Moon Jellyfish: It is rare for these to live more than six months in the wild but they are really interesting.
All species in the genus are closely related and is hard to pick them apart except by genetic sampling.
They grow to about 25–40cm in diameter and can be recognized by its four horseshoe-shaped gonads, easily seen through the top.
It is not really a strong swimmer and it mainly drifts with the current feeding on plankton, fish eggs, small organisms and molluscs. It captures food with its tentacles and scoops it into its body for digestion.
Moon Jellyfish are found throughout most of the world’s oceans, from the tropics to as far north as latitude 70°N (runs through the middle of the US and Spain) and as far south as 40°S (runs through Tasmania).
It has also been found in waters as cool as 6C to as warm as 31C.
They do not have any respiratory parts such as gills, lungs, or trachea so it respires by diffusing oxygen from water through the thin membrane covering its body.
The photo above was sent in by a friend of a friend who came across the dead fish at Goolwa in South Australia this week and was unsure what it was.
I sent it to Alastair Graham who is the Fish Collection Manager at the Australian National Fish Collection in Hobart. As expected Alastair was a font of fishy knowledge.
“The photo does not show all the diagnostic characters, however I would say that it is most probably a Shaw’s Cowfish (Aracana aurita). They are normally found on coastal rocky reefs and seagrass areas at 10-160 metres. Not being strong swimmers, they are often found washed-up after storms.”
I had to laugh when Alastair said it was was not a good swimmer – seems pretty important to a fish…
Anyway, they are found around southern coastal waters of Australia from central New South Wales to south west Western Australia.
By Barton Loechel, Social Scientist, Science into Society Group.
Recent research suggests only a minority of mining companies are preparing for the biophysical impacts of climate change. Those that are preparing are going it alone: there is little collaboration on planning between miners and local government.
The preparedness of Australia’s resource communities for climate change will depend on adaptation planning across multiple sectors. For example, a range of climate change effects – drought, and conflict over water use, heatwaves and intense rainfall – will adversely affect mining operations as well as other industry sectors, communities and the surrounding environment.
Climate change in Australia is projected to lead to more frequent and severe droughts, floods and heat waves; increased cyclone intensity; and sea-level rise and ocean acidification, albeit with significant regional variations over different time frames.
Droughts cause competition between water users in rural areas – notably miners, farmers and rural townships. Intense rainfall events, such as those experienced in the Bowen Basin coal mining region of Queensland, led to extensive flooding of mine pits, damage to transportation routes, on-going disruption to production and export of coal, reduced state royalties, and community outrage over the effects on downstream water quality caused when pit water was released into streams.
Heat waves can reduce the liveability of mining communities and pose occupational health and safety risks for mine operational staff. Sea-level rise and ocean chemistry changes have implications for the integrity of port infrastructure and offshore platforms, while greater storm surge heights may affect mining-related infrastructure in low-lying coastal areas.
These various biophysical climate change impacts will not be simple, one-way relationships. They may include cascading effects between sectors and issues at multiple levels, such as the increased energy needs for emptying flooded pits or cleaning contaminated water.
CSIRO has been working with two groups that are central to these issues, mining companies and local government authorities with a focus on what they are doing to prepare for climate change.
The relationship between mining companies and local governments is increasingly important for climate change planning. Climate change is likely to affect not just mine operations and the landscapes in which they are located, but also the well-being of mining communities. But collaboration between mining companies and local government appears to be missing; it could well be central if mutually beneficial adaptation strategies are to be developed in the future, and actions designed to reduce climatic impacts do not have adverse impacts elsewhere.
We have conducted national surveys (just published), interviews with regional stakeholders, and workshops in three of Australia’s major mining regions over the last three years. Ongoing work includes case-studies of particular mining operations, regions and value chains to identify approaches to climate adaptation assessment most suitable for the resources sector.
Overall, this work shows that while there are many potential impacts from climate change for mining operations and their associated communities, there appears to be relatively little activity assessing and reducing these risks. We found only 13% of mining companies have undertaken a climate vulnerability study or have any adaptation policies, plans or practices in place. The main reasons companies hadn’t done this work were uncertainty around climate change impacts and political and regulatory settings. Only 39% of mining companies were convinced that the climate is changing (compared to 65% of local government respondents).
