Issue 05 | August 2018
E n t o m o l o g y - M a r i n e S c i e n c e - E v o l u t i o n a r y B i o l o g y - U r b a n H a b i t a t s - P reEdnattoom r oElcoogl yo g y
life F O
Marine Science Evolutionary Biology Urban Habitats P re d a t o r E c o l o g y + M o re
The Fulbright Program The Fulbright Program is the flagship foreign exchange scholarship program of the United States of America, aimed at increasing binational collaboration, cultural understanding, and the exchange of ideas. Born in the aftermath of WWII, the program was established by Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946 with the ethos of turning ‘swords into ploughshares’, whereby credits from the sale of surplus U.S. war materials were used to fund academic exchanges between host countries and the U.S. Since its establishment, the Fulbright Program has grown to become the largest educational exchange program in the world, operating in over 160 countries. In its seventy-year history, more than 370,000 students, academics, and professionals have received Fulbright Scholarships to study, teach, or conduct research, and promote bilateral collaboration and cultural empathy. Since its inception in Australia in 1949, the Fulbright Commission has awarded over 5,000 scholarships, creating a vibrant, dynamic, and interconnected network of Alumni.
Our future is not in the stars but in our own minds and hearts.
Creative leadership and liberal education, which in fact go together, are the first requirements for a hopeful future for humankind. Fostering these—leadership, learning, and empathy between cultures—was and remains the purpose of the international scholarship program that I was privileged to sponsor in the U.S. Senate over forty years ago. " Senator J. William Fulbright The Price of Empire
A Career in Coral - F. Joseph Pollock
Just Another Naked Ape - Jessa Thurman
Rise of the Jellyfish - Lisa-Ann Gershwin
EVOLUTION - Armin Moczek
Learning to Live with the Dingo - Lily van Eeden
Science on the Cards - Ariel Marcy
Thinkers in the Tropical Shade - Charles R. Wolfe
Fulbright's Father of Social Media - Malcolm Beazley AM
Kitchen(less) Cooking - Sophie Hollingsworth
The Quest for Aqua Vitae - Seth Rasmussen
In Memoriam - Dr Jill Ker Conway AC
Cover Image - Jessa Thurman
Fulbright Alumni Updates
May - August 2018
Calvin Bowman (1996, University of Melbourne to Yale University) released a new album - Real and Right and True â€“ via Universal Music Australia. Himself pianist on this recording, Bowman teams up with soprano Sara Macliver, tenor Paul MacMahon, bass-baritone Christopher Richardson, and fellow Australian pianist Ian Munro.
Alyson Auliff (2009, University of Queensland to University of South Florida) returned to her home town of Stanthorpe in south east Queensland to deliver a guest speech at the ANZAC Day commemorations.
Briony Swire-Thompson (2015, University of Western Australia to Massachusetts Institute of Technology) was a guest speaker at the Making Democracies Resilient to Modern Threats seminar, organized by Fulbright Finland in cooperation with the Finnish Government and U.S. Department of State, and hosted by the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences.
Lachlan Philpott (2014, Victorian College of the Arts to The American Conservatory Theatre) was nominated for the Nick Enright Prize for Playwriting (NSW Premier's Awards) for Little Emperors; a play that explores China's one child policy.
Jana Soares (2015, Columbia University to Monash University) named as one of Poets & Quants' 2018 Best MBAs in their annual Best & Brightest awards.
Sonya Lifschitz (2001, Johns Hopkins University to Queensland Conservatorium of Music) joined with fellow Australian-Ukranian pianist Lisa Moore to present Handwork - a grand piano duet with masterwork music by J.S. Bach, Martin Bresnick and John Adams, performed at the ANU School of Music.
Danae Killian (1992, Juniata College to the University of Melbourne) debuted a new album, Ernest Bloch: Viola and Piano, together with viola aficionado Barbara Hornung.
Noel Cressie (1972, Flinders University to Princeton University) was named a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science for his contributions to research on pollution monitoring, climate prediction, ocean health, soil chemistry, and glacier movement, as well as ground-breaking innovations for 'big data analytics' for remote sensing and climate change
Alec Tzannes (1977, University of Sydney to Columbia University) recieved the Australian Institute of Architects' 2018 Gold Medal. "Alec has executed an exceptional body of work across a broad spectrum of architectural practice. He has given exemplary service and leadership within the profession, academia and related fields."
Andrew Kemp (1971, Australian National University to Duke University) was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia "for significant service to medicine, and to medical education, in the field of paediatric allergy and immunology as a clinician, academic and researcher."
Alison Whittaker (2017, University of Technnology Sydney to Harvard University) released her second book, Blakwork, a bold mix of poetry, micro-fiction, memoir, and critique. She was announced as a poet in residence for the 2018 Queensland Poetry Festival.
Calum Drummond (2016, RMIT University to Massachusetts Institute of Technology) was awarded the 2018 Ian Wark Medal by the Australian Academy of Science, recognised for "outstanding contributions to advancing the fundamental understanding of the key factors governing molecular assembly, and particle and surface interactions in liquids."
Fulbright Events Recap
May - August 2018
Barker Barang Indigenous Education Fundraiser - Fulbright Postgraduate Scholar Victor Lopez-Carmen was a guest speaker at this annual fundraiser. Discussing the history of boarding schools in Native American communities, he gave insight into the state of Indigenous education on a global scale, amongst a roster of speakers that included AFL star Michael O'Loughlin and Westpac CEO, Brian Hartzer.
It's a Sugar World - Fulbright Global Scholar Professor Susan Sharfstein lead a seminar at Griffith University on the the effects of bioprocessing on protein glycosylation and production of glycosaminoglycans in CHO cells. Susan also toured Thailand in May, delivering a series of lectures on molecular biotechnology.
Hot Issues in the Outback: Nuclear Waste - Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Applied Public Policy, Dr Allison MacFarlane delivered a public lecture at Carnegie Mellon University Australia, discussing her research into nuclear waste disposal initiatives in South Australia. Allison also lead a discussion on Science careers in government and academia at Flinders University in May.
Fulbright Victoria Reception - U.S. Consul General for Victoria, Ms Frankie Reed hosted a cohort of Victoria-based Fulbright Scholars, Alumni, and supporters at her residence in Melbourne.
On the origins of novelty and diversity in development and evolution: case studies on horned beetles - Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Armin Moczek delivered a public lecture on the biological mechanisms that promote and shape innovation and diversification in the natural world at the University of New South Wales. Armin also lead a science communication masterclass at Questacon, Canberra. 6 Paid parental leave and gender norms in the U.S. and Australia Fulbright Senior Scholar Professor Deborah Widiss delivered a public lecture at the Australian National University discussing the pros and cons of the varying structures of parental leave, and the role that each may play in reifying or disrupting gender norms around care work more generally.
Creating a Culture of Innovation and Invention - Fulbright Specialist Professor Paul Sanberg shared his experience as a neuroscientist, researcher and entrepreneur, and spoke of his passion for creating cultures that support innovation and inventors at an event at Deakin Edge, hosted by Veski.
TEDxFulbrightCanberra: Power & Wisdom - A cohort of six Fulbright Scholars and Alumni gathered at Questacon Canberra to talk about their research within the context of the theme, Power and Wisdom, derived from the words of Senator Fulbright himself; â€œScience has radically changed the conditions of human life on earth. It has expanded our knowledge and our power, but not our capacity to use them with wisdom.â€? The Story of the Green Revolution: Where are the Women? - Fulbright Senior Scholar Dr Patrick Kilby lead a seminar at Kansas State University exploring why women have been excluded from agricultural innovation and technological progress, using the 'Green Revolution' as a starting point.
TEDxFulbrightPerth: Freedom, Education, & Peace - Six Fulbright Alumni were selected to give talks for the TEDxFulbrightPerth event at the University of Western Australia. The theme was chosen to reflect Senator Fulbright's belief that free and open education was and remains mankind's best hope for preventing future wars.
NAFSA 2018: Diverse Voices, Shared Commitment - AustralianAmerican Fulbright Commission Executive Director, Mr Thomas Dougherty attended the 2018 NAFSA conference in Philadelphia to engage with Fulbright and Department of State colleagues on strategy and policy.
Fulbright Northern Territory Reception - Charles Darwin University hosted a reception to celebrate the success of the three 2018 Fulbright Scholars from the Northern Territory: Dr Anna Ralph, Fulbright NT Scholar; Dr David Crook, Fulbright Professional Scholar; and Ms Amy Dennison, Fulbright Anne Wexler Scholar. 7 Work, Retirement, and Cognition - Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Professor Ross Andel presented his latest research regarding retirement, aging studies and cognition at the University of Western Australia.
What is the Future of the U.S.-Australia Alliance? - Four Fulbright Scholars and Alumni explored the future of the Australian-American alliance through four unique perspectives during a panel discussion at the University of Sydney's United States Studies Centre.
Joseph Pollock is the Coral Strategy Director for one of the world's largest and most successful conservation organisations, The Nature Conservancy. His career as a microbiologist, ecologist and educator has been remarkable, spanning multiple continents, and various multinational projects. His passion for marine ecosystem conservation has lead him to experience coral disease and resilience in extraordinary settings that few others are able to.
While Joe has held had an interest in marine biology from a very young age, his deepest insights into reef ecosystems were gained through collaborative research with Australian colleagues, whom he met during his 2010 Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship. This is Joe's Fulbright Story.
Townsville City - Google Maps
LIFE DOWN UNDER (The Sea) Townsville City
After completing a Bachelor of Science at the University of Kentucky, aspiring marine biologist Joseph Pollock took a summer fellowship in Kaneʻohe Bay, off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii. Immersed in the pristine waters of this tropical paradise, Joe learned about a variety of marine ecosystems, completed a small project on coral disease, and began kindling a passion for coral reef conservation. “I was hooked. It’s a relevant problem - the value of coral reefs is indisputable and they’re dying because of bleaching and various diseases that are popping up more and more all around the world. If we can understand what is driving these diseases, we find a way to protect these valuable systems.”
While researching various “The Fulbright Scholarship marine science laboratories was perfect for my situation – across the globe, Joe heard it gave me the opportunity to about two Australians who keep doing my coursework at Map data ©2018 Google, INEGI 2000 km were recognised as world my college in Charleston, but leaders in the study of coral have my research component disease - Professor Bette Willis in Australia where the worldfrom James Cook University leaders were doing their thing.” (JCU) and Dr David Bourne, said Joe. who was then at the Australian “The Fulbright also opened up Institute of Marine Science a lot of doors – not only did it (AIMS). Fascinated and inspired get me over to Australia, but it by the work they were doing, enabled me to connect with so Joe decided to make contact, many relevant networks, and seeking opportunities to be opened my mind to the fact involved in their research. that people at high levels can Dr Bourne saw the project as a be interested in work that’s natural fit. happening on the ground. “At that point, Bette and I collaborated extensively on coral disease projects -- I was based at AIMS and hence Joe’s interest in coral disease work and molecular and microbial approaches made for a natural project based at both JCU and AIMS.”
"It was cool to be a Master’s student talking to the Prime Minister of a nation about the work I was doing in his country!”
For his Master’s program, Joe worked on detection methods for Vibrio coralliilyticus, a coral pathogen thought to cause Professor Willis and Dr some types of the devastating Bourne also encouraged white syndrome group of 1010 Joe to apply for funding diseases in coral. He was able opportunities, including the to travel extensively around the Fulbright Scholarship. He country for various activities https://www.google.com.au/maps/place/Townsville+City+QLD+4810/@-2.2031484,-159.7756909,3z/data=!4m21!1m15!4m14!1m6!1m2!1s0x88fe7a42… The program included a applied and was successful, and networking, and visit the year of research following with the scholarship ultimately research stations on Orpheus the coursework component. facilitating a collaborative Island, Heron Island, and Lizard However, since none of the research program involving the Island for fieldwork. locally-available research two Australians, as well as Dr opportunities aligned with Joe’s Pamela Morris from the College interest in coral health, he of Charleston. decided to look abroad. For his Master’s, Joe looked around at potential programs that focussed on marine science, eventually enrolling in a two-year Marine Biology degree at the College of Charleston, South Carolina.
