Ivermectin could throw a lifeline to endangered Australian sea lions

Ivermectin has been burdened with a seriously bad reputation in recent times. Infamously – and incorrectly – touted as a wonder cure for COVID-19 by, the drug has emerged from the turmoil of the pandemic as something of a snake-oil equivalent in the collective psyche. But this image is undeserved – despite being thoroughly debunked … Continue reading Ivermectin could throw a lifeline to endangered Australian sea lions

Crafty coastal species are colonising plastics – with potentially devastating results

The sheer volume of plastics dumped, trickled or escaped into our oceans is seen as a major global problem, threatening biodiversity, injuring or killing vulnerable marine animals, and even harming human health. Now, new research shows life can bloom even in the direst of places: coastal plants and animals are actually colonising floating plastic debris … Continue reading Crafty coastal species are colonising plastics – with potentially devastating results

How to read a jellyfish’s mind

Jellyfish may be brainless, but that didn’t stop these scientists from reading their minds – well, sort of. Researchers from the California Institute of Technology devised a clever way to tinker with the genes of Clytia hemisphaerica – a tiny, transparent jelly only centimetres in diameter – that makes their neurons glow with fluorescent light, … Continue reading How to read a jellyfish’s mind

The great eel odyssey

The epic odyssey of Australasian eels to spawning grounds spans all the way from south-eastern Australia to the far reaches of the tropical Coral Sea near New Caledonia, according to a study published in Scientific Reports. That’s a whopping 2500km journey through treacherous ocean waters. Short-finned eels (Anguilla australis) are ecologically, economically, and culturally important … Continue reading The great eel odyssey

The ocean is our greatest climate regulator

The German linguist Heinrich Zimmer once described the ocean as “limitless and immortal … the beginning and end of all things on Earth”. Standing on the shores of any ocean, one can easily sense this. Yet, the more we reveal about the myriad processes within the world’s oceans, the more we begin to question just … Continue reading The ocean is our greatest climate regulator

Shark-bait tourism

Three hours off the coast of South Australia, in the remote and rugged Neptune Islands, white sharks gather. These apex predators are drawn to these offshore islands near Port Lincoln by fur seals, thousands of which form breeding colonies in the islands’ rocky coves. And, in turn, humans are drawn to the Neptunes to dive … Continue reading Shark-bait tourism

Antarctica: A window to the future

Remote and wild, Antarctica is a spectacular place that most people on Earth won’t ever get to. But it’s a frontier for scientific research. Cosmos spoke to Nicole Webster, the new chief scientist of the Australian Antarctic Division, to learn about what kind of research is undertaken on this frozen continent, from the smallest krill … Continue reading Antarctica: A window to the future

Flirting with the enemy: fish using sharks to exfoliate

The fish in this video aren’t snuggling with sharks – they are exfoliating. A team of researchers from the University of Miami, US, documented 47 instances of fish getting up close and personal with the enemy by rubbing against sharks – some even dared to rub against great whites. “While we don’t exactly know why … Continue reading Flirting with the enemy: fish using sharks to exfoliate

Overcoming the barriers to reef recovery

The Great Barrier Reef has been impacted by three mass bleaching events in the last five years. Foremost, it is being challenged by climate change, particularly ocean warming. There are still areas of the reef that are doing well and demonstrating quite a high level of resilience, but other areas are not. As the climate … Continue reading Overcoming the barriers to reef recovery

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Adding a new name to the family tree Palaeoanthropologists have just announced the name of a new species of human, Homo bodoensis, which lived in Africa in the Middle Pleistocene around 500,000 years ago. It was a direct ancestor of modern humans, Homo sapiens, which emerged as a distinct species around 200,000 years ago. The … Continue reading You may have missed…

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Pulsating white dwarf spotted From up in orbit, NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has recorded an extremely rare sight: a white dwarf star suddenly turning on and off. White dwarfs are stellar corpses, formed when stars like our Sun run out of fuel to burn and slowly begin to cool and die. This particular … Continue reading You may have missed…

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Fish camouflage better without friends watching Like chameleons of the sea, gobies change colour to hide from predators like larger fish and birds – and they do so better when they’re alone. A new study published in Royal Society Open Science tested the colour-changing ability of these bottom-dwelling fish alone and in pairs. When by … Continue reading You may have missed…