University of New England of Australia
Armidale, Australia

The University of New England is a public university in Australia with approximately 21,000 higher education students. Its original and main campus is located in the city of Armidale in northern central New South Wales.The University of New England was the first Australian university established outside a state capital city.Each year, the University offers students more than $5 million in scholarships, prizes, and bursaries and more than $18 million for staff and students involved in research. Wikipedia.

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Frasnelli E.,Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research | Vallortigara G.,University of Trento | Rogers L.J.,University of New England of Australia
Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews | Year: 2012

Evidence of left-right asymmetries in invertebrates has begun to emerge, suggesting that lateralization of the nervous system may be a feature of simpler brains as well as more complex ones. A variety of studies have revealed sensory and motor asymmetries in behaviour, as well as asymmetries in the nervous system, in invertebrates. Asymmetries in behaviour are apparent in olfaction (antennal asymmetries) and in vision (preferential use of the left or right visual hemifield during activities such as foraging or escape from predators) in animals as different as bees, fruitflies, cockroaches, octopuses, locusts, ants, spiders, crabs, snails, water bugs and cuttlefish. Asymmetries of the nervous system include lateralized position of specific brain structures (e.g., in fruitflies and snails) and of specific neurons (e.g., in nematodes). As in vertebrates, lateralization can occur both at the individual and at the population-level in invertebrates. Theoretical models have been developed supporting the hypothesis that the alignment of the direction of behavioural and brain asymmetries at the population-level could have arisen as a result of social selective pressures, when individually asymmetrical organisms had to coordinate with each other. The evidence reviewed suggests that lateralization at the population-level may be more likely to occur in social species among invertebrates, as well as vertebrates. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Marshall G.R.,University of New England of Australia
Ecological Economics | Year: 2013

With the escalating uncertainties and surprises faced in responding to environmental and natural resource challenges has come growing recognition of the need to manage such issues as social-ecological systems and value the capacities that enable adaptation to these changes. Adaptations in environmental management often involve complex, including wicked, problems of collective action. Institutions introduced to reduce the transaction costs of solving these problems do not come for free.A cost effectiveness framework designed to provide a comprehensive and logical structure for economic evaluation of path dependent institutional choices in this context, and a procedure for boundedly rational empirical application of the framework, are proposed and illustrated in this article - including for the choice between water buy-back and infrastructure upgrade programmes for accumulating the 'environmental water' needed to sustain the ecosystems of Australia's Murray-Darling Basin. Also outlined is a research strategy designed to help identify the heuristics needed for application of this procedure. © 2013 Elsevier B.V..

Rogers L.J.,University of New England of Australia
Genesis | Year: 2014

Summary: Since the discovery of brain asymmetry in a wide range of vertebrate species, it has become possible to study development and expression of lateralized behavior accurately in well-controlled experiments. Several species have emerged as useful models for investigating aspects of lateralization. Discussed here are: (1) the influence of exposure to light during embryonic development on lateralization, (2) effects of steroid hormones on lateralization, (3) developmental changes in which hemisphere is controlling behavior, and (4) asymmetry in memory formation and recall. The findings have bearing on understanding the development of hemispheric specialization in humans and are likely to provide insight into dysfunctional behavior associated with weak or absent lateralization and impaired interhemispheric communication (e.g., autism, schizophrenia, and dyslexia). This review features research on chicks, pigeons, and zebrafish, with the addition of some recent evidence of lateralization in bees. Discoveries made using these species have highlighted the interaction between experience, hormones, and genetic factors during development, and have provided some of the first clear evidence of the advantage of having a lateralized brain. genesis 52:555-571, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Brock M.A.,University of New England of Australia
Freshwater Biology | Year: 2011