Local government concerns about and preparation for climate change were much higher although, even then, adaptation planning is occurring in less than half the councils surveyed. Councils said the main reasons they hadn’t undertaken adaptation planning were financial cost and lack of funding, lack of skilled personnel and inadequate information available for them to respond. They were less concerned than mining companies about uncertainty of impacts and political settings.
The level of collaborative planning between the two groups was poor. None of the local government respondents who reported adaptation planning said they had involved a mining company in this planning. Only two of the mining companies that undertook adaptation planning reported partnering with local government. A follow-up survey is currently underway to collect a larger sample of companies and local government authorities for this work.
It may sound like a sci-fi robot, but the Phytotron is actually a controlled facility that simulates and recreates more than 100 different environments for growing all kinds of plants.
Our trusty old Phytotron has housed over 3 million plants in the past 50 years. So this year we thought it was about time our buddy had a much needed makeover – and today we’re celebrating with a grand reopening.
We have also gathered some fabulous archival material, including a recording of Prime Minister Robert Menzies opening the building, and ABC footage from 1967 which was broadcast to the world as part of the first live production of TV show Our World.
The new refurbishment will enable the Phytotron to keep producing great science and act as a melting pot for the world’s leading plant scientists to tackle pressing global issues.
But what exactly goes on inside the Phytotron? Take a look at this cool time-lapse footage we took of a cotton ball popping open:
You can head to our website for more information.
These days, it’s easy to imagine a world without coal, oil or gas. With the growing popularity of alternative energy sources like solar power and biofuel, we’re well on the way to living cleaner and greener lives. But what happens in the mean time? Can our environment – particularly the ocean – handle the effects of carbon emissions?
Our oceans have been absorbing large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) ever since the industrial revolution. When CO2 enters the ocean, it combines with seawater to produce carbon acid, increasing the water’s acidity.
Australia has many unique ecosystems that may be sensitive to this acidification, from the coral reefs to the Polar Regions. It’s important to understand how this is affecting our oceans and the flow-on effects this could have for other areas like agriculture.
That’s why our scientists and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) have built a new mooring system to monitor carbon cycling in the Tasman Sea. Based at Maria Island in Tasmania, this is one of three international observing networks in Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS), with others located on Kangaroo Island and the central Great Barrier Reef.
“The ocean takes up about 25% of human generated carbon dioxide emissions each year. While this is a great benefit for us, it comes at the cost of increased acidification of our waters”, says Wealth from Oceans Flagship leader Dr Bronte Tilbrook.
This could lead to a range of negative consequences, from a decline in the growth of important species like shellfish, to a weakness in our coral reefs.
Our technicians have been collecting basic measurement samples at Maria Island each month since 1944. Now, thanks to this new system, they can use more advanced measures to determine how these changes in acidity will impact Australia’s marine ecosystems.
The mooring contains an impressive suite of environmental sensors. These can measure CO2 levels, temperature, salinity, oxygen, chlorophyll and turbidity. The system then sends this information back to our Hobart Marine Laboratories via satellite.
You can view the data from each mooring here on our website.
Media: Craig Macaulay. P: +61 3 6232 5219. M: 0419 966 465. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Biodiversity genomics was centre stage at the launch of the Centre for Biodiversity Analysis in Canberra a few weeks ago. The Centre – a joint initiative between the Australian National University and CSIRO – hopes to address the challenge of protecting Australia’s biodiversity in the face of rapid environmental change.
The launch also marked the opening of the Centre’s inaugural conference, which focussed on the exciting and rapidly expanding field of genomics.
In recent years there have been concerning predictions about the future of Australia’s biodiversity. Many of our healthy communities of plants and animals are declining due to climate change, habitat loss and competition from invasive organisms. Some species currently listed as threatened are expected to become extinct, and our natural environment to be increasingly overtaken by weeds, losing its uniqueness.
Biodiversity predictions are uncertain because scientists often lack the data to reliably predict biodiversity outcomes. Models have yet to include many aspects of organisms, particularly their ability to adapt to environmental changes through evolution and/or changing their physiology.