(From top) Joe collects samples from the Great Barrier Reef; Joe enjoying the beautiful Townsville sunrise; the 2012 Fulbright Scholar cohort with then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
(From top) Joe's detection tool helps track coral disease with a neon-green colouration; Joe in his element among the coral and fish; the JCU coral research team went out on many diving expeditions.
SCIENCE MEETS POLICY Keen to maintain his momentum, Joe took the next step and enrolled in a PhD program at JCU the following year. Professor Willis and Dr Bourne, now his supervisors, were more than happy to invite him back to Australia to further the research he had begun during his Master’s. “From our earliest exchanges, it was clear that Joe is committed, enthusiastic and bright, with drive and a vision for how he wants to shape his career. “ said Professor Willis. “It was a pleasure to cosupervise his Master’s and PhD. Joe has an innate ability to recognise pertinent, topical questions and to direct his research towards addressing them.” Joe used the time to expand on his Vibrio coralliilyticus detection tool, inserting a green fluorescent protein to the bacterial pathogen so that its spread could be easily traced using special lights. He also undertook research on Cymo melanodactylus, the furry coral crab. Field observations of these crabs had led some scientists to suggest that the white lesions on coral could have been caused by predation rather than from white syndrome, as large clusters of the crabs had been observed feeding in areas of coral where the disease was most concentrated.
Joe set up some experiments on Lizard Island to test this theory, and what he found was fascinating – the crabs were not actually causing disease; their feeding behaviour was in fact debriding the coral lesions, slowing the progress of the disease three-fold.
Joe’s work was also starting to attract a lot of attention, and he began to think bigger, looking at large-scale drivers of coral health and disease. His research had started out looking at a single bacterium, but now his work expanded to look at diverse communities of bacteria composed of hundreds of thousands of microbes on dideased corals collected from all around Australia. He ventured out to Western Australia to study the impact of an 18-month dredging project near Barrow Island, a previously pristine area off the Pilbara coast. The dredging involved the removal of seven million cubic metres of seabed to create a channel to accommodate ships for the Gorgon natural gas project. Using satellite imagery, Joe and his team mapped the areas of coral covered by plumes of sediment released by the dredging process. By donning SCUBA tanks and investigating coral disease levels along this dredge plume exposure gradient, they found there was a direct link between coral disease and sediment.
“No one had definitively shown a link between dredging--and the sedimentation and turbidity associated with dredging--and coral disease. "It makes intuitive sense; as you’re making the water cloudy and raining sediment down upon the seabed, it’s not surprising that coral wouldn’t love that, but this was the first study to actually demonstrate the link with disease in the field.” This study came at a critical time. The Australian Government was considering expansive dredging within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which had been controversially greenlighted by the Marine Park Authority. However, with this newfound link, Australian coral conservation organisations were able to fight back with tangible evidence. The issue garnered a huge outcry and subsequent media attention. Dire headlines were splashed across major newspapers, and damning feature stories appeared in National Geographic and Four Corners. Thanks to evidence provided by scientific studies such as Joe’s work on Barrow Island, the proposal was ultimately scrapped, and a ban on all dredging within the Heritage Zone was eventually imposed in 2015.
townsville to Orpheus Island, Palm Island QLD
Aboriginals & Torres Strait Islanders in Marine Science:
Before leaving Australia, Joe had an opportunity to visit the Torres Strait Islands to learn about marine resources through a STA Science Ambassadors grant. Short of funds for accommodation, he ended up staying with a local man from the Torres Strait Regional Authority, Stan Lui. During the days Joe taught at a local school on Thursday Island. At night he became the student, as Stan offered his wealth of ancestral knowledge. “It was incredible to hear how much he knew about marine resources, how much of a cultural knowledge base there was. Stan was incredibly passionate, incredibly knowledgeable about marine resources. Coming back from the experience, I was really energised.”
On his return to Queensland, Joe approached James Cook University with a $5,000 proposal to take a group of local indigenous students out to Orpheus Island to learn about marine science. They came back to him with an offer of a $25,000 budget, and a request to create a full program. Energised, motivated, and now funded, Joe contacted local elders and community education coordinators to explore how to make the idea possible.
He managed to organise a The program was a huge comprehensive educational success, and it has since program that involved the ballooned in popularity and ‘public’ side of marine science, impact. ATSIMS was recognised as well as the fieldwork, by the U.S. State Department, educational and laboratory with then-U.S. Map data ©2018 GBRMPA, Google 20 Ambassador km sides. The Aboriginal and to Australia, John Berry Torres Strait Islanders in highlighting the initiative in Marine Science program 2016. (ATSIMS) was born. "Joe has encouraged The first ATSIMS itinerary Indigenous students to turn included a trip to Reef HQ, the traditional knowledge about world’s largest saltwater coral Australia’s unique natural reef aquarium; the Museum environment in to scientific of Tropical Queensland, careers. His work highlights where they were taken on a another aspect of our alliance behind-the-scenes tour and – the connections between were shown and taught about our Indigenous and Native various indigenous artefacts; cultures.” the Orpheus Island research Nearly every year since station for some fieldwork, he began ATSIMS, Joe has as well as the Australian returned to help out, and some Institute of Marine Science of the kids from the first year and James Cook University of the program are now leading for laboratory visits, classand mentoring the new cohorts. work, and mentoring on potential scholarships and “It’s crazy – every year I career pathways in the marine remember the trip back from sciences. Orpheus Island with that first group of kids and I think, ‘wow I “The whole idea was to link can’t believe this started out as students up with indigenous just an idea’. and western marine scientists to present a really diverse “Now we have nearly sixty kids array of perspectives, get them traveling out to the research excited about this realm of stations each year, having a study and research, and then great time, and learning about give them the information they marine science. It’s one of the would need if they decided this most rewarding things I’ve ever was something they would like done in my professional career.” to pursue.”
Orpheus Island is home to a particularly rich marine ecosystem. Each year, the ATSIMS team takes up to 60 indigenous students out to the research station to teach them about marine biology.
Lord Howe Island was one of the ten destinations selected for the Global Coral Microbiome Project
CAUGHT AT A CROSSROADS As soon as his PhD was marked and conferred, Joe once again set his mind to the upscaling his research with a postdoctoral project. He came across another renowned coral researcher, Dr Mónica Medina, professor of biology at Penn State University.
Through their research, they were able to answer questions such as how microbial communities have changed across hundreds of millions of years of coral evolution, and whether they have followed similar trajectories of evolution as their coral hosts.
Through a generous National Science Foundation grant, Dr Medina and collaborators at Oregon State University launched the Global Coral Microbiome Project; an ambitious large-scale research initiative that looked at microbial diversity across reef-building corals in various ecosystems across the globe. It purpose was to determine genome sequences and metabolic capabilities of key coral bacteria, and investigate whether, and how, these microbial interactions affect the vulnerability or resistance of different coral species to stress or disease.
The team found that many aspects of the coral microbiomes do in fact show signs of co-diversification, as their evolution followed a similar path to that of their host. They also learned more about the role that these communities play in fighting coral disease, and fostering resilience.
“This project was perfect for me – I had been thinking about microbial communities as ecosystems in and of themselves. To really understand what can go wrong in that ecosystem to lead to things such as disease, you need to understand how a healthy microbiome works, and how that differs across geographies, and across the phylogenetic tree of corals.” Over the course of 18 months, the team took over 3,000 samples across 10 different countries, doing cutting edge microbial community analyses.
Two years into this research, Joe found himself at a crossroads. As he was looking into professorships to take the next logical step in his career, he began contemplating the trajectory of his research, and how it fit with his personal aspirations. “I always want to know that the work I’m doing is providing ground-level benefits to ecosystems, and to the people that depend upon them. As you go further and further down the academic pipeline, you become more and more focussed. I started to wonder whether I might become something like the world leading expert on one particular genus of coral-associated bacteria, and if so, whether that would actually benefit the coral reef ecosystems that I care so deeply about.”
Around the same time, Joe had been helping to develop and implement a National Science Foundation program aimed at creating educational opportunities and career pathways for Virgin Islands youth. Not only was this an exciting and rewarding form of the spiritual continuation of Joe’s work with ATSIMS, but it also connected him with The Nature Conservancy, a charity organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. “When I learned about the work they were doing with their coral strategy, I was really excited, and wanted to be a part of it. They had a position open as Director of their Coral Strategy in the Caribbean, and the role immediately appealed to me. To be able to decide how their coral conservation strategy would look from a programmatic perspective, as well as working with local teams and partners to implement management, develop science, and innovate ways to restore, monitor, and protect coral reefs was an incredibly exciting opportunity.”
THE ULTIMATE GOAL Fast-forward to 2018, Joe has now been the Coral Strategy Director for close to a year, and has already achieved a great deal. His work with The Nature Conservancy falls into three primary categories: conservation, restoration, and monitoring. The conservation component involves large-scale projects with major partners including the Caribbean Challenge Initiative, which aims to protect and effectively manage 20% of the near-shore marine environment in the Caribbean by 2020. His team is also involved in a lot of on-the-ground work, including the development and planning of an 8,000 km2 marine park in the Dominican Republic.
Restoration includes the scaling up of novel scientific technologies such as microfragmentation techniques pioneered by Mote Marine Lab, which drastically increases the growth rate of coral, and new methods for increasing genetic diversity in collaboration with SECORE International.
Joe also helps organise workshops throughout the Caribbean to help train the staff of other conservation organisations, and share their research and technologies. Monitoring occurs on numerous levels, from ‘big picture’ satellite photography that utilizes daily highresolution images spanning the entire Earth’s surface to create ‘habitat maps’ for major coral ecosystems in the Caribbean, through to diving teams and aquatic drones that can examine and sample the reefs up close. They also work with the Carnegie Airborne Observatory, using various high-tech systems such as LIDAR and hyper-spectral imaging to build a comprehensive picture of the health of each ecosystem. “All of this data gives you a ‘spectral fingerprint’ of different coral species, and the health states of different habitats."
"The information all feeds together so that we can test the effectiveness of different conservation methods, verify the accuracy of the machine-learning algorithms that we’re using to analyse satellite imagery, and help inform the coral conservation and restoration efforts on-the-ground.” With the mixture of high-level strategizing and ground level, hands-on research and training, Joe seems to have found his true calling at The Nature Conservancy. As he has done with each step in his career, Joe plans to scale up his work to ensure that the work he is doing can benefit as many people as possible. “I’m excited – the next step will be taking the technologies and data that we’re ground-truthing, and seeing them applied on a Caribbean-wide scale, then ideally on a global scale. The ultimate goal, of course, is getting the reefs back to a healthy state, and getting the benefits that they provide to the people that rely upon them back in place, whether that be tourism, fisheries, or coastline protection.”
(From top) Joe's team at the Nature Conservancy reguarly head out to coral reefs in the Caribbean for health -checks on the ecosystems; new technologies enable Joe's team to take large-scale measurements using aerial photography and satellite imaging.
