Adelaide, Australia

University of Adelaide

www.adelaide.edu.au
Adelaide, Australia

The University of Adelaide is a public university in Adelaide, South Australia. Established in 1874, it is the third oldest university in Australia. It is associated with five Nobel laureates, 104 Rhodes scholars and is a member of the Group of Eight, as well as the sandstone universities.Its main campus is on North Terrace in the Adelaide city centre, adjacent to the Art Gallery of South Australia, the South Australian Museum and the State Library of South Australia. The university has five campuses throughout the state: North Terrace; Roseworthy College at Roseworthy; The Waite Institute at Urrbrae; Thebarton; and the National Wine Centre in the Adelaide Park Lands. It has a sixth campus, the Ngee Ann – Adelaide Education Centre , in Singapore.The 20th Vice-Chancellor of the University is Professor Warren Bebbington. Formerly Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Melbourne, he commenced in July 2012. Wikipedia.

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News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

Biofuels have long been touted as a carbon-neutral alternative to fossil fuels, doing for the world’s planes, ships and automobiles what windfarms and solar panels are doing for its electricity grids. With the transport sector accounting for almost one fifth of Australia’s total carbon emissions, green biofuels could be an important ingredient of the zero emissions future envisioned by the Paris climate agreement. On paper, biofuels seem the ideal replacement for fossil fuels, which drive global warming by spewing tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that would otherwise be locked away in geological deposits. With biofuels, the plants and algae used to produce the raw material inhale carbon as they grow, offsetting the carbon released when they are burned. But the past decade has seen the biofuel industry face tough economic conditions and niggling questions over its green credentials. The fledgling industry is now turning to a raft of innovative crop and processing technologies to overcome its challenges. One of the biggest criticisms of the early generation of bioethanol crops, such as corn and sugarcane, was their propensity to mess with food markets and alter land use. Direct impacts – felling forests to make way for a biofuel crop, say – are usually obvious, says Prof Bill Laurance, director of the Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science at James Cook University. But indirect impacts can be no less devastating for the environment and are far harder to predict. “The devil is really in the details,” he says. As an example, when farmers in the US opted out of soy in favour of corn for bioethanol, soy prices soared, suddenly making it an attractive crop for Brazilian farmers, which in turn drove demand for freshly deforested cropland. One analysis of these knock-on effects estimated that instead of cutting emissions, corn-based bioethanol would double emissions over a 30-year period. This is without even considering loss to biodiversity, pollution from pesticide and fertiliser use, changes to water catchments and decreased food security for marginalised populations. The latest IPCC assessment report, released in 2014, acknowledged some of these risks and trade-offs. Prof Rachel Burton, leader of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Cell Walls at University of Adelaide, thinks that there is a smarter way forward for biofuels and it starts with selecting the right crop. Instead of growing food crops such as corn and sugarcane on prime agricultural land, Burton and others are looking to more hardy plants that grow on land too dry or saline for conventional crops. Australia could turn to crops like agave (of tequila fame), hemp, or the native saltbush and wild-growing