So what is NCRIS and why does it matter?

SKAOver the past few weeks there has been much political ado about the withholding of funding for Australia’s science infrastructure program. But now the funding is secure does anyone really understand what this research infrastructure is and why it is so important to us?

Artists impression of the Square Kilometre Array, part of Australia’s national research infrastructure

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Intergenerational report missing key future threat – climate change

UnknownThe following is an open letter initiated by Dr Andrew Glikson, signed by Australian environmental and climate scientists and as published in The Conversation.

We the undersigned are concerned that the Australian Government’s 2015 Intergenerational Report underestimates the serious threat of global warming to future generations.

Australia’s waterside cities are under threat from rising sea levels unless more is done to stop CO2 emissions (Michael Dawes)

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Move to recognise human epoch – ‘The Anthropocene’

the-anthropocene-eraThe Anthropocene, the geological epoch when humans have had an overriding influence on the earth and its atmosphere, is a step closer to being formally recognised as a geological period – and apparently it all started in 1610!

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Grubs up


Shouldn’t we be taking the idea of eating insects – or entophagy –   a bit more seriously?




A delicious and nutrious meal all wrapped up in a crunchy coating! (zmescience)

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Will the climate debate end up being fought in the courts?


Could politicians and scientists in the future be charged with “climate negligence”?

Implications of climate change on sea level rise effectively communicated (Julie G/Flickr, CC BY-ND)

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Shhh… Don’t wake the Kraken

1335759279_kraken by Ramses MelendezWhat turns an inconspicuous plant into an economically and ecologically damaging alien invader? Or to paraphrase this blog title – why does the Kraken awake? The answer is not simple. Several hypotheses exist, including lack of natural predators in the introduced range (the enemy release or habituation hypotheses).

However alien invaders often take time to become problematic. This lag phase, when plants may be called sleeper weeds, indicates that invaders may be adapting to their new environments. But recent research finds that multiple introductions of invaders during this phase can create a new breed of super weed.

The Kraken Wakes – a huge legendary sea monster,
remade as an alien invader by John Wyndham

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Engaging hearts and minds to reverse the biodiversity crisis

mass-extinction_1077_600x450Lets us be in no doubt – we are in the midst of the greatest biodiversity crisis the world has ever seen. The rate of extinction today is greater than at any other time in the history of life on earth.  The last 2 thousand years has also been recognized as a new geological period – the Anthropocene (see earlier post here) – the period when humans are having an overarching influence on the trajectory of the environment and biodiversity.

The reasons for this decline aren’t rocket science and are largely due to habitat fragmentation, invasive species and climate change. If species are to stop going extinct they will need large enough areas to maintain healthy populations.

But why aren’t we doing more to protect species from extinction?

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Give the land a break, and have some confidence in resilience

5826442-1x1-700x700The ability of the bush to bounce back after extensive grazing cannot be guaranteed. A farmer from Sanderson in the foothills of the South Australian Mt Lofty Ranges, Brenton Newman, had more faith than that and destocked his land to give it chance to recover. However the devastating Eden Valley bushfire burnt through 95% of the property last year, potentially derailing the early stages of recovery. Almost one year on, the land, which is still destocked, is showing amazing signs of recovery and recolonisation by native species.

Click here to view a good news story by Simon Royal for the ABC 7:30 report

Click here to view original story (and here) just after the devastating fire had ripped through the property

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Local is not always best


The use of local seed is widely advocated for habitat restoration and is based on the premise that locally sourced seed will be the best adapted for the local conditions at restoration sites.

However, a ‘local is best’ seed sourcing practise (where seed for planting establishment is only sourced from native habitat within a few km of the restoration site) misses two important points, which may be seriously impacting on restoration outcomes, particularly resilience in the face of future environmental and climate change.

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Silent running

We’ve been doing some silent running for a while, but we are about to ramp up again.

silent running

We’ll start with uploading some articles that have been published over the last year or so and then feed into new material produced from across the group

Happy reading

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