The ability of seeds to survive periods of drying and wetting that do not lead to seed production will determine the potential species pool for future plant communities of temporary wetlands. I investigated characteristics of the seed banks in sediment from Australian temporary wetlands that might contribute to the ability of aquatic plants to re-establish after extended drought. Experimental investigation into germination from sediment from six sites in five Australian temporary wetlands, with various water regimes, examined two sources of seed bank depletion: (i) length of time dry (longevity up to 12years) and (ii) successive annual wetting and germination events (up to seven) with intervening periods dry (leaving a residual seed bank), both without any opportunity for replenishment of the seed bank. These wetlands had species-rich, long-lived seed banks that were not exhausted by successive germination events. After three years of dry storage, 90% of the original seed bank species germinated, after six years 75% and after 12years 20%. After seven successive wetting and drying events without seed bank replenishment, 48% of the original species still germinated. The mean survival time dry for seed bank species, 7.4years, was longer than the duration of recent droughts. Seed bank composition varied among wetlands and over time; most species did not occur in all wetlands and many occurred in one wetland only. The germination patterns of different species, although differing in detail, tended to be consistent in that all species could survive long dry periods and several wetting and drying events. However, experimental drought significantly diminished species richness and abundance, indicating limits to seed bank persistence. Data from such long-term studies of seed bank persistence should allow prediction of the species richness and composition of the germinating communities in a wetland whose water regime is intentionally or unintentionally altered. This ability to forecast may become particularly important under climate change and the need to predict future wetland conditions. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Allozyme and microsatellite data from numerous populations of Drosophila buzzatii have been used (i) to determine to what degree N e varies among generations within populations, and among populations, and (ii) to evaluate the congruence of four temporal and five single-sample estimators of N e. Effective size of different populations varied over two orders of magnitude, most populations are not temporally stable in genetic composition, and N e showed large variation over generations in some populations. Short-term N e estimates from the temporal methods were highly correlated, but the smallest estimates were the most precise for all four methods, and the most consistent across methods. Except for one population, N e estimates were lower when assuming gene flow than when assuming populations that were closed. However, attempts to jointly estimate N e and immigration rate were of little value because the source of migrants was unknown. Correlations among the estimates from the single-sample methods generally were not significant although, as for the temporal methods, estimates were most consistent when they were small. These single-sample estimates of current N e are generally smaller than the short-term temporal estimates. Nevertheless, population genetic variation is not being depleted, presumably because of past or ongoing migration. A clearer picture of current and short-term effective population sizes will only follow with better knowledge of migration rates between populations. Different methods are not necessarily estimating the same N e, they are subject to different bias, and the biology, demography and history of the population(s) may affect different estimators differently. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Valadkhani A.,University of New England of Australia
Energy Economics | Year: 2013

This paper examines if the long-run relationship between retail and wholesale petrol prices is subject to adjustment asymmetric behaviour using weekly Australian data (2007-2012) across 111 locations. A short-run dynamic model is specified in which three feedback coefficients capture three different types of disequilibria: large and positive; large and negative; small positive/negative. Significant evidence of asymmetric behaviour is found in 28 locations, which are mainly in Tasmania, Queensland and New South Wales. In these locations when prices are conspicuously above the equilibrium path, retailers sluggishly lower their prices but when prices are substantially below the equilibrium values, the adjustment speed is significantly faster. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Keddie D.J.,University of New England of Australia
Chemical Society Reviews | Year: 2014

The discovery of reversible-deactivation radical polymerization (RDRP) has provided an avenue for the synthesis of a vast array of polymers with a rich variety of functionality and architecture. The preparation of block copolymers has received significant focus in this burgeoning research field, due to their diverse properties and potential in a wide range of research environments. This tutorial review will address the important concepts behind the design and synthesis of block copolymers using reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization. RAFT polymerization is arguably the most versatile of the RDRP methods due to its compatibility with a wide range of functional monomers and reaction media along with its relative ease of use. With an ever increasing array of researchers that possess a variety of backgrounds now turning to RDRP, and RAFT in particular, to prepare their required polymeric materials, it is pertinent to discuss the important points which enable the preparation of high purity functional block copolymers with targeted molar mass and narrow molar mass distribution using RAFT polymerization. The key principles of appropriate RAFT agent selection, the order of monomer addition in block synthesis and potential issues with maintaining high end-group fidelity are addressed. Additionally, techniques which allow block copolymers to be accessed using a combination of RAFT polymerization and complementary techniques are touched upon. © The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Metcalfe I.,University of New England of Australia | Metcalfe I.,Macquarie University
Gondwana Research | Year: 2011