sorghum for biofuels of the future, she says. The once popular idea of generating biofuels from microscopic algae grown in ponds or tanks – which avoids land use altogether – has largely been abandoned due to the high production costs compared to fossil fuels. But economic considerations are also a factor for crop-based biofuels. Plant oils can be extracted and turned into biodiesel for vehicles and machinery, and aviation fuel that has already been used in commercial airline flights. However, food oils from palm and soy hover at roughly twice the price of crude oil. “It really is fundamentally an economic problem rather than a technological problem,” says Dr Allan Green, innovation leader for biobased products at CSIRO Agriculture and Food. His solution is to make plants oilier. With more oil being produced on a given parcel of land, harvesting and production costs will inevitably fall. He and his colleagues have patented a way of tinkering with the genetic levers that control oil production in plants, so that a plant produces oil in its leaves, not just its fruit or seeds. The technology, which has so far only been tested in tobacco, shows that oil production can be boosted to a third or more of the leaf’s weight, more than occurs naturally in any plant. If used in a crop that already produces oil in its seeds or fruit, the hope is that oil output could be doubled, though that theory is yet to be put to the test. Changes to processing technologies are also influencing the direction that the biofuel industry is taking. Traditional approaches use plant sugars for fermentation to bioethanol, or oils that can be chemically transesterified for biodiesel production. A great deal of attention has gone into finding the perfect crops for these applications: plants dense in sugar-laden cellulose, minus lignins that make extraction more difficult; or crops that pump out high oil volumes. But the industry is also turning to methods that are less finicky about what plants are used. Hydrothermal liquefaction uses heat and pressure to rip apart the long-chain molecules in whole plants into bio-crude oil, essentially compressing eons of geological time into a matter of hours. This can then be refined as you would petroleum-based crude oil, producing a catalogue of different fuels as well as plastics and other products. “I think it has a huge future,” Burton says. Similarly, torrefaction, a process adapted from coffee roasting, can turn essentially any plant matter into easily transportable bio-coal pellets. While both of these processes are energy intensive, combining them with renewables – say, solar panels or wind turbines – or co-locating them with power stations to harvest excess heat, could make the operations more environmentally sustainable, Burton says. The advantage of a “crop agnostic” approach is that producers won’t be limited to crops designed to be biofuel-only crops but can instead choose species that deliver added benefits or income streams. Agave could be used to produce a high-value tipple, for instance, or hemp farmers could harvest seed for food or fibre for lightweight soundproofing like that used in BMW cars. Meanwhile, work by Kirsten Heimann, associate professor at the College of Science and Engineering at James Cook University, has shown that microalgae can simultaneously be used to produce biofuels and scrub mining tailings of contaminants. “It’s much more sophisticated thinking,” Burton says, and could change the calculus for biofuels. “Biofuels maybe don’t need to be as cheap as we think they do, because you can make money out of the other things.” The biofuel industry could well shape up to be a very diverse one, with no one crop or process surging ahead to claim the market, according to Green. “The amount of fuel we need to move away from petroleum is massive, so there’s plenty of space for all technologies,” he says.