Fulbright Scholar Jessa Thurman loves insects. Possibly more than puppies. Probably more than people. Her current research focusses on native biocontrol agents -- a method of controlling invasive pests through the use of parasitic or predatory organisms. In her free time, she explores the rainforests of sub-tropical Australia to find and document every kind of creepy-crawly imaginable, from glow-worms to mountain katydids. A wonder and deep appreciation for nature has nurtured in Jessa a contagious enthusiasm for entomology. She shares her thoughts, feelings, knowledge, and footage of these awesome arthropods on her Instagram:
This is a new species of Anastatus wasp (family Eupelmidae), which parasitizes the eggs of other insects. This species is an Australian native and lays her eggs inside those of a major Aussie pest, the fruit-spotting bug. Anastatus is quite small (~2mm long) as she has to complete her life cycle within the eggs of a true bug. Thankfully for us, we can raise Anastatus and use her as a native biological control agent, which has been done for the past 8 years. This is one alternative to using broadspectrum chemical pesticides and is a more cost-effective pest suppression for farmers. My work here involves describing this wasp and understanding whatâ€™s happening when we release her on macadamia nut farms. Itâ€™s been great to work in the realm of taxonomy, while also working with farmers to study Anastatus in the field, which could later improve our use of it as a biocontrol agent. Scientific research takes you on a long and interesting road. Iâ€™m happy to still be working with these tiny, amazing creatures! #parasitoidwasp #Anastasus #taxonomy #biologicalcontrol
I found this Raspy cricket (Gryllacrididae) hiding under a staghorn fern which was growing on one of the few remaining organic macadamia farms. This cricket is a predator of other insects and one of the many interesting characters that you can find in a macadamia orchard. #raspycricket #macadamia #gryllacrididae #aussieinsects #dontbitemeplease Golden orbweaver (Nephila sp.) found in the agrarian dream that is this macadamia orchard. It’s great to see some spill-over from the surrounding natural vegetation. In talks with farmers, there’s a general consensus and worry for how few spiders have been seen in the crops over the past few years. My wasps are great to target the fruit-spotting bug, but we need generalist predators to keep the other pests at bay. At least here the spiders seem to be “spilling in.” #australianwildlife #goldenorbweaver #nephila #biocontrol #macadamia #spidersareawesome #agrariandreams This limey katydid (Tettigoniidae) was found hiding in this lemon and lime orchard. Unlike other leaf-mimicking insects, like Phyllium spp., katydids are a mixed bag of herbivores and predators. Their strategy in life is more complex than just eating leaves and looking like leaves. Instead, they can be considered the deadly leaf for many insect pests. Overall, they cause no damage to orchards and are one of many insects that can provide farmers with some ecosystem services like reduced pest densities. #limes #lemons #sublimeinsects #katydid #farmsurvey #farmlife
E N H A N C E D stacked image of the pest weevils (Leptopius sp.) found on young macadamia trees in Bundaberg. This image was created by going through several planes of focus on this weevil under a microscope and 179 photos later... you get a photoshopped beauty who’s had all its bits stitched together. ••• ID help thanks to @thefrogscientist ! #toodedicated #weevil #curculionidae #macadamia #insectpests #imagestacking #bundabergmacadamias
I donâ€™t care what you say, Jumping spiders (family Salticidae) are the cutest, cuddliest looking animals. Theyâ€™re clever animals too, always sensitive to you getting near them and skittering away at first until they grow accustomed to you. #salticidae #saltyboy #jumpingspider #cutiepie
The Sigastus weevil, a terribly cute nugget of a bumpy beetle, but the worst macadamia pest for farmers in New South Wales. Sigastus chews into the nuts and lays an egg inside so its larva can grow fat and happy on the juicy macadamia nut. Two years ago, I met with organic farmers, all of whom are now forced to spray in order to control this pest. Hopefully a biocontrol program that can effectively control this pest will be developed soon. In the meantime it looks like organic macadamias will be non-existent. #sigastus #weevil #macadamia #macadamianut #cutiepie #pest #aussieinsects #evilweevil
The photo...and how you get it can often give very different impressions. You have to get really close and often pull out your best sneak or coaxing skills for macro shots, but they’re often worth it. This cheeky Longhorn beetle has apparently had an adventurous life so far. He seemed to be getting around alright with only one antenna thankfully! #longhornbeetle #macrophotography #cerambycidae #cutiepie #ittybitty
This Wolf spider (Lycosidae) couldn’t escape my eye with his neon green planthopper (Flatidae) prey. Spiders are generalists, taking out a suite of pests on the sly. These seemingly small creatures can provide some sneaky pest suppression in agroecosystems and look darn cute while they do it. ••• Spider ID thanks to @jayswildlife #predator #spider #greenplanthopper #flatidae #fulgoroidea #yummy #lycosidae
The only response I need for people asking “why do you like wasps?” ••• This cuckoo wasp (family Chrysididae) was found in my friend’s garden just outside of Brisbane.
These wasps parasitize other wasp larvae like those of the large mud wasps who you may see building nests around your house. Like the cuckoo bird, this wasp parasitizes another’s nest with its own young. Understandably, the other wasps are not happy to see this dazzling beauty and so the cuckoo can curl up into its armored body to protect itself from attack. There’s an amazing diversity of insects just in your backyard! What can you find? #backyardwonder #chrysididae #cuckoowasp #photostack #aussieinsects #brisbaneinsects #prettyasawasp
Net casting spider (Deinopis sp.) laying in wait on a crisp Australian night. You might notice the large, adorable eyes on this fella and suspect he has good eyesight, and if so, you yourself have some fine observation skills! These nocturnal hunters must have good vision to see and catch their prey with their net. Sometimes I feel like a net casting spider, but I cheat with contact lenses to spot my insects and doubt Iâ€™m as skilled as this guy is with a net. #netcastingspider #nighthiking #spider #deinopsis #arthropodsareneat #australianwildlife I came across this Spiny Legged Rainforest Tree Katydid (Phricta spinosa) last night while hiking along a creek. She was perched on a leaf, almost waiting to be photographed. During the day, these katydids can be found flattened against tree trunks or branches, but spotting them is tricky with their spikes that disrupt their body shape and the lichencoloration that helps them blend in. This is a female and I didnâ€™t hear any males singing last night, but perhaps she was waiting for a later serenade. #phrictaspinosa #rainforestkatydid #australianinsects #lichenkatydid #nighthiking #ladyofthenight
Granny’s Cloak Moth (Speiredonia spectans) looking like a spooky face on a night hike. I love how their mix of drab colors is complemented with bits of purple and blue. This complex pattern is all from delicate scales covering the moth’s wings and the structure of the scales affects which colors can be seen. I study insects for many reasons, but I trek for them because they’re endlessly dazzling. #nighthike #grannyscloakmoth #Speiredonia #moth #wingscales #speiredoniaspectans One of the other students in my lab studies venoms and how we can develop novel cancer treatments from them. For this research, he needs to sample venom from scorpions and has had some trouble finding these stinging friends. We headed out with a UV torch and soon found several Hormurus waigiensis (seen here) and Lychas sp. scorpions. The forests are full of them and if you’re using the right eyes, you’ll spot dozens! #hormuruswaigiensis #scorpions #uvlight #venomresearch #lychas #research #nighthiking
A female Mountain Katydid (Acripeza reticulata) displaying her fierce camouflage. These girls cannot fly, hop far, or even walk quickly. They must rely on being cryptic to avoid being picked off by predators. If annoyed, they will display colors of blue and red on their abdomen, which is thought to be a form of aposematic coloration or warning colors for toxicity. Hopefully this girl will find her long-winged mate and pass on her genes to continue this awesome group of katydids. I was so happy to see them in the wild today! #tettigoniidae #mountainkatydid #acripeza #acripezareticulata In an attempt to be a well-rounded entomologist, I've been spending one day a week volunteering to help curate a large insect collection. I've really enjoyed getting to work with beetles and see more of their diversity. The particularly exciting moment came when I got to the "exotic scarabaeidae" and saw some of my old friends like Coprophanaeus lancifer and other Phanaeus species. I used to see these dung beetles on night hikes and dusky baiting trials to observe their behavior. Now that I've seen some of the lives of these insects, it's especially exciting when I come across them in collections! #insectcollection #dungbeetles #scarabaeidae #exotic #coprophanaeuslancifer Cressida cressida, also known as the ‘Big Greasy’ is everywhere in Cairns at the moment. They’re almost constantly moving and only stop when you catch them. Don’t worry, this girl is just playing dead. It’s a trick that butterflies and possums play quite well. #cressida #clearwingswallowtail #biggreasy #cairns #australianbutterfly #playdead Those spikes are all show. Cairns birdwing (Ornithoptera euphorion) caterpillars are soft and velvety critters. But these chunkers are not too worried about predators because they eat a poisonous plant. Aristolochia has toxic compounds which the caterpillars can use to make themselves toxic. The vibrant green adults then don’t have to worry about everyone trying to grab a bite! Some of the red and yellow colors on the caterpillars may also hint at that toxicity. No snacks here! #birdwing #ornithoptera #ornithopteraeuphorion #caterpillar #chunky #toxic
Jessa Thurman | 2018 U.S. Postgraduate Scholar | Entomology Washington State University
James Cook University
Jessa aspires to improve our usage of biological control agents to regulate pest populations in crops by understanding how these insects and other arthropods interact with pests and the environment. These studies may also be based on insights from land managers. This combination of research interests should improve overall execution of biological control on farms globally. These interests will be pursued throughout the completion of her PhD in Entomology and possibly furthered as a professor. You can follow all of Jessa's arthropod adventures on her Instagram.
RISE OF THE
Aussie jellyfish are one of the few animals that will continue to thrive as temperatures rise, and experts say it’s going to cause some problems.
The nuclear-powered supercarrier USS Ronald Reagan was hailed as a masterpiece of naval architecture, able to withstand everything and anything… except a bloom of jellyfish. In 2006, while in the Port of Brisbane, thousands of jellyfish clogged the carrier’s condensers – like plastic stuck in a pool filter – forcing those on board to evacuate. For CSIRO jellyfish expert Lisa-ann Gershwin, the whole catastrophe had a lot of “smirkability” about it. “In Australia, there have been crazier blooms. But the fact that this was the world's newest, most expensive and fearsome super carrier, and of course it was American, made it all the funnier, and it got a lot of attention.” 36
Lisa-ann has been working around jellyfish for most of her adult life after becoming fascinated by them at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, in her home state of California. Studying marine biology at Berkeley, she quickly focused her studies on jellyfish, eventually becoming the world’s foremost expert on the identification and classification of the infamously deadly species, irukandji. When she arrived in Australia in 1998 on a Fulbright scholarship to study jellyfish blooms, she was bombarded by the Australian medical community, who were eager to better understand these deadly jellyfish and how their excruciating sting could be treated.
In 2003, she made the permanent move to Australia and has been sounding the alarm on their “blooming bad behaviour” ever since. Jellyfish blooms provide a mesmerising scene. Packed in like sardines, groups of these colourful bulbous blobs can stretch for hundreds of kilometres, and it’s been happening for hundreds of millions of years. “There’s a fossilised quarry in central Wisconsin, so it’s landlocked. To put it into perspective, the area is similar to Alice Springs. Here, in the middle of nowhere, there are seven consecutive bedding plains of fossilised jellyfish blooms on top of each other, just like library books. Blooming is a natural part of their life cycle,” says Lisa-ann. But now, human activity is starting to make these blooms more common, and on a larger scale. “We catch fish, discard waste and put stuff into the air, and this is taking a toll on coastal ecosystems. Species are either winners or losers, and jellyfish are quite often the winners: they grow fast and breed more in these disturbed conditions.”
BLOOMING BAD The scientific community became aware of the increasing number of jellyfish blooms back in 1995 after a paper was published in the ICES Journal of Marine Science, which recognised that “carnivorous jellyfishes are ubiquitous” and opportunistic. “It told the story of all of these seemingly random events around the world and asked whether there was something going on here and many people, including myself, thought ‘oh my, yes, that makes sense’.” This prompted Lisa’s initial research into jellyfish blooms in Australia, which took longer than expected when she realised that many of the Australian species were misidentified. “I couldn’t work out what was going on with the species until I figured out who was who.” Lisa says that Australia has experienced “crazy blooms”, far bigger and more destructive than the USS Ronald Reagan incident.
“In 2000, there was a bloom of sea tomatoes in Western Australia that spread from Derby in the north all the way to Rottnest Island.” She was taken aback by this event because, in the 20th century, the sea tomato was considered a rare species. Since this event, they’ve been spotted in huge numbers almost every year.