A combination of evolution data and adaptation strategies will help guide conservation efforts, allowing species to survive in stressful environments.
To reduce uncertainty in biodiversity predictions, ecologists emphasize the need to monitor plants and animals, run large experimental programs, and devise new models. These are important, but take time, and environmental managers need to prepare for the future now. They need to know which species are most threatened, or might need to be moved to persist, and where landscapes could be altered to conserve biodiversity and individual species.
In the climate change arena, we now know that many species need to be able to adapt to survive. Adapting requires organisms to deal with stressful situations as they are often unable to move to favourable areas. A challenge is being able to predict if this is possible, particularly within a short time frame rather than through thousands of years of evolution.
The way organisms might do this is through physiological or behavioural changes (plasticity) or through rapid genetic evolution. Predicting the likelihood of these processes occurring is difficult when using traditional approaches. It typically requires many years of experimentation, breeding programs and tests with populations moved to new areas. For many species these options are not possible because of long generation times, difficulties in growing organisms away from their home ground, and the long-term funding and commitment required to complete such work.
The CSIRO, the University of Melbourne and Monash University are fast-tracking conservation efforts by focusing on the genetic and genomic levels of plants and animals. In the conservation area, genetic tools have already been applied successfully in a number of areas. They have helped to show how populations of species are interconnected in the landscape, assisting in management. Genetic markers have shown how species like sea turtles might breed on oceanic islands hundreds of kilometres away from the seas where they are usually found, highlighting the importance of protecting breeding sites in conservation efforts. Genetic tools have also been essential in deciding what precisely constitutes a species for conservation.
A new and potentially very powerful set of tools is now on the horizon, as genomics starts to be applied to natural resource management. Genomic analyses have traditionally been regarded as too expensive and massive to apply to all but a few species. Sequencing costs have declined significantly and new projects – including this project which uses Drosophila (a genus of small fly) – will lead to sequences of many thousands of species from across all the major classes of higher organisms. Our colleagues are also using genomics technology in Western Australia’s Kimberley region to fast-track the discovery of new species.
A sequence of DNA by itself does not tell you much. It needs to be checked for errors, analysed to look at location or sequences of genes and regulatory regions, and compared carefully against already existing genomes to predict sequence differences underlying functional changes. Once this process has been completed, genomes provide a unique picture of what happened in the past, and what might happen in the future. This information is particularly relevant to understanding the ability of species to adapt to climate change.
Genes are not static entities. They can duplicate, so new functions evolve. Or they can decay as mutations accumulate, and then eventually be lost, resulting in the loss of old functions. These historical signatures can be identified by comparing the genomes of related species (or populations or individuals) from different environments.
To counter hot conditions, organisms typically turn on coordinated sets of genes like heat shock protein genes. The machinery that underlies or regulates this process can become lost through mutation. Species might then fail to acclimatise or do so under the wrong conditions.
As long as enough is known about this machinery, it’s possible to use the genome to identify a signature of climate change responses in the past. More importantly, the genome can also be used to look at the potential for adaptation in the future. Species which have functional copies of relevant genes and regulatory elements should reflect the ability to mount adaptation responses, and to evolve rapidly in response to a changing climate and other stresses.
This research is supported by the Science and Industry Endowment Fund.
Media: Josie Banens Ph: +61 2 6246 4422 Mb: +61 (0)402 913 131 Email: email@example.com
As it is Good Friday I thought I would look into the association of fish with Christianity and religion in general. However, that turned out to be way too hard and full of potholes I just could not be bothered navigating around – and I’m trying to pack the swag for camping.
So, rather that concentrate on one fish I have “researched” Wikipedia for a description of all fish.
Here you go:
A fish is any member of a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic craniate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups. Most fish are ectothermic (“cold-blooded”), allowing their body temperatures to vary as ambient temperatures change, though some of the large active swimmers like white shark and tuna can hold a higher core temperature.
Fish are abundant in most bodies of water. They can be found in nearly all aquatic environments, from high mountain streams (e.g., char and gudgeon) to the abyssal and even hadal depths of the deepest oceans (e.g., gulpers and anglerfish). At 32,000 species, fish exhibit greater species diversity than any other group of vertebrates.