This week’s news that Australian customs officers incinerated irreplaceable plant specimens has shocked botanists around the world, and left many concerned about possible impacts on international research exchanges. Some have put a freeze on sending samples to Australia until they are assured that their packages won’t meet a similar fate, and others are discussing broader ways of assuring safe passage of priceless specimens. "This story is likely to have a major chilling effect on the loan system between herbaria across national boundaries," says Austin Mast, president of the Society of Herbarium Curators and director of the herbarium at Florida State University in Tallahassee. "Without the free sharing of specimens, the pace of plant diversity research slows." As a result of the customs debacle, curators in New Zealand put a stay on shipping samples to Australia. So has the New York Botanical Garden in New York City, which holds the second largest collection of preserved plants in the world. "We, and many other herbaria, will not send specimens to Australia until we are sure this situation will not be repeated," says herbarium Director Barbara Thiers. Herbaria are guardians of plant biodiversity data. Around the world, about 3000 institutions keep a total of 350 million plants specimens that have been pressed, dried, and stored in cabinets. Some are hundreds of years old; others are rare examples of extinct species. Particularly valuable are so-called type specimens, used to describe species for the first time. Botanists consult these when they are identifying new species or revising taxonomy. Many herbaria have digitized images of their specimens, allowing initial research to be conducted remotely. But some details must be examined first-hand. To do that, biologists often request specimens through a kind of interlibrary loan. "The system works well when the risk of damage or destruction of loaned specimens is perceived to be very low," Mast says. But sometimes things go awry. Earlier this week, many botanists learned about the destruction of six type specimens of daisies—some collected during a French expedition to Australia from 1791 to 1793—which the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in Paris had mailed along with 99 other specimens to the Queensland Herbarium in Brisbane, Australia. After the package arrived in Brisbane in early January, the specimens were held up at customs because the paperwork was incomplete. Biosecurity officers asked the Queensland Herbarium for a list of the specimens and how they were preserved, but the herbarium sent its responses to the wrong email address, delaying the response by many weeks. In March, the officers requested clarification, but then incinerated the samples. "It's like taking a painting from the Louvre and burning it," says James Solomon, herbarium curator at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. According to Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, which enforces biosecurity rules, part of the problem was that the samples had a declared value of $2—and its agents routinely destroy low-value items that have been kept longer than 30 days. Michel Guiraud, director of collections at NMNH, says his museum's policy is to put minimal values on shipments. "If it is irreplaceable, there is no way to put an insurance value on it," he says. Guiraud says the package was sent with the usual documentation and he's trying to find out what went wrong. Concerned about the possibility of other scientific samples being destroyed, the museum is considering stopping loans from all of its collections to Australia. Australia’s agriculture department admitted in a statement that it erred in prematurely destroying the specimens, but didn't take sole responsibility for the snafu. "This is a deeply regrettable occurrence, but it does highlight the importance of the shared responsibility of Australia’s biosecurity system, and the need for adherence to import conditions." The department has reviewed its procedures for handling delayed items and is considering how package labels could highlight the “intrinsic value” of scientific specimens. On Monday, officials met with representatives from a consortium of Australasian herbaria to help them understand and comply with importation rules. "At this stage it appears we are resolving the matter very positively," says botanist Michelle Waycott of the University of Adelaide in Australia and the Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria. A second incident came to light after botanists at the Allan Herbarium in Lincoln, New Zealand, heard last month about the destruction of the French specimens. They inquired about six lichen samples, including a type specimen of Buellia macularis, that they had shipped to the Australian National Herbarium in Canberra last year. It turned out the specimens had been destroyed in October 2016 by biosecurity officers in Sydney, Australia. The department is investigating what happened in this case. New Zealand herbaria have suspended loans to Australia while they wait for written guarantees that their specimens will be safe. “We are disappointed we have lost an important part of our collection but we’re looking forward to further international collaboration,” said Ilse Breitwieser, director of the Allan Herbarium, in a statement this week. Curators elsewhere are reviewing how they ship samples internationally. "We will rethink our policy of lending specimens to countries that would pose a risk for loss of collections," says Christine Niezgoda, collections manager of flowering plants at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois, who, like others, was surprised to learn that specimens would be destroyed rather than returned. The Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, which is following the situation in Australia, hopes to increase communication among curators about shipping regulations and border inspection procedures. A long-standing frustration for many is that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), like its counterpart in Australia, does not have a separate category for low-risk scientific specimens. "The way that the U.S. and Australian governments are treating these shipments is basically going to bring taxonomic work to a halt," says Ellen Dean, curator of the Center for Plant Diversity at the University of California, Davis. "We are thinking of no longer loaning our specimens to other countries, because we are uncertain that APHIS will allow our own specimens back into this country." Whatever the destination, veterans emphasize that every detail matters, even the most obvious. "Nothing derails a shipment faster than a wrong address," says Thiers, who maintains a public database of herbaria addresses and contact information. "Sometimes they don't get returned for years, and unless you take extraordinary measures, you won't get them back." (With the volume of specimens that get mailed from the New York Botanic Garden—up to 30,000 a year—Thiers can't afford tracked shipments and uses cheaper library rate shipping.) Even the most diligent curators confess to late-night worries. "Any time you let something go out the door, there's a risk," says Solomon, who is continuing to send specimens to Australia. "The benefit from making the material available far outweighs the risk." Says Niezgoda: "Collections are meant to be used to promote scientific inquiry and this should not change."


