Ecos

A bimonthly scholarly journal that publishes research and issues of sustainability in the environment, industry and community. Focused on Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

Articles from April-June

Age Riddle Confounds Fair Fishing for Krill. (Spectrum)
Antarctic krill was once considered a vast untapped source of protein for the `starving masses'. But trawling in the Southern Ocean is expensive and logistically difficult, so krill has been fished in relatively low volumes, for high-value products...
A Heavenly Harvest. (Spectrum)
A team of scientists from CSIRO and James Cook University has discovered that upland rainforests in north Queensland have a remarkable ability to harvest water from the skies. Not content with waiting for rain, these forests act as an aerial sponge,...
Birding Australia: Research in the Western Australian Wheatbelt Has Shown That Landholders Must Become Strategic about Revegetation before It's Too Late to Save the Birds
From town to town, and farm to farm, David Freudenberger travels Australia's hinterland: a determined evangelist. He carries a ritualistic wooden case containing tiny samples of Australia's vanishing soul. He displays the preserved remains of wagtails,...
Do Dolphins Have Names?
Perhaps it's their `smiling' face, large eyes, or athletic prowess? Whatever the reason, dolphins are perceived as special animals with almost-human characteristics. There is no doubting the intelligence of dolphins and they communicate by a variety...
Evolutionary Therapies: Can We Adapt the Chemical Defences of Termites to Combat Our Own Ailments and Pests?
Like ants, bees and wasps, termites form large colonies ruled by a single queen, a prolific egg-layer who is mother to all. This unusually close genetic relationship is the source of the colony's complex, cooperative behaviour. But limited genetic...
Gene Sleuths Get Behind the Whale. (Spectrum)
Spending time at the business end of a blue whale is not always an endearing experience. But for Australian Antarctic Division research scientists Dr Nick Gales and Dr Simon Jarman, the `noxious brown stain' discharged by the whale after eating contains...
Just Add Termites: Graeme O'Neill Discovers the Restorative Powers of Termites, the Earthworms or Australia's Arid Zone
From a human perspective, termites are social insects with distinctly antisocial habits. They are ubiquitous in Australian landscapes, and some of the continent's 350-plus species stand their ground when humans colonise their territory. It's a moot...
Lobster Lines. (Journal Extracts)
CARIBBEAN spiny lobsters, like many other spiny lobster species, are gregarious for most of their long lives and have some interesting, even odd, habits. During mass migrations across the ocean floor, the lobsters form single-file queues that reorganise...
Night Shift. (Spectrum)
Eighty-three kilometres up, a thin cloud has formed in the bitterly cold `mesopause' region of the Earth's atmosphere. It's the end of a summer's day in Antarctica, and as the sun sinks low, the cloud, which streaks and ripples its way across the darkening...
Quokka Defence. (Journal Extracts)
MANY animals form groups and, Like humans, their behaviour tends to change as group size increases. Typically, individuals in a group of animals forage more and become less vigilant as group size increases. This is usually attributed to a reduction...
Rainforest More or Less? Steve Davidson Considers How Tropical Forests Might Shape Up in a Warmer World
How do scientists predict the effects of future climate change on ecosystems as complex as tropical forests? After all, each species in the forest might respond to climate change differently. But the exceptionally rich biodiversity of these forests...
Reinventing Agriculture: Can Southern Australia Be Saved from Dryland Salinity? Steve Davidson Checks the View from the Frontier
As the tendrils of dryland salinity snake their way across the catchments of southern Australia, scientists involved in salinity research are seeking new ways of returning life and productivity to damaged land. The seriousness of dryland salinity...
Southern Remedies: Wendy Pyper Meets Some Cool Contenders in the Hunt for Novel Biological Diversity
The soils, sea ice and cold, saline lakes of Antarctica, are home to a unique microflora that promises to provide a wellspring of new pharmaceuticals, natural remedies, aquaculture feeds and industrial enzymes. About 300 of these microbes form the...
Stepping Lightly
THE issue of horse riding in conservation areas tends to generate heated debate. Advocates of horse riding are likely to feel aggrieved if their preferred recreational pursuit is restricted while non-equestrians often disapprove of horse riding anywhere...
Tuning in to Grey Nurse Conservation. (Spectrum)
New tracking technologies developed by CSIRO scientists may to help prevent the disappearance of grey nurse sharks from Australia's eastern coast. Using automated receiving stations and acoustic transmitters, Dr John Stevens and Barry Bruce of CSIRO...