Lisa also points out that according to the Venomous Jellyfish Database, of which she is the curator, it wouldn’t be the first time irukandji syndrome has been reported further down the east coast.
“Something has changed, but it’s not just the jellyfish. Every single one of them is hungry and needs to fuel that growth, and because of this there will be trickle-down effects, mostly lower productivity of fish and invertebrates” because the jellyfish are eating all the eggs and larvae.
“In 1999 there was an irukandji sting in Queenscliff, near Geelong, in 1905 there was a cluster of stings in Botany Bay and as far back as 1897 there were reports of stings in Moreton Bay, in south-east Queensland, so they’ve already been there.”
However, what most Australians are concerned about is whether or not it’s likely that irukandji jellyfish will begin moving southward. But Lisa is skeptical about this theory and all the media attention it gets. “Of course, if irukandji were moving south, that would be a big deal, but there’s absolutely no evidence for this,” she says.
Science knows very little about the irukandji species, however Lisa speculates that there’s potential that they’re tied to a particular type of habitat. “We’ve never found them in the wild in their polyp stages, so we don’t exactly know what habitat they need for reproduction. They’re not all over the place, which makes me think that they have a specific habitat association.” She adds that if they do begin migrating south, it will probably happen very slowly.
(From top left) the 'Purple People Eater', Pelagia; Catostylus, which wreaked havok on the USS Ronald Reagan, credit Lisa-Ann Gershwin; the Sea Nettle Chrysaora, credit - Gary Florin / Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
JELLY TAKEOVER The biggest concern for Lisa isn’t the potential of irukandji to migrate southward. Rather, she’s preoccupied with the damage these large-scale blooms are having on the ecosystem. “In the early ’90s, a species of American jellyfish was introduced into the Black Sea. Within a few years, this one species had multiplied and eaten just about every living thing, so that 95 per cent of the biomass was this one species of jellyfish.” With more jellyfish on the move, as well as perfect conditions for their breeding, she fears the situation could get out of control.The lack of research focused on jellyfish and their impacts, Lisa says, is hampering scientists' ability to fully understand the problem. “We really don’t have enough research in this country that we can point to a particular bloom and say we know that this one species is definitely out of control. "We have examples of jellyfish that are out of control, like the blubber and sea tomatoes, but we’re not in a place yet to say if it’s good or bad regarding long-term ecological change.” But industry is nonetheless feeling the brunt of the increasing number of blooms. “I get a lot of calls from many different industries around the country and they don’t realise that these issues are occurring everywhere.” At the moment, much of Lisa’s time is dedicated to making her early forecast system for irukandji jellyfish fully operational. The new technology will have the ability to send out a warning when irukandji are blooming up to a week before the event, as well as another product that sits in the water and detects the immediate presence of irukandji that then generates an alert. In the background though, she’s working on something she hopes will be of use to industry, helping them avoid headache situations like those experienced over the past two decades across Australia.
38 Leucothea – the 'Rainbow Jellyfish' makes iridescent flashes by refraction of light through cilia used for locomotion. The body is covered in flexible, gelatinous sensory papillae. It is common in Tasmanian waters. Credit - Lisa-Ann Gershwin
Zygocanna – the 'Zigzag Jellyfish' forms the unusual zigzag pattern on the top of the bell (body) with a series of hollow tubes radiating from the centre. Their function is unknown. This species is new to science and has not yet been classified. Credit - Lisa-Ann Gershwin
“I can be here waving my arms, but maybe it’ll have to wait until there's a huge crisis, and then people will be asking why we didn’t do something earlier.” She calls this the “Homo sapiens pattern of handling things”. “I would have thought the USS Ronald Reagan event would have got that reaction or even the sea tomatoes in WA just because of the insane photos, but no.” By Angela Heathcote Originally published on australiangeographic.com.au
ROGUES' JELLERY Rhizophysa – otherwise known as the 'Long Stingy Stringy Thingy', this is possibly the most aptlynamed organism in existence. Like corals, each “individual” is actually a colony. Relaxed, the colony can stretch to almost a metre long! The bubble holds concentrated carbon monoxide, and the colony can burp out air when it wants to sink. Credit - Denis Riek
Ectopleura – related to the 'Immortal' Jellyfish (and most likely immortal too!) – this common species is found in bays and harbours right around Australia. Fully grown it only reaches about 1mm tall! Credit - Lisa-Ann Gershwin
Pelagia – the Purple People Eater - stingy, highly bioluminescent, and purple – what more could you ask for? Credit - Lisa-Ann Gershwin
Solmundella – this quizzical-looking jellyfish is normally found in the deep sea, but is also sometimes ‘upwelled’ into shallow water. It has only two tentacles, which are stiff and are carried in front of the animal like battering rams rather than trailing behind. Credit - Lisa-Ann Gershwin
Porpita – the splendid Blue Button lives at the air-water interface in tropical and subtropical waters of the ocean, pushed around by winds. It is preyed upon by Sea Lizards (a type of sea slug), which deposit the undischarged stinging cells in their own tissues for defence. The yellowish sand grainlooking dots are its tiny babies that were shed during study. Credit - Lisa-Ann Gershwin
Bazinga – Bazinga’s common name is... well... 'Bazinga'! Named after Sheldon Cooper’s tag line in TV’s The Big Bang Theory, Bazinga means “haha, gotcha!” or “fooled you!” It was discovered hiding in plain sight off the northern New South Wales coast, resembling juveniles of another species. Credit - Denis Riek
40 Carukia barnesi – this is the life-threatening “Common Irukandji”, which periodically swarms in tropical waters during the summer. Its sting causes a debilitating illness with severe pain, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, and a feeling of impending doom. Similar species are found around the world. Credit - Lisa-Ann Gershwin
Catostylus – thousands of these 'Blue Blubber' jellies got sucked into watercooling pipes of the US Naval super carrier USS Ronald Reagan, disabling the ship. The species is common in Victorian and southeast Queensland waters; in New South Wales symbiotic algae in its tissues make it appear brown. Credit - Lisa-Ann Gershwin
Euplokamis – this doesn’t sting at all, it’s actually a “comb jelly” without stinging cells. I named this one after librarians for the invaluable service they provide to researchers. Credit - Lisa-Ann Gershwin
Ectopleura – this unnamed new species naturally comes in two colours – red and green – similar to how humans have blue eyes or brown. This unedited photo shows the true colours through the lens of a microscope. These are fully grown, and only about 1-2mm! Credit - Lisa-Ann Gershwin
evolution Why does evolution unfold the way it does? As organisms change over generations, what determines rate and direction of that change? These are some of the major questions that motivate the research of Dr Armin Moczek. Traditionally, evolutionary biologists define evolution as a change in the genetic composition of a population, and emphasise four mechanisms that can change this composition: mutation and migration can introduce new variations into a population, natural selection favours individuals better adapted to their environment, whereas drift removes individuals at random.
These mechanisms and their roles in shaping evolutionary outcomes are very well established, yet a growing body of work suggests additional, important mechanisms may exist that impact evolutionary dynamics, but have, so far, remained largely overlooked. For example, it has become clear that parents pass on to their offspring more than just genes. They also pass on antibodies, symbionts, positions within a social hierarchy, or knowledge, thereby creating alternate routes of inheritance.
Similarly, evolutionary biologists traditionally view the environment as important because it determines which individuals survive and reproduce well, and which less so. However, beyond this role, the environment is considered passive and external â€“ when the organism is gone the environment is still there. A rapidly growing body of work shows that organisms systematically modify their environments in ways that affect their own wellbeing and that of their offspring, and sometimes even entire suites of other species: beavers build dams that help create a wetland environment for themselves, their offspring, and numerous other species; corals build reefs, and we build cities, farm our food, and create a digital environment. Wherever scientists start to look, organisms appear to evolve not merely by changing their traits to suit their environment, but also to change their environments to suit the traits they already possess.
Dung beetles, from the insect subfamily Scarabaeinea, make for a perfect case study on evolutionary biology. Credit - Armin Moczek
Studying the significance of these and other extensions to conventional evolutionary thinking is at the heart of Armin Moczek's work as a Fulbright Scholar. It has brought him to Australia to study what, at first, may seem like a peculiar group of organisms â€“ dung beetles!
There are several good reasons why dung beetles are actually perfect for this study. First, research by Arminâ€™s group has shown that adult beetles bequeath gut endosymbionts to their offspring. Depending on species, this can be critical for their subsequent growth, survival, and future reproduction. Similarly, their research demonstrates that both adult and larval dung beetles systematically modify their environment in ways that, again depending on species, can enhance growth, survival, and reproduction.
To Armin, dung beetles therefore provided a unique test case to assess whether processes like the inheritance of gut symbionts or the ability to modify oneâ€™s own environment can influence evolutionary outcomes such that it makes the difference between success or failure to colonize and adapt to a new habitat. To do so, Armin works with scientists at CSIRO Canberra currently involved in introducing additional dung beetle species, and with the Australian National Insect Collection, which holds extensive archival records of introduced and native dung beetle populations.
Armin also executes his own field work, studying and collecting beetles in pastures across the ACT and NSW. In the process, new collaborations have already emerged, and it is clear that the work begun here will continue to fuel scientific collaboration and exchange beyond Arminâ€™s time in Australia.
Most importantly, however, over 40 species of dung beetles have been introduced to Australia by CSIRO in an effort to better control dung breeding flies and enhance pasture quality. But only about half of these species have managed to get established, and only a handful have done really well. At the same time, among those species which have managed to get well-established were some whose introduced population started to evolve very rapidly, causing them to diverge from the native populations from which they originated to a degree normally only seen between species separated by millions of years. Here, it has only taken decades. While in residence, Moczek has presented his work and that of his co-workers at several talks including seminars at CSIRO, the School of Biology at ANU, the University of New South Wales, and the University of Queensland.
Beyond his career as a scientist, Moczek has not one, but at least two parallel lives--one centred on science outreach for public schools and their teachers, the other on increasing minority participation in STEM disciplines.
The Moczek-Lab Science Outreach Initiative is a free program run by Moczek and his team of graduate and postdoctoral students. It aims to help teachers fulfil science education standards across the K-12 sector in Indiana, Moczek’s home state in the U.S.
To do so, Armin develops hands-on, enquiry-based science modules that utilize intellectually captivating materials, which he then disseminates to teachers through training workshops as well as direct visits to schools across the state. So far, Armin's efforts have reached over 400 teachers, and hundreds of classes each year utilize at least one of his modules.
At the same time Armin directs not one but three summer programs aimed at increasing participation of underrepresented minorities in STEM disciplines. The programs are organized like a pipeline: high performing minority students are identified in early high school through the first program, then return in subsequent years to both deepen and broaden their STEM experiences in the second and especially third program, which then also prepares them for the transition to college and University. The programs have been highly successful.
“We, at this point, have a 100% success rate at converting program participants into college students, 70% of which go on to pursue STEM majors and STEM-related careers.” Says Armin. “There’s really no limit to where they could go in the sciences if they so choose.” The challenges of underrepresentation of minority groups in STEM is, of course, not limited to Indiana. Australia has a similarly skewed demography when it comes to STEM takeup in tertiary institutions, and this has led Armin to seek opportunities to make use of his outreach expertise during his time in the country.
(From top left) Armin with some of the skulls from his Mystery Skulls study module; the STEM education took place at Questacon in Canberra. Credit - Questacon.
When visiting Parliament House as part of the Fulbright contingent in March, Armin met Rod Kennett, Fulbright alum, and Senior Manager at Questacon â€“ Australiaâ€™s most recognisable science & technology education institution. Their interactions led to a STEM education workshop at Questacon, which provided an overview of Armin's experiences in STEM training and critical lessons learned in the process. Then, local educators who were lucky enough to secure places at the workshop, took on the role of students themselves and dove into two exemplar science modules developed by Armin, one on the evolutionary morphology of mammal skulls called Mystery Skulls and one on mimicry and chemical defenses named Smart Predators/Smarter Prey.