News Article | May 12, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

A new global analysis of the distribution of forests and woodlands has “found” 467 million hectares of previously unreported forest – an area equivalent to 60 percent of the size of Australia. The discovery increases the known amount of global forest cover by around nine percent, and will significantly boost estimates of how much carbon is stored in plants worldwide. The new forests were found by surveying “drylands” – so called because they receive much less water in precipitation than they lose through evaporation and plant transpiration. As we and our colleagues report today in the journal Science, these drylands contain 45 percent more forest than has been found in previous surveys. We found new dryland forest on all inhabited continents, but mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, around the Mediterranean, central India, coastal Australia, western South America, northeastern Brazil, northern Colombia and Venezuela, and northern parts of the boreal forests in Canada and Russia. In Africa, our study has doubled the amount of known dryland forest. With current satellite imagery and mapping techniques, it might seem amazing that these forests have stayed hidden in plain sight for so long. But this type of forest was previously difficult to measure globally, because of the relatively low density of trees. What’s more, previous surveys were based on older, low-resolution satellite images that did not include ground validation. In contrast, our study used higher-resolution satellite imagery available through Google Earth Engine – including images of more than 210,000 dryland sites – and used a simple visual interpretation of tree number and density. A sample of these sites were compared with field information to assess accuracy. Given that drylands – which make up about 40 percent of Earth’s land surface – have more capacity to support trees and forest than we previously realized, we have a unique chance to combat climate change by conserving these previously unappreciated forests. Drylands contain some of the most threatened, yet disregarded, ecosystems, many of which face pressure from climate change and human activity. Climate change will cause many of these regions to become hotter and even drier, while human expansion could degrade these landscapes yet further. Climate models suggest that dryland biomes could expand by 11 to 23 percent by the end of the this century, meaning they could cover more than half of Earth’s land surface. Considering the potential of dryland forests to stave off desertification and to fight climate change by storing carbon, it will be crucial to keep monitoring the health of these forests, now that we know they are there. The discovery will dramatically improve the accuracy of models used to calculate how much carbon is stored in Earth’s landscapes. This in turn will help calculate the carbon budgets by which countries can measure their progress towards the targets set out in the Kyoto Protocol and its successor, the Paris Agreement. Our study increases the estimates of total global forest carbon stocks by anywhere between 15 gigatons and 158 gigatons of carbon – an increase of between two and 20 percent. This study provides more accurate baseline information on the current status of carbon sinks, on which future carbon and climate modelling can be based. This will reduce errors for modelling of dryland regions worldwide. Our discovery also highlights the importance of conservation and forest growth in these areas. Authors: Andrew Lowe, professor of Plant Conservation Biology, University of Adelaide and Ben Sparrow, associate professor and director - TERN AusPlots and Eco-informatics, University of Adelaide The authors acknowledge the input of Jean-François Bastin and Mark Grant in the writing of this article. The research was carried out by researchers from 14 organizations around the world, as part of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Global Forest Survey. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.


News Article | May 12, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

A new global analysis of the distribution of forests and woodlands has “found” 467 million hectares of previously unreported forest – an area equivalent to 60 percent of the size of Australia. The discovery increases the known amount of global forest cover by around nine percent, and will significantly boost estimates of how much carbon is stored in plants worldwide. The new forests were found by surveying “drylands” – so called because they receive much less water in precipitation than they lose through evaporation and plant transpiration. As we and our colleagues report today in the journal Science, these drylands contain 45 percent more forest than has been found in previous surveys. We found new dryland forest on all inhabited continents, but mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, around the Mediterranean, central India, coastal Australia, western South America, northeastern Brazil, northern Colombia and Venezuela, and northern parts of the boreal forests in Canada and Russia. In Africa, our study has doubled the amount of known dryland forest. With current satellite imagery and mapping techniques, it might seem amazing that these forests have stayed hidden in plain sight for so long. But this type of forest was previously difficult to measure globally, because of the relatively low density of trees. What’s more, previous surveys were based on older, low-resolution satellite images that did not include ground validation. In contrast, our study used higher-resolution satellite imagery available through Google Earth Engine – including images of more than 210,000 dryland sites – and used a simple visual interpretation of tree number and density. A sample of these sites were compared with field information to assess accuracy. Given that drylands – which make up about 40 percent of Earth’s land surface – have more capacity to support trees and forest than we previously realized, we have a unique chance to combat climate change by conserving these previously unappreciated forests. Drylands contain some of the most threatened, yet disregarded, ecosystems, many of which face pressure from climate change and human activity. Climate change will cause many of these regions to become hotter and even drier, while human expansion could degrade these landscapes yet further. Climate models suggest that dryland biomes could expand by 11 to 23 percent by the end of the this century, meaning they could cover more than half of Earth’s land surface. Considering the potential of dryland forests to stave off desertification and to fight climate change by storing carbon, it will be crucial to keep monitoring the health of these forests, now that we know they are there. The discovery will dramatically improve the accuracy of models used to calculate how much carbon is stored in Earth’s landscapes. This in turn will help calculate the carbon budgets by which countries can measure their progress towards the targets set out in the Kyoto Protocol and its successor, the Paris Agreement. Our study increases the estimates of total global forest carbon stocks by anywhere between 15 gigatons and 158 gigatons of carbon – an increase of between two and 20 percent. This study provides more accurate baseline information on the current status of carbon sinks, on which future carbon and climate modelling can be based. This will reduce errors for modelling of dryland regions worldwide. Our discovery also highlights the importance of conservation and forest growth in these areas. Authors: Andrew Lowe, professor of Plant Conservation Biology, University of Adelaide and Ben Sparrow, associate professor and director - TERN AusPlots and Eco-informatics, University of Adelaide The authors acknowledge the input of Jean-François Bastin and Mark Grant in the writing of this article. The research was carried out by researchers from 14 organizations around the world, as part of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Global Forest Survey. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.


