In this issue

Issue 37


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Fire and rainforest in Tasmania
Tasmanians are the custodians of most of this country's temperate rainforest, which covers some 7% of their island. For the cool, wet, western half of the State, though, a reasonable question is 'why not l00%?' How can the plant ecologist explain the mosaic of vegetation — rainforest, eucalypt forest, scrub, and sedgeland — actually displayed?
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Weighing our energy options
Oil prices have fallen this year, and there is talk of a world glut of the precious liquid. Only a few years ago we appeared to face the prospect of constantly rising prices and a looming shortage. How quickly things change.
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A new wicket at the MCG
As cricket aficionados well remember, the state of the wicket at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the summer of 1981/82 called forth as great an outcry as the adjudication of a myopic umpire.
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Exploiting monoclonal antibodies
Only a short 7 years ago Dr Cesar Milstein and Dr George Kohler, at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, developed the techniques for producing monoclonal antibodies (MCAs) during the course of their studies into the genetic control of antibody synthesis. Their discovery of a way to make highly specific antibodies is already finding many applications in medical diagnosis and treatment, and the potential for further applications seems very great.
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Native plants facing extinction
Australian flora has an impressive richness. About 28 000 species have been recorded so far, and thousands more are still waiting to be named and described.
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Less pollution, and a useful by-product
To turn a hide into leather, the first thing a tannery has to do is remove the hair. This isn't difficult; a soaking in a liquor made up mainly of lime and sodium sulfide does the trick. The problem is to prevent the removed hair constituting a pollution hazard.
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Root-warming saves energy
Greenhouse cultivation is a rapidly growing industry in Australia. Over the past few years, sales of ornamental plants raised in greenhouses have increased by about 30% a year. The industry has flourished despite an approximately sixfold increase in heating costs since 1972.
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Coal formation and Australia’s drift north
Some of Australia's coal deposits formed much more recently than others. For example, the black coal found near Lake Phillipson, S.A., is 250–70 million years old, while the brown coal around Yallourn, Vic, was laid down only 10–15 million years ago. Queensland's Millmerran deposit is 150–70 million years old.
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Letters to ECOS
I greatly enjoyed reading the article ‘Fossil magnets: keys to the past’ by John Seymour in ECOS 35, Autumn 1983. Unfortunately, the reference on page 16 to work by our fission track dating group at the University of Melbourne contains two significant errors which I think it is important to correct.
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Nymphs in the rainforest
Rainforest communities are renowned for their diversity of plant and animal species, but sometimes this diversity is carried to quite unusual extremes.
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