Participants enjoyed an engaging and enlightening session, replete with Armin's suite of over 40 authentic mammalian skulls, as well as his contagious enthusiasm for the subject material. The session was recorded by Questacon to be used as a resource for training new generations of science educators. Armin hopes this will only be the beginning of a longer-term collaboration. He plans on seeking avenues for a future return visit to Australia to develop and refine more STEM outreach programs with Questacon.
Dr Armin Moczek | 2018 Distinguished Chair in Science, Technology & Innovation | Evolutionary Biology Indiana University
Australian National University / CSIRO His research focuses on the very early stages of innovation in evolution, and the interplay between genetics, development, and ecology in facilitating major innovations and transitions in evolution. He is also a co-leader of an international effort to expand traditional perspectives on what determines speed and direction in evolution to incorporate recent advances in the fields of evolutionary developmental biology, developmental plasticity, non-genetic inheritance, and niche construction.
Armin received his PhD from Duke University, NC, USA, and is currently a Professor of Biology at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
During his time in Australia, Armin worked at the Research School of Biology at the Australian National University and CSIRO to further advance such a synthesis through both conceptual collaborative efforts as well as empirical work on Australian insects.
LEARNING TO LIVE WITH THE DINGO
Learning to live with the dingo
A watercolour of a dingo, pre-1793, from John Hunter's drawing books. Credit: The Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons, London
What comes to mind when you think of a dingo? Iconic Australian animal? The Azaria Chamberlain story? Your answer will depend on your own identity. To a farmer, the dingo is an unwelcome, invasive pest. To a conservationist, the dingo is a top predator, a critical component of a balanced ecosystem. Its identity is controversial. The dingo doesn’t often enter the Australian public’s field of view, but our tax dollars contribute to continentwide destruction of this animal, largely through use of baits laced with sodium fluroacetate, or 1080. Bounties are paid for their scalps in some states – the only bounties paid for any native Australian animal today.
Why? Dingoes are very good at killing sheep and Australian livestock producers have battled with the dingo for over 200 years.
Introduced predators are one of the main reasons why Australia has the highest rate of native mammal extinction in the world.
The practices employed have remained largely unchanged throughout this time - we’re the only continent where research on protecting livestock from predators has focused on lethal control, with limited attention given to nonlethal interventions that are used successfully elsewhere.
What’s missing in current research in Australia is an understanding of how people shape the management of dingoes and other wildlife and pests.
These lethal control practices are not without consequences for Australian ecosystems. Dingoes are Australia’s top predator and help to regulate populations of kangaroos as well as introduced predators like foxes.
In my PhD research at the University of Sydney, I investigate how contemporary dingo management came to be and whether it is appropriate. I do this by looking at historical narrativesof farmers and the general public on their attitudes towards current management practices.
46 Bounties are paid for dingo scalps in some regions (Credit - ABC News)
A pack of dingoes gather near Lake McKenzie , Fraser Island (Credit- Trover.com)
Lily with a dingo at the Dingo Discovery Centre, Victoria
"Bounties are paid for their scalps in some states – the only bounties paid for any native Australian animal today. I see lack of public awareness as a key reason why there is little scrutiny of our lethal control practices. After all, it was public backlash that forced President Nixon to ban the use of poison in wildlife management in the U.S. in the 1970s. If public awareness increases in Australia, we might expect to follow suit and we should be prepared with alternative management options if this happens.
Managing predators is always controversial. In parts of the U.S., wolves are recolonizing areas from which they’ve been eradicated for 100 years. To ranchers, this is political. Wolves are allowed to return because of the sentiments of a largely urbanized public who hold conservation and animal rights-friendly values, and these changes could prevent ranchers from being ranchers where livestock production stops being viable due to wolf attacks.
This situation with wolves serves as an important lesson for Australia’s future with the dingo. I’ll be spending my NSW Postgraduate Fulbright Scholarship in the Predator Ecology Lab at the University of Washington, Seattle, drawing comparisons between these conflicts in the hopes of identifying solutions that benefit both the environment and livestock producers.
Lily van Eeden | 2018 NSW Postgraduate Scholar | Ecology The University of Sydney
The University of Washington
Lily examining historical material from a 1950s. dingo study.
The Australian agriculture industry invests millions of dollars annually in dingo control, despite little evidence that current management methods are effective at reducing livestock loss and limited understanding of the consequences of these practices for ecosystems. Lily seeks to discover what shapes our dingo management strategies and how they can be improved for the benefit of farmers and the environment.
Lily investigates the human dimensions of wildlife management. For her PhD research, she focuses on the conflict between livestock production and one of Australia’s largest predators, the dingo.
For her Fulbright Scholarship, Lily will collaborate with researchers in the University of Washington’s Predator Ecology Lab. Her research there will compare the Australian and American contexts, providing an opportunity for Australia to learn from the experiences of ranchers who live alongside large predators including wolves, mountain lions, and bears.
SCIENCE ON THE CARDS: A Game for Biologists and Kids Alike Ariel Marcy
Fulbright offered me a scholarship right when I was staring down a career crossroads. In 2014, I was 3 years out of university and I had just wrapped up a successful Kickstarter campaign for an educational board game called Go Extinct! The game represented my love of biology, specifically evolution, as well as my pursuits in teaching and graphic design.
Indeed, the game’s strategy organically taught players how to read evolutionary trees, a difficult concept to learn from a textbook. Making fun science games and opening a new portal into STEM for kids felt like my calling. But, I also heard the siren song from science. Here was the crossroads: research or game design.
48 The Fulbright, with its research and public outreach components, allowed me to explore both at the same time and – spoiler alert – I realized it wasn’t a one or the other choice. The first thing I did when I started my PhD in Australia? Why, made a game to acquaint myself with my new study system: the surprisingly diverse, cuddly, and unique rodents native to Australia. The cards were inspired by those from Go Extinct! but there was more information on them so I could compare stats at a glance. I basically built my study group like a card trading game! Ariel's custom playing cards feature beautiful illustrations from 19th century natural history artists, John and Elizabeth Gould
Here are a few of the cards I made, they come with illustrations from John and Elizabeth Gould, a husband and wife team who produced these gorgeous plates of Australian wildlife in the 1800s. The number in the top left indicates how long ago the ancestor of the now native rodent arrived in Australia (5 million years ago or 2 million years ago). The words on left hand side give the taxonomy of the rodent in categories that are easier to remember. For example, “Sahuligan” plays on the continent name, Sahul (Australia + Papua New Guinea) and the “1st Sahuligan” group of native rodents is the first to arrive in Sahul via PNG.
This contrasts with the “Rattus’nforcements” which are all from the genus Rattus and the second wave of native rodents to arrive, several million years after the first Sahuligans. This year, I’ve been trying to offer the experience of scientific game design to more people, especially kids.
Students can create their own custom playing cards online
I found two government grants, and in full Fulbright fashion, one came from Australia and one from the U.S. Then, together with science visualization company, Evidently So, we created DIY Go Extinct!, a free online platform where kids can create their own versions of the Go Extinct! around their favorite flora, fauna, and fossils. I plan to continue mixing science and game design together because I think giving kids the challenge to create science games gives them a taste of what science research is like. Both pursuits have elements of creativity, exploration, of testing prototypes, and of sharing a tangible end product with others.
You can create your own Go Extinct! game with the free online platform DIY Go Extinct! at www.steamgalaxy.com/design-your-own-game/ Ariel Marcy | 2014 U.S. Postgraduate Scholar | Evolutionary Ecology / STEM Education Stanford University
The University of Queensland Her first publications on the North American Western pocket gophers (genus Thomomys) demonstrated that their unusual pattern of species distributions could be explained by differences in soil type and digging adaptations.
Ariel is an evolutionary biologist dedicated to communicating science, especially through games. Her research focuses on the evolution of skull shape variation in mammals, especially rodents across different habitats.
During her Fulbright Scholarship, Ariel worked with Dr. Vera Weisbecker of The University of Queensland. They began a study on Australian short-beaked echidnas using very similar methodology to Ariel's earlier work with pocket gophers. Echidnas and gophers are both digging mammals found across a variety of ecosystems and soil types. Echidnas, unlike gophers, lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young.
49 Their research is laying the groundwork for understanding how two digging mammals with radically divergent development strategies evolve differently to similar selection pressures. This work, and Ariel’s PhD research on Australian rodents, is contributing to the growing field of Evolutionary Development (Evo-Devo). Evo-Devo looks at the developmental process to understand what variations are possible for certain animals to evolve. This organism-centric approach complements the more traditional approach to evolution research which focuses on how the environment selects for certain variations.
THINKERSINTHETROPICALSHADE: Empowering Lessons for Livable Places In The City in History, Lewis Mumford once properly characterized the essence of cities as a dynamic that unfolds between two poles of human life: "movement and settlement." Between these poles, we see the intersection of the built and natural environments, and the ongoing interaction and evolution of transportation nodes and land uses. The roles of walking, shelter, and movement between places, and the impacts of the urban form on public health, are ripe for observation in cities across the world. Fast forward to modern cities, where leaders, municipal staff, design professionals, and other stakeholders often discuss walkable, transit oriented, and mixed-use communities as the inevitable next steps for evolving urban areas.
By Charles R. Wolfe, with Silvia Tavares and David Sellars However laudable these ideas might be, our recent work in tropical Australian cities (under the auspices of the Australian-American Fulbright Commission, UN-Habitat, and the World Urban Campaign) suggests that an understanding of the climate-influenced patterns of urban life is essential for the contextual application of these tried and true tenets of good urbanism. Beyond Paradise, and the Importance of Context When reviewing traditional postcard imagery or the portrayals of stage, screen, and modern social media, the words "tropics" and "paradise" often seem synonymous. However, in today's complex urban settings, this simplicity is inaccurate, because the movement/settlement dynamic is skewed by climatic conditions. Livability and human interaction is often compromised by intense seasonal heat, severe humidity, and torrential rains.
Without adjustments or safeguards, outdoor activity becomes highly undesirable during certain parts of the day, and social cohesion may be inhibited or lost entirely. In the context of tropical cities, some would characterize the reality of human movement and settlement as defaulting to a modified convenience, premised on avoidance of severe conditions.
In particular, beyond familiar calls for light rail and reduced speed limits, what do transportation improvements that emphasize walkability and bicycleoriented solutions look like in a small, tropical city?
"How must urban design and infrastructure change to assure healthy activity? "
How must urban design and infrastructure (e.g., examples of planning for shade-creation and lighting) change to assure healthy activity?
People move between insular, temperaturecontrolled dwellings to temperature-controlled cars to temperature-controlled offices, and vice versa.
What are the associated roles of green spaces as activators of human recreation and social activity, beyond mere design ambience on autocentric streets?
Under these conditions, as others have noted, traditional urban design and planning approaches to the movement/settlement dynamicâ€”particularly when applied to fostering active and healthy lifestylesâ€”requires considered reflection.
Given how the planning and design (or haphazard evolution) of urban spaces largely dictate the way we live, we set out to reexamine daily urban life in the tropical context.
Our efforts, with our funders and supporters, has centered on the use of methods and tools from the book, Seeing the Better City, to explore how such planning and design in two Australian cities impact residents' health in many ways. We aimed to explore whether current conditions encourage or discourage active lifestyles, social cohesion and access to healthy food choices.
(Top) Google's 'Smart City' plan for Toronto prioritises sustainability, safety, and affordability through innovative technology. Credit - Sidewalk Labs; (below) Singapore faces similar climate variability issues to tropical Australia. Credit - Illustrated Maps
The Relevance of the New Urban Agenda The New Urban Agenda, drafted by UNHabitat, and endorsed in late 2016 by the United Nations General Assembly, contains an empowering "call to action." It enables everyone to benefit from inevitable global urbanization trends, based on implementation of equitable frameworks. In particular, through Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 (Sustainable cities and communities), the New Urban Agenda provides a guide for developing safe, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable new cities that promote social integration and equity. This goal also provides the impetus for more contextual conversations about the growth, redesign and redevelopment of existing urban spaces.
