Why is leaf shape important to plants?



A range of oak leaf shapes suited for different environments (Bridget Mc Dermott)

Plants have different shaped leaves to cope with different environmental conditions. But  many plants change the shape of their leaves over time and space! Why?



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A decade of restoration is making the microbiome great again.

E. coli bacteria

The microbiome  is an “ecological community of commensal, symbiotic and pathogenic microorganisms” found in and on all multicellular organisms

We can plant trees to re-establish a woodland community, but does planting trees help other elements of the community recover? What about the microbial community, it is responsible for much of the ecological functioning of intact ecosystems. Does restoration help the microbiome and why should we care?


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Forests hiding in plain sight


Earth’s forest just grew by 9% – New analysis finds hidden pockets of forest all over the globe (sciencemag.org)

A new global analysis looking at  the distribution of forests and woodlands has ‘found’ 467 million hectares of previously unreported forest in dryland ecosystems – a land area equivalent to 60% of Australia. In this day and age of advanced remote sensing how are such discoveries still possible?

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My, what big teeth you’ve got…


Can the wolf really be tamed? Ask little red riding hood (Indulgy)

We may have been able to tame the dog – the only large carnivore to now happily coexist with humans. But how does domestication occur and can we learn from it to develop new animal breeds and crop varieties for food?



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Secrets of Australia’s rangelands uncovered



The rangelands include some of Australia’s most iconic arid and semi-arid landscapes (including Uluru, Shutterstock), they support important pastoral and tourism industries, yet are some of our most understudied ecosystems


The secrets of the understudied Australian rangelands, which make up 81% of the continent, have been exposed in new scientific work




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Gardening in the face of a changing climate

Keep the climate in mind when you’re choosing what to plant (shutter stock)

Since 1880, the average global temperature has increased by 0.8°℃, with large changes in rainfall redistribution. With these changing conditions upon us, and set to continue, gardeners will have to alter the way they do things.

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How the warming world could turn many plants and animals into climate refugees


The Flinders Ranges were once a refuge from a changing climate (Shutterstock)

Finding the optimum environment and avoiding uninhabitable conditions has been a challenge facing species throughout the history of life on Earth. But as the climate changes, many plants and animals are likely to find their favoured home much less hospitable.

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Devil’s Gardens and the demon gardener

A Devil’s Garden at Posada Amazonas (Keith Martin)

Imagine you are hacking your way through the Amazon rainforest and you venture across a grove completely devoid of ground vegetation and dominated by a single tree species. A highly unusual occurrence in one of the most diverse ecosystems on earth. Congratulations you have found a Devil’s garden

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Cryptic but important genetic differences within species

different-races-dr-rosedaleAs Charles Darwin noted, the physical differences between individuals of a species are  important for their future survival and success (or not). However there are also many not so obvious differences (known as cryptic variation) between individuals that give us important insights into the evolutionary and ecological history of a species. This information is important for how we make use of and conserve a range of our native biodiversity.

Some of the obvious and cryptic differences between human races (Dr Rosedale)
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Tales from the forest – Teak



Teak is one of the most valuable timber trees in the world, but where did it originally come from…

Teak tree – from Jalan Jati -a project on memories of wood, trees and people and has been captured on film, exhibitions and books. (Woodprint collage – Ranjang Jati (Teak Bed) Woodprint of a 1930’s teak bed found in a Singapore junk store with reproduction of a printout of the DNA profile. Collage on Paper with charcoal. 240 cm x 150 cm. Image Lucy Davis)

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