Sundaland comprises a heterogeneous collage of continental blocks derived from the India-Australian margin of eastern Gondwana and assembled by the closure of multiple Tethyan and back-arc ocean basins now represented by suture zones. The continental core of Sundaland comprises a western Sibumasu block and an eastern Indochina-East Malaya block with an island arc terrane, the Sukhothai Island Arc System, comprising the Linchang, Sukhothai and Chanthaburi blocks sandwiched between. This island arc formed on the margin of Indochina-East Malaya, and then separated by back-arc spreading in the Permian. The Jinghong, Nan-Uttaradit and Sra Kaeo Sutures represent this closed back-arc basin. The Palaeo-Tethys is represented to the west by the Changning-Menglian, Chiang Mai/Inthanon and Bentong-Raub Suture Zones. The West Sumatra block, and possibly the West Burma block, rifted and separated from Gondwana, along with Indochina and East Malaya in the Devonian and were accreted to the Sundaland core in the Triassic. West Burma is now considered to be probably Cathaysian in nature and similar to West Sumatra, from which it was separated by opening of the Andaman Sea basin. South West Borneo and/or East Java-West Sulawesi are now tentatively identified as the missing "Argoland" which must have separated from NW Australia in the Jurassic and these were accreted to SE Sundaland in the Cretaceous. Revised palaeogeographic reconstructions illustrating the tectonic and palaeogeographic evolution of Sundaland and adjacent regions are presented. © 2010 International Association for Gondwana Research.

The theory of genomic selection is based on the prediction of the effects of genetic markers in linkage disequilibrium with quantitative trait loci. However, genomic selection also relies on relationships between individuals to accurately predict genetic value. This study aimed to examine the importance of information on relatives versus that of unrelated or more distantly related individuals on the estimation of genomic breeding values. Simulated and real data were used to examine the effects of various degrees of relationship on the accuracy of genomic selection. Genomic Best Linear Unbiased Prediction (gBLUP) was compared to two pedigree based BLUP methods, one with a shallow one generation pedigree and the other with a deep ten generation pedigree. The accuracy of estimated breeding values for different groups of selection candidates that had varying degrees of relationships to a reference data set of 1750 animals was investigated. The gBLUP method predicted breeding values more accurately than BLUP. The most accurate breeding values were estimated using gBLUP for closely related animals. Similarly, the pedigree based BLUP methods were also accurate for closely related animals, however when the pedigree based BLUP methods were used to predict unrelated animals, the accuracy was close to zero. In contrast, gBLUP breeding values, for animals that had no pedigree relationship with animals in the reference data set, allowed substantial accuracy. An animal's relationship to the reference data set is an important factor for the accuracy of genomic predictions. Animals that share a close relationship to the reference data set had the highest accuracy from genomic predictions. However a baseline accuracy that is driven by the reference data set size and the overall population effective population size enables gBLUP to estimate a breeding value for unrelated animals within a population (breed), using information previously ignored by pedigree based BLUP methods.

Brown P.,University of New England of Australia
Journal of Human Evolution | Year: 2012

Excavations in the late Pleistocene deposits at Liang Bua cave, Flores, have uncovered the skeletal remains of several small-bodied and small-brained hominins in association with stone artefacts and the bones of Stegodon. Due to their combination of plesiomorphic, unique and derived traits, they were ascribed to a new species, Homo floresiensis, which, along with Stegodon, appears to have become extinct ~17ka (thousand years ago). However, recently it has been argued that several characteristics of H.floresiensis were consistent with dwarfism and evidence of delayed development in modern human (Homo sapiens) myxoedematous endemic (ME) cretins. This research compares the skeletal and dental morphology in H.floresiensis with the clinical and osteological indicators of cretinism, and the traits that have been argued to be associated with ME cretinism in LB1 and LB6. Contrary to published claims, morphological and statistical comparisons did not identify the distinctive skeletal and dental indicators of cretinism in LB1 or LB6 H.floresiensis. Brain mass, skeletal proportions, epiphyseal union, orofacial morphology, dental development, size of the pituitary fossa and development of the paranasal sinuses, vault bone thickness and dimensions of the hands and feetall distinguish H.floresiensis from modern humans with ME cretinism. The research team responsible for the diagnosis of ME cretinism had not examined the original H.floresiensis skeletal materials, and perhaps, as a result, their research confused taphonomic damage with evidence of disease, and thus contained critical errors of fact and interpretation. Behavioural scenarios attempting to explain the presence of cretinous H.sapiens in the Liang Bua Pleistocene deposits, but not unaffected H.sapiens, are both unnecessary and not supported by the available archaeological and geochronological evidence from Flores. © 2011.

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