterways
Dr Kath Bowmer, deputy chief of CSIRO's Division of Water Resources has been responsible for research into pesticides in water, the use of wetlands for effluent treatment and CSIRO's multi-divisional blue-green algae research program. Dr Bowmer's career in science is outlined.
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Science comes alive
More than 60,000 students a year learn about research conducted by CSIRO and other scientists that probes our environment, our economy and our health by visiting one of the CSIRO Science Education Centres (CSIROSECs). Students enjoy hands-on experiments, using equipment not generally available in schools, and which reflect the outcomes of scientific research.
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