The earliest organisms that can be classified as fish were soft-bodied chordates that first appeared during the Cambrian period. Although they lacked a true spine, they possessed notochords which allowed them to be more agile than their invertebrate counterparts. Fish would continue to evolve through the Paleozoic era, diversifying into a wide variety of forms. Many fish of the Paleozoic developed external armor that protected them from predators. The first fish with jaws appeared in the Silurian period, after which many (such as sharks) became formidable marine predators rather than just the prey of arthropods.
By Sarah Wilson
Today is World Water Day. In the spirit of this day I would like to pay homage to all things freshwater. In particular I would like to draw your attention to a peculiar fish found in the depths of the largest freshwater lake in the world : behold the Golomyanka.
OK, I admit it is a rather unassuming looking fish, but looks can be deceiving. Golomyankas, also known as Baikal oilfish, are only found in one place in the world – Lake Baikal . This UNESCO World Heritage Listed Lake is located in nippy Siberia. It is 25 million years old, contains one fifth of the world’s unfrozen freshwater, and is home to a staggering number of plant and animal species found nowhere else in the world. Earning it the nickname of ‘the Galapagos of Russia’.
As for the fish, it’s pretty amazing too:
Amazing fact No. 1: They are the world’s most abyssal fish. This means they live in the entire range of depths found in Lake Baikal. That’s a span of up to 1700m below the surface of the water. The pressure of going to these depths would easily crush a human.
No. 2: They rapidly melt in sunlight leaving only oil, fat and bones. (Imagine that!)
No. 3: It is one of only a few viviparous fish in the world. Viviparous means that it doesn’t lay eggs, but gives birth to live young . It gives birth to up to 3000 larvae at a time.
No. 4: They are a primary food source for the Lake Baikal’s nerpa seal. One of the few exclusively freshwater seal species found in the world.
No 5: They have a high fat content (over a third of their body weight is made up of fat). Native Siberians have been known to use them as fuel for their lamps.
Bareskin Dogfish: I have an affinity with this dogfish. Little is known about how it works or the environment it inhabits. It is actually a shark and has so far only been found near Japan, along the Australian coast from about Brisbane to Hobart and in a relatively small area from Perth to the north.
Apparently they are dark in color with white-tipped fins, which suggest the pictured specimen above is either an albino or just a very crook sample.
According to what I could find out about them they have no anal fin (who would want one) and has grooved dorsal spines with the second larger than the first. It has a blunt nose, large eyes and large nostrils. It grows to a a maximum of about 45cm.
They are found in a depth range of 500m to 1200m.
It has litters of three to 22 pups.
And that is about where the information on this thing ends: No information on the reproductive cycle, no information on annual fecundity, gestation period, age at maturity or longevity.
By Beth Fulton- Head of Ecosystem Modelling, Marine and Atmospheric Research
Australians want a future of sustainable self-sufficiency and a healthy environment supporting a robust democracy – free of poverty and inequity. That was one of our projections, as part of the Australia 2050 project for the Australian Academy of Science.
Equally, Australians fear a future in which the stability of day-to-day life has been eroded by a degraded environment, depleted resources, lawlessness or warfare, limited access to health-care and education, extreme (or even increased) economic or political inequity and the fragmentation of social cohesion.
The question “What will Australia in 2050 look like?” will not be answered for sure for another four decades. But that future depends on decisions made today, and that means it is important to get some early insights into what the alternatives really are.
Of course, the future is uncertain and the projections discussed here may change as the different components are finally linked together. But some of them run contrary to current expectation and desires. They require careful thought in any personal, community, regional or national planning exercises.
Population, society and the economy
The human aspects of Australia’s future have received a good deal of attention over the last few years. Australia’s population will increase by 50-100% by 2050. The proportion of the population living in the north and west is projected to increase at the expense of smaller southern states.
Median age will increase from the 36.8 years of 2007 to between 41.9 and 45.2 years. The proportion of the population over 65 is projected to increase by 60%, or more in the southern states.
Economic growth is forecast to continue over 2011-2050 at around 2.5% per year (a little slower than over past decades), and to shift towards services and away from primary and secondary industries (like agriculture and manufacturing).