Just as Cairns and Townsville deserve distinction from the settings of other Australian, European, or American cities, public space design must also vary within the tropical climate zone. We designed the Urban Thinkers Campus sessions (described in this video, as well as further below) to enable a broad range of local participants to first identify current behaviors, reflect on how planning and design impact public health, and to suggest relevant planning and design improvements.
Successful local implementation of the New Urban Agenda depends on more than planning document verbiage, regulatory revisions, or "cookie-cutter" imports of familiar "good urbanism tenets" (cited above) to the tropics.
How did we facilitate this local input into contextually appropriate design? What have we learned so far about how to adapt general tenets of good urbanism in tropical Australia?
Urban Thinkers Campuses: Understanding Cairns and Townsville through the urban diary tool
We offered the urban diary tool as a way to enhance personal observation, increase individual awareness, and create positive urban change.
We posed these questions to groups of over 50 people in each cityâ€”though UN-Habitat World Urban Campaign Urban Thinkers Campus sessions in Cairns and Townsville in June, 2018. Drawing on the urban diaries described in detail in Seeing the Better City, these events provided the fundamental basis for understanding the context of each city through a local lens.
Even within the Far North Queensland tropical region, the climate varies. Cairns experiences a tropical monsoon climate (wet tropics), while Townsville is exposed to a tropical savannah climate (dry tropics).
Urban diaries are premised on the importance of local history, values, and knowledge. They implement a scalable approach, intended to "distinguish underlying organic relationships between people and cities from indiscriminate prescription imposed upon place."
In our investigation, we invited a range of citizen, professional, governmental, and academic participants (and provided associated written guidance) to take and caption photographs of their surroundings, noting how the urban environment in which they reside impacts public health and livability. Participants actively contributed and described their photographs, and shared these images through two Facebook Groups, which we used to capture ideas and start conversations at both the Cairns and Townsville Urban Thinkers Campus sessions.
Cairns, Queensland, Australiaâ€”avoiding the humidity using active transport. Credit - Charles R. Wolfe
The urban diary approach helped participants clarify how urban design in Cairns and Townsville impacts the health of residents within these tropical cities. Participants further realized the empowering nature of citizen submittal of visual feedback to urban planners. In turn, municipalities are seeing the ongoing power of guided visual engagement with residents in planning processes, aligning closely with the New Urban Agenda principles.
Chuck believes that public spaces should be designed to mitigate the effects of tropical climates. Credit - Royal Horticultural Society
Place-based urban planning and design Climate-responsive planning and design are important to assure that urban residents in tropical climates incorporate incidental exercise into everyday routine. We believe that people can better use public spaces if they are designed with the premise of mitigating the negative impacts of tropical climates.
The lessons so far We will be finalizing an Urban Thinkers Campus report for UN-Habitat, the Cairns Regional Council, and the Townsville City Council in the coming months. Based on our preliminary data review, some provisional observations follow. The public health issues faced by first-world populations living in the tropics generally coincide with health problems of firstworld nations worldwide. Campus session presentations by public health professionals in both Cairns and Townsville showed how diabetes and cardiac conditions dominate the preventable hospital admissions and mortality statistics in Far North Queensland. It is well documented that the way to decrease our reliance on the increasingly strained health system, is to keep people moving[i]. Our initial review of session data also shows a general citizen desire to reconnect with one another. Participants emphasized that physical activity often occurs after the sun goes down (a time-shift effect) to avoid debilitating heat and humidity. They advocated for effective urban design and lighting solutions to ensure public safety.
We presented three overarching questions to Urban Thinkers Campus participants to determine how existing urban infrastructure and amenities promote or restrict: â€˘
We also found that participants viewed their first-world tropical cities as auto-centric, but reiterated a desire for change to incorporate more active lifestyles. Finally, participants expressed a significant interest in using public space for food production, as well as capitalizing on this focus to offset gentrification and to foster more purposeful social inclusion. The Cairns and Townsville Urban Thinkers Campus sessions provided meaningful input to conversations about how to improve public health through sustainable urban design for the tropics. Each Campus session also entertained the ongoing use of citizen-submitted visual material to assist in more meaningful dialogue and outcomes. These conversations need to expand, and we believe that they can provide a paradigm for other contexts around the world. Do we currently have all the answers for the people of these cities? Definitely not. But we can now state with confidence that the urban diary approach provides people with a chance to meaningfully engage with the decision-makers who will influence the cities of the future. By Charles R. Wolfe, with Silvia Tavares and David Sellars Originally published on Planetizen.com
Fulbrightâ€™s Father of Social Media:
A Scholar Ahead of His Time
It all began in 1982, with my Fulbright Award, while I was researching policies and programs, in the U.S., on the development of language and writing abilities in children. At the Laboratory of Human Cognition, University of California, San Diego, I was handed a hard copy of a letter, which had been sent from a student in the village of Wainwright, on the arctic coast of Alaska. It read like this: The letter was the catalyst for what became Computer Pals Across the World (CPAW), a global program in computer communication for primary school, high school, and university students, as well as community groups over a period of twenty five years. Initially it was called The AustrAlaskan Writing Project, where high school students in Sydney followed a program devised to encourage writing in a variety of genres as they wrote for a real and extended audience in Alaska. The Alaskan students were at first suspicious of the validity of the writings coming all the way from Australia so conference telephone links were established to reassure them that real people were sending this writing. Being quite novel at that time, a Sydney newspaper covered the story, with the headline reading Students Rub Noses with Eskimos via Modem. I saw this electronic writing as not only improving writing skills but also fostering the imagination through introducing students to a wider context of meaning and experience.
The communication was at first primitive with the use of an acoustic coupler linked to a personal computer and two service providers to carry the data. We were fortunate to have the technical support of the then Australian overseas provider, the Overseas Telecommunications Commission (OTC) and the U.S. provider AlaskaNet but it meant that students had to be patient to receive replies as the online communication was not instant as we have grown to expect today. In 1988, the Apollo command module pilot on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Mission, U.S. Astronaut Vance Brand, became the first Patron of the CPAW Global Network during his time in Sydney for Australiaâ€™s Bicentenary. We did work hard to have his Soviet Cosmonaut counterpart as the other Patron but that never eventuated. (Right) a souvenir badge from the Epson-sponsored CPAW program; a signed photo of astronaut Lance Brand, students transmitting messages for the AustrAlaskan writing project
The CPAW communication model soon spread to involve other schools in the U.S. and countries beyond. Several applications (now 'apps'!) were created for specific purposes. Among these was, Computer Pals in Hospitals, launched at the Prince of Wales Children’s Hospital in Sydney, where young patients shared experiences about their illnesses and treatments. I recall visiting the Doembecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon when a young girl with leukemia, who was communicating with a Computer Pal in Australia, said to me, “This is the loveliest thing I have ever done.” A further application was Computer Pals for Seniors, which was first established in 1991 at Lindfield Senior Citizens Centre in the Sydney Municipality of Ku-ring-gai, promoting intergenerational education through its Building Bridges Between Generations project. In 1989, I created a course titled Computers in Communication for my students in the Bachelor of Education and Diploma of Education at the University of Sydney. This course pioneered the way for online communication to be used as an effective tool in pedagogy, many years before the now plurality of communication options in the classroom.
The CPAW model has been used by national and international organizations including the the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh in 1986; the World Conservation Union, which used it for a first ever student forum, titled Environment Watch, at its World Congress in Perth in 1990, and the Australian Government for World Environment Days, to encourage young people to have a voice on environmental concerns.
"I recall visiting the Doembecher Children’s Hospital, when a young girl with leukemia, who was communicating with a Computer Pal in Australia, said to me, 'This is the loveliest thing I have ever done.'
(Above) Malcolm used new technologies to help create social networks for those who otherwise wouldn't have access;. (Left) a postcard of a painting (oil on canvas) by Australian artist, James R. Turner from the Bicentennial Collection, painted by the artist to celebrate Australia’s Bicentenary in 1988; the program also included indigenous outreach.
(Below) More Epson-sponsored CPAW merchandise; a classic photo of CPAW's mastermind, Malcolm
With the major sponsorship of Epson Australia, came the opportunity to establish a CPAW Secretariat in Sydney, which was based on the volunteer model and which served teachers and students throughout Australia and overseas by providing advice and wise counsel in their communication endeavors. Furthermore, the sponsorship made it possible to have annual conferences in many countries. In addition, the CPAW model was included in many world computer conferences, including the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP). These forums provided important opportunities for academics and practitioners to come together to engage in dialogue to further the cause of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in education and the community, the same technology, which has unlocked the isolation of many who were in remote places of the world. Today Dr Malcolm Beazley is the Director of the Australian National Museum of Education at the University of Canberra, which he founded in 1996 to ensure Australiaâ€™s significant educational heritage is not lost
I recall the time that school students from Magdeburg, East Germany engaged in the first computer communication with their peers at the Humboldt-Schule, Federal Republic of Germany.
The CPAW Model has been recognized by many distinguished people over the years, including Prime Ministers Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and Margaret Thatcher.
Today it is still kept alive at the College of Education of the University of Central Florida, Orlando, as staff and students explore and continue to use further applications of the model.
Another time, students in the remote village of Parainen in Finlandâ€™s Archipelego Sea collaborated with Australian and New Zealand students and yet another, when a teacher took a computer to a community electricity outlet in an isolated village of South Africa, so her students could communicate with their peers in Australia and beyond.
While this computer communication may seem very primitive today as social networks have burgeoned, and the applications have proliferated, across the world, the CPAW model did provide numerous opportunities as a tool in social media and education for students and community members for more than 25 years.
My work has been acknowledged by a Fellowship of the Australian College of Educators (FACE) in 1987 and by an Order of Australia (AM) in 1991. Since my Scholarship, I have been passionate about the importance of Fulbrighters demonstrating the outcomes of their Fulbright exchange and I once proposed to the Commission that there be a book titled Making the Difference, to document these outcomes. I can only conclude that Fulbright has certainly made a difference to my life and professional career and if am Fulbright's Father of Social Media, I certainly have many children! Today I sit surrounded by historic text books, objects and ephemera in the Australian National Museum of Education (ANME) at the University of Canberra, which I founded in 1996, reflecting upon an amazing life, enhanced by my Fulbright experience. 57 Dr Malcolm Beazley AM Fulbright Scholar (1982) June, 2018
Kitchen(less) Cooking - Capt Sophie Hollingsworth .
On a recent solo four-wheel drive expedition across Australia, I was determined to nourish myself without the convenience of a kitchen or the ability to Google recipes. What initially felt like restraints, provided an opportunity for creativity to flourish and unconventional fire based cooking methods to unfold. An outback adventure turned into a taste of Australia and the concept for Kitchen(less) Cooking a platform to inspire people to cook and eat in the outdoors was borne. Kitchen(less) Cooking seeks to inspire people to dive into the world of outdoor cooking and explore the joy of cooking without devices that plug in. The kind of meals you might imagine crafted if Indiana Jones and Martha Stewart threw a dinner party.
Cooking in the outdoors evokes a sense of liberation in an age where delivery is at our fingertips and there is a normalized a disconnection between food, the ecosystem, and ourselves. Outdoor cooking is a complete sensory experience – there is nothing like the crackle of wood burning, the warmth of the flames, the smoky scent, and the mesmerizing visual display. Armed with matches, a pocket knife and local ingredients, join ballerina turned award winning explorer, Capt. Sophie Hollingsworth, cooking in some of the most remote parts of the world.
