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Victoria University researchers have found that several sponge species presumed threatened by climate change are likely to survive. The study was conducted by PhD student Holly Bennet, associate professor James Bell, professor Simon Davy, and Dr Nicole Webster, and examined four great barrier reef sponge species and their physiological responses to rising ocean acidification and sea water temperature. The research found that the four species are sensitive to predicted ocean warming, however this sensitivity minimises under ocean acidification for sponges who obtain their nutrition from symbiotic organisms that receive their energy from the sun. Research also found that sponges exhibited better tolerance to ocean warming in their early life stages than their adult counterparts. The research gives insight into how some future ecosystems may function and provides knowledge for future coral sponge regime shifts.

Victoria Takes Learning Global Victoria University has joined in partnership with edX, a large non-profit open online course provider, to make higher education opportunities more accessible to people wanting to learn. Victoria will be launching three “massive open online courses” within the next three years. The courses will consist of lectures no longer than seven and a half minutes and will be supplemented by readings and other resources. The technology platform was founded by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was created “by universities, for universities.” Victoria University Provost Professor Wendy Larner says “it will be a chance for us to collaborate with other edX universities, which are some of the best in the world, to deliver courses.” “It will increase our reputation internationally in teaching and learning, and will also help is to expand our digital capability across the board,” she adds. Victoria’s first open online course will be Antarctica Online, taught by Dr Rebecca Priestly and Dr Cliff Atkins from the Faculty of Science. Priestly says she is “delighted to be able to share Antarctica Online with the world through the edX partnership.”

Jessica Morris

Matthew Collier

Spongebob will be okay

Tragedy strikes UC hall occurred in a busy part of the year for students, with end of year exams and assignments looming. Students and staff have been advised of the support services that are available to them. Where to get help Lifeline: 0800 543 354 Depression Helpline (8am to 12 midnight): 0800 111 757 Healthline: 0800 611 116 Samaritans: 0800 726 666 Suicide Crisis Helpline (aimed at those in distress, or those who are concerned about the wellbeing of someone else): 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) Youthline: 0800 376 633, free text 234, or email talk@

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Saeran Maniparathy

Last week emergency services attended to the sudden death of a female student at the University of Canterbury’s Rochester and Rutherford Hall. Police have confirmed that the death is not suspicious and have referred the matter to the coroner. Police will not confirm the cause of death. The university said in a statement that the incident was “a rare and tragic accident.” An individual at the hall who was close to the victim said “she was one of the most caring and thoughtful people I’ve ever met. She always made my day so much better.” Rochester and Rutherford Hall is a predominantly first-year hall. The university’s acting Vice-Chancellor Dr Hamish Cochrane said the university was very aware that this has

Misc | Issue 24  
Misc | Issue 24