This is despite an expected 13% increase in trade as Australia’s trade partnerships restructure – with the proportion of Australia’s total exports going to China, India and Indonesia projected to rise from 14% to 40% by 2100.
Even this rate of productivity is dependent on increasing labour force participation, facilitated by education and health programs and increased participation by people aged over 65. Despite this rising participation it is projected that the tax base will nearly halve, meaning the fiscal burden of the ageing population would lead to an accumulating and growing fiscal gap (where spending exceeds revenue) of up to 2.75% of GDP annually, with deficits reaching 20% of GDP by 2050.
Resources and industries
Australia’s resource sector has been one of the defining shapers of economic growth through the late 20th and early 21st century. Major fossil fuels (black coal, natural gas) and minerals (iron ore, bauxite, copper) are forecast to be exhausted in 60-80 years at current rates of extraction, much sooner for other resources (gold, lead, zinc, crude oil). The physical trade balance (including mining, manufacturing and agricultural sectors) is forecast to show continued growth in exports to the mid 21st century, but then to collapse rapidly to around neutral.
While Australia will be food secure, agricultural trade is projected to drop by 10-80% due to a drop in output. In the absence of any climate change adaptation in agricultural practices or mitigation, by 2050 Australian wheat, sugar, beef and sheep production is projected to drop by roughly 14-20%; with production in Queensland and the Northern Territory hardest hit.
Energy consumption will increase. Electricity generation and transport sectors remain the dominant uses. Fossil fuels are likely to continue supplying the bulk of this, despite 3.4-3.5% growth per year in renewables.
The trajectory of emissions is heavily dependent on the specific adaptation behaviour, mitigation policies and technology scenarios.
Climate, the environment and ecosystems
Air temperature will probably rise by less than 4°C by 2050, with the greatest warming in the northwest and away from the coasts. This has adverse consequences for heat stress on agriculture and urban systems, water availability in Southern Australia, the incidence of drought and fire.
Water yield from the Murray-Darling potentially drops by 55%, but the greatest increase in drought months (of 80%) is in the southwest. Substantial increases in the number of extremely hot days (>35°C) Australia wide are associated with increases in extreme fire days and area burnt. Northern settlements are particularly strongly impacted.
The impact of these changes on native terrestrial ecosystems becomes progressively worse as temperature rises. If temperatures increases are small (<1°C by 2050) only mountain and tropical ecosystems should be impacted; habitat for vertebrates in the northern tropics is projected to decrease by 50%.
If temperatures rise by 3°C or more the projected loss of core habitats is much more extensive: 30-70% or more of many habitat types, with the majority of rainforest birds becoming threatened and many species of flora and fauna projected to go extinct. Iconic freshwater wetlands, like Kakadu, are also projected to shrink by 80%. These changes are also associated with extensive compositional change and increased penetration of invading species.
The ocean is projected to change as much as the land, though with much more consistency across emissions scenarios. Most ocean warming is in the tropics and down the east coast. Sea-level will rise, potentially doubling the areal extent of flooding due to storm tides; ocean stratification is likely to strengthen, affecting mixing, nutrient supplies and productivity; hypoxic “dead zones” are likely to spread; and the rising levels of CO2 dissolved in the ocean will continue to cause acidity to increase.
While a range of species will adapt, future ecosystems may have very different composition to today. Differential capacity to adapt will lead to species mixes never before recorded.
Economically and ecologically sustainable marine industries are still possible despite the projected environmental changes. However, this is only possible if regulations, markets and social attitudes allow the industry to shift with the new ecosystem structures.
Beth Fulton was lead author for a group exploring modelling perspectives as part of the Australian Academy of Science project “Australia 2050: Towards an environmentally and economically sustainable and socially equitable ways of living”.
The Australia 2050 project for the Australian Academy of Science has just published Phase 1 Negotiating our future: Living scenarios for Australia to 2050 which emerged from 35 scientists working together to explore social perspectives, resilience, scenarios and modelling as pathways towards environmentally and economically sustainable and socially equitable ways of living. Phase 2 of this project on creating living scenarios for Australia is underway.