Recipes are simple and straightforward often involving only a handful of ingredients. But nothing tastes as good as food cooked over the fire not to mention the magic that lights up people’s faces when they partake in an outdoor cooking experience. While these recipes were originally crafted in the outback, they can easily be replicated in your own backyard: Cook by the beach, in the forest, or on your apartment rooftop garden. Scrap your stove and build a fire! Stripping food preparation back to the basics, overleaf is a recipe for a gentle introduction into outdoor adventure cooking that is sure to have your weekend brunch guests coming back for more.
Sophie Hollingsworth | 2016 Fulbright Anne Wexler Scholar | Public Health New York university
The University of Sydney
Sophie Hollingsworth graduated from NYU with a Bachelors in Environmental Science and double minor in Global Public Health and Psychology. In 2017, she commenced her Master of Health Security at the University of Sydney. Sophie's paramount focus will be on shared political interests and cooperation between the U.S. and Australia in trade, security, and development related to health security.
Outside of academia, Sophie is a modern female explorer. She has sailed across the Pacific Ocean, transected Madagascar, and holds a 200-ton captains license. For the past five years, Sophie has worked as the Founder and Director of Operations of AquaAid International – an organization establishing sustainable sources of clean drinking water and basic sanitation in remote Central American jungles.
Recipe: Fire-Roasted Ingredients: •
2 "Y" Shaped Sticks
1 Straight(ish) Stick
Instructions: 1.) Light a fire and let the fire burn down to a medium heat.
2.) Build a spit - find two Y shaped sticks and dig two small holes on either side of the campfire, far enough from the flames as to not catch. Place the two Y shaped sticks in the ground using surrounding dirt and rocks as necessary to ensure the Y sticks can stand on their own. 3.) Find one straight(ish) stick - Delicately place your straight stick perpendicular between the two Y sticks. Make sure this stick is strong enough to hold the bacon but thin enough to allow the bacon to cook.
4.) Hang the bacon over the middle stick and flip the rashers occasionally. Cooking times are elastic as there are many variables that factor into each fire cooking adventure: humidity, wind, size of fire, type of wood and of course your bacon crispy preference index. Bacon can take anywhere from 20 minutes to one hour.*
Visit www.thesofialog.com for more outdoor cooking inspiration
*Fair warning for hungry cooks: As the decadent smell of bacon permeates the surrounding region you may become overpowered by a sudden desire to eat said bacon. Given the long lead time for fire-roasted bacon, it is well within reason to throw a few strips of bacon in a cast iron skillet over the fire for a few minutes to tide you over while the rest of the bacon hangs over the fire.
Quest Aqua Vitae for
Professor Seth C. Rasmussen The historical importance of alcohol goes far beyond just simple intoxicating beverages, and thus it is worth highlighting the impact of alcohol on the early development of both chemistry and medicine. Even before the ability to isolate alcohol had been developed, fermented beverages such as beer and wine found applications in medicine with such drinks considered to be nutritionally beneficial.
Hippocrates also prescribed wine for the dressing of wounds. Although it is now known that wine is more bacteriocidal than 10% alcohol, claims by some that wine's antiseptic properties were understood in antiquity seem doubtful. Apart from direct consumption, fermented drinks such as beer and wine were also widely used as an important medium for dissolving and dispensing medicinal compounds, with archaeological evidence for plant additives in fermented beverages dating back to the early Neolithic period. Later Babylonian and Assyrian authors mention the practice of mixing plants in wine for the production of medicines and the preparation of medicines by dissolving powdered components in beer are given in the Ebers Papyrus.
Hippocrates. Credit - Felix Freydzon
For this reason, physicians such as Hippocrates (~460-377 BCE) commonly prescribed wine as a curative for some ailments by allowing the wine to strengthen the body. In addition, Hippocrates also applied wine to quell fevers, as well as using it as a purgative and a diuretic. Wine was also applied externally and was used by surgeons in washing wounds from antiquity until the 19th century. The earliest known mention of washing wounds with fermented beverages is found in a Sumerian clay tablet dated to 2100 BCE which describes the washing of wounds with beer and hot water.
Fermented beverages were additionally applied as solvents for the preparation of a number of other chemical mixtures as well, including as a component of perfumes and as a solvent for the production of writing ink. The development of improved distillation techniques in the 12th and 13th centuries resulted in alcoholic solutions referred to as either aqua ardens (burning water) or aqua flamens (flaming water). These initial solutions, however, still contained significant amounts of water and the name aqua vitae (water of life) was reserved for the strongest alcohol distillates obtained after further optimization of the isolation methods. Such alcohol distillates became common reagents of the laboratory where they were used as a new type of powerful solvent.
In such applications, the alcohol content in the various fermented drinks would better solubilize the various organic ingredients in comparison to simple water. Wine appeared to be the most commonly applied for such medications, which could be a result of the higher alcohol content typical of wine in comparison to beer, thus making it a better solvent for dissolving or extracting the active species from various plant species. As a result, wine and various medicinal wines resulting from such mixtures with other components became regular stock in apothecaries of the Middle Ages.
An ancient cuneiform tablet, 3100-3000 B.C.E, featuring an early mention of alcohol. Credit - British Museum
Not only could alcohol solubilize most salts and other water-soluble substances, but it also dissolved many organic materials not soluble in water, such as fats, resins, and essential oils. In that respect, it was the first broadly applied solvent that could be used to solubilize less polar species. For example, it was the first solvent that could be used to extract the volatile aromatic . substances from plants
An early printed manuscript detailing the Pseudo-Lullian alchemical corpus - 1498
Regardless of the new availability of alcohol, however, wines and vinegars were still preferred for the extraction of herbs in the preparation of medicines. The applications of alcohol as a solvent also had profound impact on the pursuit of alchemy. In particular, some viewed aqua ardens and aqua vitae as the end to the search for a solvent for the Philosopherâ€™s stone, particularly for the preparation of the Elixir of Life. Even in terms of more mundane functions, the ability to dissolve a wider array of chemical species via alcoholic distillates greatly expanded the number of possible useful solutions available to the practicing alchemist and in many ways changed the focus of chemical investigations. By the mid-13th century, alcoholic distillates began to be used as a medicine and by the 14th century, both aqua ardens and aqua vitae had become not only important in medicine, but had begun to be applied to techniques for the general preservation of organic substances. The Italian physician Taddeo Alderotti (ca. 1210-1295) and the Franciscan Vitalis de Furno (ca. 1260-1327) have been credited with the earliest application of medicinal alcohol.
As both a physician and the inventor of the modern cooling coil for the efficient production of alcoholic distillates, it is not surprising that Alderotti was one of the pioneers of the application of these distillates to medicine.
Alderotti attributed a number of additional virtues to alcohol as a medicine, including the power to restore lost memory, strengthen weak sight, and relieve paralysis of the limbs, as well as being effective in the treatment of epilepsy and deafness. The application of alcohol as a medicine generally stemmed from the reasoning that purified alcohol would in turn purify the patient from illness and by 1288 medicinal alcohol was in general use. Administering medicinal alcohol resulted in relieved pain, improved mood, and made patients relaxed, thus allowing the body a chance to heal itself.
Engraving of Alderotti by Allegrini, 1770
According to Alderotti, aqua vitae as a medicine was "of inestimable glory, the mother and mistress of all medicine". He went on to remark on its ability to fight melancholy, reporting that a little every morning "makes one happy, jocund, and glad," and discussed its usefulness as a toothache liniment and for cleaning wounds.
In addition, its effect on the failing powers of the elderly led to the use of alcohol distillates as a medicine against the ills of old age. Aqua ardens and aqua vitae were thought to be able to preserve the human body, a belief that was supported by the fact that such alcohol distillates exhibited the property of preserving organic matter from putrefaction.
Arnald of Villanova describes alcoholic distillates as early as 1309-1312 and extoled the virtues of aqua ardens, being one of the early authors to insist upon its curative virtues as a medicine.
In a more practical sense, however, it is now understood that washing wounds with alcohol cleansed them and killed some microorganisms that could lead to infection. Alcohols exhibit broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity against most bacteria, fungi, and many viruses, but are ineffective against bacterial spores.
Although alcohol proved not to be the universal medicine that it was initially believed to be, it had a profound effect on the evolution of medicine and the chemical arts.
Generally, the antimicrobial activity of alcohols is significantly lower at concentrations below 50% and is optimal in the 60 to 90% range. As such, aqua ardens would have been more effective than the more concentrated aqua vitae.
He stated that the desired quintessence could be identified by its marvelous odor, quite different from that of simple aqua ardens, and viewed the quintessence as a stabilizer which would defend the body from corruption indefinitely.
By the mid-14th century, the medicinal and preservative properties of pure alcohol became the backbone of the writings of such authors as Arnald of Villanova (ca. 1240-1311) and John of Rupescissa (d. 1362), and it was soon widely recommended as a universal remedy.
John of Rupescissa also praised the medical efficacy of alcohol, stating that since a body cannot be preserved from corruption by things which are themselves corruptible, a remedy must be sought which is related to the four qualities as heaven is related to the four elements.
By the Middle Ages, it had become an important aspect of medicine and well-equipped apothecaries had distillation equipment onsite for the production of aqua ardens and aqua vitae. In addition, its use in first alchemy and then chemistry became so common and entrenched that most scientists take its presence in the laboratory completely for granted.
He conceived that 'pure' alcohol (now known to actually be 95% alcohol) was the desired supreme remedy against corruption and thus gave it the fitting name of quintessence (the fifth element of Aristotle which made up the heavens).
(Above) Artist's representation of distillation apparatus for aqua vitae, from Liber de arte Distillandi, by Hieronymus Brunschwig, 1512; (Left) Arnald of Villanova
(Above) Medieval concept of the cosmos. The innermost spheres are the terrestrial spheres, while the outer contain the celestial bodies. Aristotle theorised that a fifth element, or 'quintessence', could only be found in the celestial bodies.
Throughout the Middle Ages, the terms aqua ardens and aqua vitae remained the standard references to this material until the name alkohol vini (the subtle part of wine) was introduced by the alchemist and physician Paracelsus (1493â€“1541) in the 16th century. Over time, the descriptor vini was ultimately dropped to become the modern alcohol as we know it today - a simple name for a material that has greatly influenced our collective history.
Professor Seth C. Rasmussen | 2017 Senior Scholar | Sponsored by the University of Newcastle North Dakota State University
Centre for Organic Electronics, University of Newcastle He then studied conjugated organic polymers as a postdoctoral associate at the University of Oregon in 1995.
Seth received a B.S. in chemistry from Washington State University in 1990 and a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Clemson University in 1994.
He accepted a teaching position at Oregon in 1997, before moving to North Dakota State University in 1999. Active in both materials chemistry and the history of chemistry, his research includes the design and synthesis of organic semiconducting materials, solar cells, organic light emitting diodes, the history of materials, and chemical technology in antiquity.
He has contributed to books in both materials and history, and has published more than 95 research papers and book chapters. At Newcastleâ€™s Centre for Organic Electronics, Seth studied the application of new semiconducting polymers (plastics) to organic solar cells and near-infrared photodetectors in order to develop new beneficial technologies for society.
Dr Jill Ker Conway AC Dr Jill Ker Conway’s raw intelligence, robust character, and deft, analytical mind propelled her through a remarkable career in education, academia, and business. Formative years spent working the harsh land of a sheep station in outback New South Wales fostered a fierce determination to shrug the shackles of endemic gender discrimination, and lead her to become a trailblazing women’s rights advocate. Yet it was her thoughtful, poignant reflections on life amid this dusty, arid vastness, vividly chronicled in her best-selling autobiography, The Road from Coorain, that truly cemented Jill’s place as an Australian literary icon.
“Time manages the most painful partings for us. One has only to set the date, buy the ticket, and let the earth, sun, and moon make their passages through the sky, until inexorable time carries us with it to the moment of parting.” Jill’s early life was, in fact, punctuated by painful partings. She lost her father in a tragic accident on the family farm when she was just 10, and was sent from her cherished Coorain home to boarding school at 12. Her brother died in a car accident when she was 16, then at 24 she parted with her first true love, an American venture capitalist, with a tearful farewell at the Pan Am terminal in Sydney. Jill’s indomitable spirit, and the inexorable passage of time saw her safely through.
