Stories

Science, Research, Climate Change and Agriculture: Stories From The Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment

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22 December 2017

Australian health authorities regularly issue public reminders not to touch bats because they can host Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABLV). This type of health education is necessary because it reduces human exposure to bat-borne diseases. However, subsequent sensationalist media reporting risks demonising bats, which increases human-wildlife conflict and poses barriers to conservation.

Flying Fox 150

25 February 2018

New research shows that elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) causes significant changes in the diversity of grasses in the forest understorey.

Commelina 150

13 December 2017

For PhD student Tracey Steinrucken, her graduation on Wednesday 13 December brings to a close three of the most intense and fulfilling years of her life. During her studies at Western Sydney University and CSIRO, Tracey has travelled to the United States as a Fulbright Scholar, uncovered new insights into the control of woody weeds, and most recently, become a mum to baby Isabelle.

Tracey Steinrucken 150

26 October 2017

Since its launch in 2012, the iconic EucFACE experiment has exposed a patch of native forest in north-west Sydney to high levels of carbon-dioxide - replicating our predicted future atmosphere. Levels of carbon dioxide in our air are increasing steadily every year and are now over 400 parts per million, the highest recorded levels in hundreds of thousands of years.

EucFACE Birthday Small

10 July 2017

One of the expected benefits from rising atmospheric carbon dioxide is that plants may use less water and avoid some of the damaging effects of drought. This publication "Water availability affects seasonal CO2-induced photosynthetic enhancement in herbaceous species in a periodically dry woodland" is Varsha's first scientific publication, issued in the highly-respected journal Global Change Biology

Varsha Pathare 150

30 June 2017

One koala's waste could be another's salvation, as researchers from the Hawkesbury Institute of Environment (HIE) work on a koala inoculation made from the excrement of their cuddly counterparts.

Koalas 150

7 March 2017

The ability of trees to offset carbon emissions has been questioned after a Western Sydney University study found common Australian trees are unable to store as much carbon as previously thought. Published in the Nature Climate Change journal, the research found that Australia's iconic Eucalyptus forests are likely to need additional soil nutrients in order to grow and take advantage of extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

EucFACE

1 November 2016

On November 1st 2016, the annual Australian Research Council grants were announced with four new Discovery projects to be led by the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment.

2016 ARC Results

13 October 2016 - By Dr Chris Turbill

You may have seen the news that the human lifespan cannot be extended beyond about 115 years, as shown by a demographic analysis confirming that the steady improvements in lifespan seen for many populations over recent decades has stalled since the 1990s. The researchers' conclusion that "the maximum lifespan of humans is fixed and subject to natural constraints" is sobering reading for those who dream that human ageing can one day be successfully hacked.

Mice 400 150x150

14 October 2016

An international study has found the economic value of biodiversity in forest productivity is worth roughly US$330 billion per annum, highlighting the importance of protecting the world's remaining species rich ecosystems. Published in Science, the Positive Biodiversity–Productivity Relationship Predominant in Global Forests study is the work of over 80 scientists from 44 countries.

Amazon Rainforest 150

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