Beth Fulton receives funding from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.
Sturgeon Whiptail: I was kicking back watching one of those fishing shows on TV the other day and they were somewhere in Canada catching sturgeon – and they were huge.
Think sturgeon. Think caviar.
So, does Australia have any of these? Nup. We have this thing above, but I have got to say they are a huge disappointment. Yeah I know – all creatures great and small – but this Whiptail just doesn’t cut it. They are actually part of the grenadier family and seem to be cashing in on the sturgeon name.
They grown to a maximum length of about 20cm and are found in depths of between 400m and 1300m off the northern Australian coast.
That’s about it – they are small and ugly.
The REAL sturgeons are bottom-feeders and are usually found in river deltas and estuaries. Some are entirely freshwater and a few venture into the open sea beyond near coastal areas. Several species of sturgeons are harvested for their roe, which is made into caviar.
Sturgeons appeared in the fossil record about 200 million years ago, around the very end of the Triassic, making them among the most ancient of actinopterygian fishes. True sturgeons appear in the fossil record during the Upper Cretaceous.
They are slow growing and can live to 100+ years and can grow to over 5m in length. They are partially covered with bony plates called scutes rather than scales. They also have four barbels – the feelers in front of their mouths – which don’t have any teeth. These are used to drag along the bottom to help them find food and navigate.
Now, THIS is a sturgeon!
by Lee Belbin- Research Scientist, Ecosystem Sciences
I like good wine and after many years enjoying Australia’s wonderful Shiraz, I’ve transitioned through Cabernets to Pinot Noir. But finding a good Pinot Noir is a lot harder than finding a good Shiraz.
The Atlas of Living Australia might not be the most obvious place to look, but if you want to discover wineries that are likely to produce a good wine or want to grow your own grapes, the Atlas is a great place to begin your search. That’s because the Atlas can be used to find locations of environmental conditions suitable for specific species, helping in this case to identify areas likely to produce good wine.
Over the centuries, Australians have observed and collected plants and animals and recorded information about what occurs where. The Atlas of Living Australia brings this information together online in one place. It has two basic types of information about Australia’s living things: species and environments, including over 35 million occurrence records about the location of species and nearly 400 environmental layers. Each environmental layer is a map that links location and environment.
If we know the location of a species, we can identify its environment. The opposite is also possible: if we know the environment, we can find the locations where this environment occurs. This the key to finding, for example, good wine: if we know where good Pinot Noir is produced, we can find out what environment it prefers and the locations of this environment.
In the case of wine, we would expect to discover that temperature, rainfall, soil conditions, slope and aspect are important environmental conditions for growing grapes. It’s then an easy step to use the Spatial Portal of the Atlas of Living Australia to identify all areas in Australia where the environmental conditions suitable for growing Pinot Noir occur.
Like to try it? Follow the tutorial and you may get some surprises.
By Matthew Paget
Striking images of smoke plumes and scarring from the bushfires that swept south eastern Australia in January 2013 have been put together from selected NASA satellite imagery by CSIRO and partners from the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN).
To help study and manage the impact of the fires, the latest cloud-free images of the evolution of the recent bushfires have been assembled from NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System satellite imagery.
When combined with ground data and knowledge held by CSIRO and its research partners, such images taken over time, can be used to help study the extent of burn scarring, as well as vegetation recovery after the fires have passed. This is one example of the sort of information that the research team can provide to help improve the understanding and management of the landscape including for: vegetation and fire issues, agricultural productivity, water and flood management, carbon accounting, fertiliser and resource use studies.
Fires burning in Tasmania – 5 January 2013
Two images from the same satellite pass on 5 January 2013. (a) Visible (true colour) image shows numerous smoke plumes from six major fires across Tasmania. (b) The enhanced (bands 7-2-1) image highlights the extent of burn scarring. Extensive scarring (brown patches on the landscape) can be seen for both the Dunalley and Southwest National Park bushfires. At the time of this satellite pass, the Dunalley fire had passed through Dunalley from the north and continued to burn both to the north near Forcett and to the south on to the Tasman Peninsular.
Source: NASA near real time (orbit swath) images. MODIS/Aqua, 5 Jan 2013 0425 UTC (approx. 1525 local).