News Article | May 12, 2017
Site: www.gizmag.com

Drylands cover 40 percent of the Earth's surface, and new research reveals that they are better at supporting forests than once thought (Credit: ihervas/Depositphotos ) Scientists have discovered a whopping 467 million hectares of previously unreported forest scattered around the world, a finding that they say could have a big impact on global carbon budgeting moving forward. The finding boosts estimates of global forest coverage by 10 percent, and changes our understanding of how well drylands, where these forests happen to be situated, can support trees. It's not that these forests were hidden away in deep valleys or remote mountain regions. An international team of scientists discovered the new forests be re-examining previously surveyed drylands around the world. The problem with these previous surveys, the scientists say, is that the low density of trees paired with the reliance on low-res satellite images and no ground validation provided inaccurate measurements. This time around, the scientists tapped the vastly improved satellite imagery from Google Earth, which covered more than 210,000 dryland sites, and ground data gathered by the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network to carry out a new global analysis of dryland forest cover. According to the results, drylands contain 45 percent more forest than the previous surveys had suggested. The new coverage is equivalent to 60 percent the size of Australia, with new forest uncovered on all inhabited continents and Africa doubling the size of its known dryland forests. "To 'find' an area of forest that represents 10 percent of the global forest cover is very very significant, with broad consequences for global carbon budgeting and dryland restoration and management," says Professor Andrew Lowe, Chair of Plant Conservation Biology at the University of Adelaide. "It shows that dryland regions have a greater capacity to support trees than previously perceived and understood. With its low opportunity costs, dryland could therefore provide a unique chance to mitigate climate change through large-scale conservation and afforestation actions. It also shows the potential for improved livelihoods of the people in these areas." Drylands currently make up around 40 percent of the world's land surface, and could expand by 11 to 23 percent by the end of this century, the researchers write in The Conversation citing current climate modeling. Finding that these regions can support more trees and in turn store more carbon, could therefore be very useful knowledge for conservationists mapping out strategies for the coming decades. The research was published in the journal Science.


Young R.L.,University of Adelaide
Frontiers in Neuroscience | Year: 2011

The detection of nutrients in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is of fundamental significance to the control of motility, glycemia and energy intake, and yet we barely know the most fundamental aspects of this process. This is in stark contrast to the mechanisms underlying the detection of lingual taste, which have been increasingly well characterized in recent years, and which provide an excellent starting point for characterizing nutrient detection in the intestine. This review focuses on the form and function of sweet taste transduction mechanisms identified in the intestinal tract; it does not focus on sensors for fatty acids or proteins. It examines the intestinal cell types equipped with sweet taste transduction molecules in animals and humans, their location, and potential signals that transduce the presence of nutrients to neural pathways involved in reflex control of GI motility. © 2011 Young.