But it was a departure of a different kind that would forever alter the course of Jill’s life, and culminate in her appointment as the first woman president of Massachusetts’ prestigious Smith College, and her being named Time’s ‘Woman of the Year’ at just 40 years of age.
“I’d arrived at the choice by exhausting all the possibilities of interesting careers in Australia, discovering, one by one, that they were not open to women…so my setting out was not exactly the departure of a conquering hero, but more the ambiguous result of deciding that I needed to get away from Australia, to view life from a different perspective.”
Jill Ker Conway by Sarah Belchetz-Swenson Credit - National Portrait Gallery
Frustrated and suffocated by the lack of opportunity for an ambitious young Australian woman, Jill decided to pursue graduate study abroad. Glimpses of American culture had opened her eyes to a more fluid and progressive interpretation of her own place in society, and to the potential of what could be achieved through hard work and talent. In 1960, Jill applied for a Fulbright Scholarship to study in the U.S, and less than a year later, found herself wandering the halls of Harvard’s Radcliffe College. The unconventional teaching methods instantly appealed. Students were invited to critically engage with the material, rather than simply read and accept the conclusions of others. For the first time, Jill was forced to step back and ask herself exactly why she wanted to study history.
“Why was I an historian? One wasn’t just born curious about history. The reason was I’d grown up having to know why things were the way they were. "The droughts and sudden swings of fortune of my childhood in the Australian outback meant that I was preoccupied by questions of free will and determinism. Coming to consciousness during the war made me interested in the conflict of ideas and ideologies, and curious about where they came from.” The educators were passionate and eccentric; one particular favourite of Jill’s would deliver his lectures with the dramatic flair of a Shakespearian soliloquy. This intellectual nourishment was intoxicating, and Jill found herself re-examining everything she had learned about history through an entirely new lens.
“Since I craved understanding more than any other intellectual delight, each flash of insight was a heady new fix for a boundless appetite… I could scarcely attend a lecture without some new insight about the history of the Australian colonies exploding in my mind like a firecracker. "This was what I’d wanted from the study of history – the flash of understanding, the new insight, the notion that one was living with reality, not some dusty myth from the past.”
Jill went on to earn a PhD in History in 1969. While at Harvard, she had fallen in love with Canadian professor and WWII veteran John Conway, whom she described as "totally and spontaneously liberated". They married, and moved to Canada, where Jill took a teaching post at the University of Toronto. As a shrewd and innovative administrator, Jill rose swiftly through the ranks there to become a dean in 1971, then vice president in 1973. Privately, she helped John battle through severe bouts of manic depression, and in the midst of one particularly bad episode, reaffirmed the importance of her independence.
“His moral integrity, courage, and devotion to humanistic learning were certainly my compass point, the true north one needed to set directions on this continent. But I now knew there were going to be times when I’d have to navigate alone.” In 1974, Jill was visited by the committee charged with finding a new president for Smith College, one of the most illustrious women’s liberal arts institutions in the world. Busy with a life "learning to swim in the choppy seas of administrative life", she gave little thought to the idea of a move back to the U.S., but, at John’s insistence, accepted an invitation to visit the campus. The atmosphere of Smith’s campus was enchanting, and Jill couldn’t help but compare the sights and sounds of Connecticut Valley to those of Toronto.
“I left a grey city to see a campus ablaze with crocus, daffodils, scilla, and rich strawberry and cream magnolias. Brighter than the spring flowers were the faces of the young women I saw everywhere.
"I could spend months at a time at the University of Toronto without ever hearing a female voice raised. Here the women were rowdy, physically freewheeling, joshing one-another loudly, their laughter deep-belly laughter, not propitiatory giggles. I was entranced.”
In 1975, Jill became the first woman to be named President of Smith College. Under her leadership, new programs were introduced to improve access to education, the sports teams and facilities were upgraded, and the college’s endowment nearly tripled. A decade later, Jill retired to devote time to writing, publishing three best-selling memoirs. She also began trailblazing a new path through corporate America, joining the boards of Merrill Lynch, Nike, Colgate-Palmolive, Community Solutions, and becoming the first female chairman of global property group, Lendlease. Her presence on the Kellogg, JFK Presidential Library and the John and James L. Knight foundations became the setting for addressing issues of exclusion. Her progressive values extended to directorship; for example, before agreeing to join Nike, Jill insisted on a campaign to stimulate interest in sport for girls, chaired a corporate social responsibility committee, and regularly visited Nike factories in Asia to check the working conditions of the primarily-female workforce. Jill’s innovative leadership and pioneering views on corporate social responsibility brought international recognition and accolades.
Over the course of her career, she received thirty-eight honorary degrees and awards from North American and Australian colleges, universities and women's organizations. In 2013, President Barack Obama awarded her the National Humanities Medal, and her country of birth appointed her an honorary Companion of the Order of Australia for "eminent service to the community, particularly women, as an author, academic and through leadership roles with corporations, foundations, universities and philanthropic groups". In an article for the Sydney Morning Herald at the time, her words on contemporary Australia were characteristically thoughtful:
“Today Australia is rich in resources and part of the dynamic Asia Pacific market and its financial institutions are global players. But today my rural world is in decline even though we know that there will be a serious problem of feeding the world's population within several generations. "So my hope is for a political climate a little more focused on the future, and a little less comfortable with the wealth that comes from feeding the carbon economy.”
Jill receives the 2013 National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama. Credit - Pete Marovich/Getty Images
Jill in the early 1980s, during her tenure as the first female president of Smith College. Credit - Smith College
Jill passed away at her home on the first of June, 2018, on a warm, cloudy day in Boston. In accordance with her wishes, half of her ashes rest in a small private cemetery beside John’s, near their beloved house and garden in Massachusetts; the other half were scattered by the big tree, beside the driveway into the house at Coorain.
“As I walked out to the plane in the balmy air of a Sydney September night, my mind flew back to a dusty cemetery where my father was buried. "Where, I wondered, would my bones come to rest? It pained me to think of them not fertilizing Australian soil. "Then I comforted myself with the notion that wherever on the earth was my final resting place, my body would return to the restless red dust of the western plains. I could see how it would blow about and get in people’s eyes, and I was content with that.” Dr Jill Ker Conway AC 1934 - 2018
Fulbright Australia Launches its 70th Anniversary Fundraising Effort Celebrating 70 Years of Excellence 2019 will mark the 70th anniversary of the Fulbright Scholarship Program in Australia. The anniversary year promises to be as much about preparing the future as it is about acknowledging the achievements of the past seven decades. It provides an opportunity to define key priorities and to reassert the Australian-American Fulbright Commissionâ€™s commitment to the education of leaders to make a positive difference in the world. It promises to be an exciting year! Preparations for celebrating the landmark date are underway and include a fundraising campaign which was announced by Board Chair Peter de Cure during the Gala Dinner and Scholar Showcase held at Parliament House in February. De Cure highlighted the increasingly important role that private donors and sponsors play in strengthening the program and kicked off the funding drive by acknowledging the generosity of past sponsors and celebrating the significant contributions of nine new institutions that have recently committed to a long-term partnership with the AAFC.
The Kinghorn Foundation's extraordinary gift of AUD $10 million, the largest single donation in the history of the Australian-American Fulbright Commission, stands out amongst all the gifts as a formidable commitment to the foundational principles that drive the Fulbright purpose. It has doubled the number of Fulbright Scholarships for Australians over the next five years. Our goal, as we turn toward the future, and as we build on existing support, is to ensure that we continue to provide access to transformative student experiences, and ensure that the experience is available to an ever-broader spectrum of candidates from all socio-economic backgrounds. This will require the broad-based support of alumni, private donors, corporate sponsors, and foundations.
"The preservation of our free society in the years and decades to come will depend ultimately on whether we succeed or fail in directing the enormous power of human knowledge to the enrichment of our own lives and the shaping of a rational and civilized world order."
“It is the task of education, more than any other instrument of foreign policy to help close the dangerous gap between the economic and technological interdependence of the people of the world and their psychological, political and spiritual alienation.” - J. WILLIAM FULBRIGHT PROSPECTS FOR THE WEST
A Special Call to Fulbright Alumni As preparations to mark the 70th anniversary of the Fulbright program in Australia progress, every member of the Fulbright alumni community is—and will remain—at the heart of efforts to expand engagement with the program. Each alumnus embodies and celebrates the Fulbright mission to “to enhance mutual understanding and strengthen the vitally important relations between the Australia and the United States.” The program’s targeted citizen-tocitizen response to the battle of ideas in the troubled aftermath of WW II was an extraordinarily simple but effective tool when it was established, and it is still urgently needed in our increasingly polarized and fragmented world today. We therefore believe that the milestone year provides an opportunity to build on the previous successes of the program.
We invite our alumni—and all those who have been associated with the transformative power of a Fulbright experience—to consider making a donation that will strengthen and sustain the flagship scholarship program for future generations. Your contribution to the 70th Anniversary Scholarship Fund— big or small—would be both an achievement and a promise. The achievement? A program that is strengthened with increased opportunities for outstanding researchers whose purpose is to address complex challenges in the world today. The promise? The potential for innovation and discovery that would derive from the scholarship support. Thank you. - Katie Mitrovica-Basha Philanthropy Officer
For more information, go to: www.fulbright.org.au or email email@example.com To donate: Go to www.fulbright.org.au/donate/
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April Solutions: Down: 1. Unlearn 2. Quantum 4. Disruption 8. Mateship 8. Tactile 10. Haptic Across: 3. Innovate 5. Incubator 6. Structure 7. Cottonmouth 11. Presence 12. Spacetime
Donate to Fulbright The Fulbright Program changes lives and transforms careers in its support of binational cooperation and cultural exchange. You can support us in our mission by sponsoring a scholarship or making a donation to one of our alumni or state scholarship funds. Please see overleaf for more information. Salutation
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Fulbright Scholarship Funds (please select one) Fulbright State Scholarship Funds Fulbright state scholarships aim to encourage and profile research relevant to each state/ territory, and assist in the building of international research links between local and U.S. research institutions. These scholarships were established by state governments, companies, universities, private donors and other stakeholders. Endowed state funds currently exist for New South Wales, Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, and Queensland. Iâ€™d like to donate to the State Fund. Fulbright WG Walker Memorial Alumni Fund The Inaugural President of the Australian Fulbright Alumni Association was Professor Bill Walker, a two-time Fulbright awardee. It was his energy and enthusiasm that was the driving force behind the establishment of the Association. To acknowledge Bill Walkerâ€™s significant contributions to the Association and the Fulbright program, it was decided in 1992 to fund the WG Walker Memorial Fulbright Scholarship in partnership with the Fulbright Commission. The fund sponsors one Australian scholarship each year, awarded to the highest-ranked postgraduate candidate. Fulbright Coral Sea Fund Established in 1992 by the Coral Sea Commemorative Council to recognise the 50th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea, this scholarship was designed to acknowledge the friendship, cooperation and mutual respect which has developed between the United States and Australia since the Battle of the Coral Sea. Each year, recipients of the scholarship research identified problems or opportunities relevant to Australian business or industry, through 3-4 months of study in the United States.
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Australian-American Fulbright Commission PO Box 9541, Deakin ACT 2600
Fulbright State & Territory Sponsors NSW
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Visit Fulbright.org.au to apply for a Scholarship Annual Deadlines: Australian candidates (all).............1 March – 15 July U.S. Postdoctoral/Senior Scholar/Distinguished Chair candidates........1 February – 1 August U.S. Postgraduate candidates..........31 March - 6 October Fulbright Specialist Program........1 July – 30 September Fulbright Alumni Initiative Grant..........1 February – 30 April
Australian-American Fulbright Commission +612 6260 4460 | www.fulbright.org.au