Antarctic bacteria live on air and use hydrogen as fuel

By Pok Man Leung, Monash University; Chris Greening, Monash University, and Steven Chown, Monash University Humans have only recently begun to think about using hydrogen as a source of energy, but bacteria in Antarctica have been doing it for a billion years. We studied 451 different kinds of bacteria from frozen soils in East Antarctica … Continue reading Antarctic bacteria live on air and use hydrogen as fuel

Meet the new chief: Nicole Webster’s journey from the tropics to Antarctica

By training, Dr Nicole Webster is an expert in tropical marine ecosystems. She’s spent much of her career researching coral reefs – but this year, her life took a cool turn when she was appointed the new chief scientist of the Australian Antarctic Division. “While I’m a really passionate researcher, and I absolutely love the … Continue reading Meet the new chief: Nicole Webster’s journey from the tropics to Antarctica

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

Oral vaccines, rare ecosystems and microplastic map

Black summer bushfire research, a vaccine against a childhood virus and a science education program for Indigenous students are among the winners of the 2021 Eureka Prizes, announced Thursday night at a virtual ceremony. Presented annually by the Australian Museum since 1990, the Eureka Prizes recognise scientific excellence of both individuals and organisations. Seventeen prizes … Continue reading Oral vaccines, rare ecosystems and microplastic map

Sir Tannatt William Edgeworth David – knight in the old brown hat

In 1920, Tannatt William Edgeworth David was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.  This gave biographer David Branagan one element for the title of his 2005 book, T.W. Edgeworth David: a Life: Geologist, Adventurer, Soldier and Knight in the Old Brown Hat. As for “the old brown hat”, Branagan explains … Continue reading Sir Tannatt William Edgeworth David – knight in the old brown hat

Small, but mighty important

I vividly remember the moment back in Tokyo when I first borrowed an encyclopedia about zooplankton from my primary school science teacher and ran back home. I begged my parents to buy a microscope, turned my mum’s stocking into a plankton net, and every day enjoyed looking at all kinds of plankton collected from nearby … Continue reading Small, but mighty important

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New shark mass extinction discovered Scientists have uncovered a previously unknown mass die-off of sharks, 19 million years ago. At this time, the oceans swarmed with ten times as many sharks as we have today, but the extinction event killed off more than 70% of them, with a higher death toll in the open ocean … Continue reading You may have missed…

22 scientists honoured by the AAS

The Australian Academy of Science has just announced their 2021 Fellows, recognising the outstanding contributions of 22 of our nation’s most distinguished scientists. The Fellows were elected by their peers for ground-breaking research, spanning a range of research areas – from condensed-matter physics to 3D-printed bone techniques to growing qubits for quantum computers. “These researchers … Continue reading 22 scientists honoured by the AAS

Successful Paris Agreement could halve ice loss by 2100

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C could halve the amount of Antarctic land ice lost by the end of the century, but maintaining current emissions – projected to raise global temperatures by 3°C by 2100 – will accelerate ice sheet loss and sea level rise past a point-of-no-return by 2060, according to two papers published today in … Continue reading Successful Paris Agreement could halve ice loss by 2100

Douglas Mawson in the desert

Today, 5 May, is the birthday of Sir Douglas Mawson, the Australian geologist best known for his Antarctic explorations. He undertook multiple expeditions to the frozen south, including leading the Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911–14, which was not just geared towards exploration but also scientific research. But Mawson’s long career wasn’t entirely focused on the … Continue reading Douglas Mawson in the desert

Life below zero

Life continues to amaze. Hundreds of metres below Antarctic ice, in complete darkness and temperatures below zero, scientists have discovered a community of animals that expands knowledge about survival in frosty conditions. They found the lifeforms, which consist of various sponges and other potentially unknown species, living on rock 260 kilometres in from the front … Continue reading Life below zero

Good krill hunting

Antarctica’s most iconic animals depend on the tiny, prolific and surprisingly charismatic krill. Andrew Bain reports on the research into this seemingly invincible crustacean and its now uncertain future. In a laboratory beneath the long wings of the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) in Hobart’s southern suburbs, krill biologist Rob King is lit by the glow … Continue reading Good krill hunting