Stuart M.J.,James Cook University | Baune B.T.,University of Adelaide
Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews | Year: 2012

Unipolar depression and diabetes mellitus each account for a significant proportion of the global burden of disease. Epidemiological literature suggests a bi-directional relationship between these two common disorders, and evidence from the molecular sciences supports a role for inflammation in the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of each disorder individually. Recent advances in understanding the neurobiology of depression have implicated dysfunction of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, neurotrophins, and inflammatory mediators in the development of this disorder. Similarly, dysregulated facets of both the innate and adaptive immune system have been implicated in the onset of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. This review draws upon an emerging body of epidemiological and mechanistic evidence to support the hypothesis that shared inflammatory mechanisms may represent a key biological link in this co-morbidity. Given the shared mechanisms of this co-morbidity, these patients may be excellent candidates for novel immune targeted pharmacotherapy. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Warin M.,University of Adelaide
Body and Society | Year: 2015

This article explores a theoretical legacy that underpins the ways in which many social scientists come to know and understand obesity. In attempting to distance itself from essentialist discourses, it is not surprising that this literature focuses on the discursive construction of fat bodies rather than the materiality or agency of bodily matter. Ironically, in developing arguments that only critique representations of obesity or fat bodies, social science scholars have maintained and reproduced a central dichotomy of Cartesian thinking – that between social construction and biology. In this article I examine the limitations of social constructionist arguments in obesity/critical fat studies and the implications for ignoring materiality. Through bringing together the theoretical insights of material feminism and obesity science’s attention to maternal nutrition and the fetal origins hypothesis, this article moves beyond the current philosophical impasse, and repositions biological and social constructionist approaches to obesity not as mutually exclusive, but as one of constant interplay and connectedness. © 2015, © The Author(s) 2015.


The potential influence of gastric emptying on the "incretin effect," mediated by glucose-dependent insu-linotropic polypeptide (GIP) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), is unknown. The objectives of this study were to determine the effects of intraduodenal (ID) glucose infusions at 2 (ID2) and 4 (ID4) kcal/min (equating to two rates of gastric emptying within the physiological range) on the size of the incretin effect, gastrointestinal glucose disposal (GIGD), plasma GIP, GLP-1, and gluca-gon secretion in health and type 2 diabetes. We studied 10 male BMI-matched controls and 11 male type 2 patients managed by diet or metformin only. In both groups, GIP, GLP-1, and the magnitude of incretin effect were greater with ID4 than ID2, as was GIGD; plasma glucagon was suppressed by ID2, but not ID4. There was no difference in the incretin effect between the two groups. Based on these data, we conclude that the rate of small intestinal glucose exposure (i.e., glucose load) is a major determinant of the comparative secretion of GIP and GLP-1, as well as the magnitude of the incretin effect and GIGD in health and type 2 diabetes. © 2014 by the American Diabetes Association.


Smith S.E.,University of Adelaide | Smith F.A.,University of Adelaide
Annual Review of Plant Biology | Year: 2011

Root systems of most land plants form arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbioses in the field, and these contribute to nutrient uptake. AM roots have two pathways for nutrient absorption, directly through the root epidermis and root hairs and via AM fungal hyphae into root cortical cells, where arbuscules or hyphal coils provide symbiotic interfaces. New physiological and molecular evidence shows that for phosphorus the mycorrhizal pathway (MP) is operational regardless of plant growth responses (positive or negative). Amounts delivered cannot be determined from plant nutrient contents because when responses are negative the contribution of the direct pathway (DP) is reduced. Nitrogen (N) is also delivered to roots via an MP, but the contribution to total N requirement and the costs to the plant are not clear. The functional interplay between activities of the DP and MP has important implications for consideration of AM symbioses in ecological, agronomic, and evolutionary contexts. Copyright © 2011 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.

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