Southeast NSW – 9 January 2013
This image (bands 7-2-1) shows the extent of burn scarring on 9 January 2013. Large burn scarring areas (brown patches on the landscape) are visible for the Yass and Numeralla/Kybeyan fires. Smaller scars are visible for Dean’s Gap near Jervis Bay and a small fire to the east of Lake George. Together with ground-truthing, images like these can be used to assess the extent and, to some degree, the severity of individual bushfires.
Source: NASA near real time (MODIS subsets) images. Georectified composites of multiple satellite passes for MODIS/Terra (7 Jan 2013) and MODIS/Aqua (9 Jan 2013).
Coonabarabran morning and afternoon smoke plumes – 14 January 2013
Two images (true colour) showing the growth of the Coonabarabran fire as evidenced by a larger smoke plume between the (a) morning and the (b) afternoon of 14 January 2013.
Source: NASA near real time (MODIS subsets) images. Georectified composites of multiple satellite passes for MODIS/Terra (morning) and MODIS/Aqua (afternoon).
Large smoke plume from Gippsland fire – 18 January 2013
Bands 7-2-1 image of eastern Victoria on 18 January 2013. In this case the smoke plume (blue) from the Gippsland fire contrasts with the cloud and the plume extends well into the Tasman Sea. The image shows the extent of the fire and burnt area from near Heyfield extending to the northwest into the Baw Baw National Park.
Source: NASA near real time (MODIS subsets) images. Georectified composites of multiple satellite passes for MODIS/Terra.
Victorian and NSW burn scars – 21 January 2013
Bands 7-2-1 image over eastern Victoria and NSW on a relatively cloud-free day in which the burn scars from the major fires of the previoust two weeks can be seen.
Source: NASA near real time (MODIS subsets) images. Georectified composites of multiple satellite passes for MODIS/Terra.
Information about the images
Images were accessed from NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS), MODIS Subsets and MODIS Near Real Time (Orbit Swath) Images browse services. Images were created from MODIS bands 1-4-3 (true colour) and bands 7-2-1 (burn scarring). Bands 7-2-1 discriminate burnt area features as red-brown patches on the landscape and have enhanced water contrast (blue) and vegetation (green) compared to true colour images. The images shown here have been cropped to reduce file size and highlight smoke plumes and burn scars of interest. Annotations give an approximate guide to nearby towns and the scale of the images.
Burn scarring and vegetation loss
CSIRO and TERN/AusCover coordinate routine (but not near real time) processing of satellite data to provide a range of products that can help agencies assess burn scarring and vegetation loss after bushfires. Such products include monthly burn date and area, fortnightly vegetation fractional cover and vegetation indices, and grassland curing indices. These products will be available from early March 2013 to assist with analysis of the recent fires in south eastern Australia.
Near real time satellite data can be browsed and downloaded from NASA websites. In Australia these data and services are provided and used operationally by the Bureau of Meteorology, Geoscience Australia, the state fire agencies and their state government departments to provide near real-time assessments of burn scarring and vegetation loss due to bushfires. The Sentinel Hotspots system for tracking bushfires by satellite, co-developed by some of the original members of the AusCover team in CSIRO in 2003 and now managed by Geoscience Australia, is an example of near real time data services in Australia.
TERN/AusCover has brought together remote sensing experts and practitioners from CSIRO, universities, Geoscience Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology and state government departments to improve and coordinate systems and methods for managing Australia’s satellite remote sensing resources and to produce best available and validated remote sensing products relevant to the terrestrial environment. AusCover supports a broad range of landscape remote sensing work related to agricultural, land use, vegetation change, carbon accounting studies and flooding.
Remote sensing fire products : http://data.auscover.org.au/xwiki/bin/view/Outreach/brisbane-20121116.
CSIRO’s Bushfire research: http://www.csiro.au/en/Outcomes/Environment/Bushfires.aspx
TERN / AusCover: http://data.auscover.org.au
Dr Alex Held
Director AusCover Facility TERN
CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research
P: 02 6246 5718
As Australians battle another hot, dry summer, a new shower nozzle that uses up to 50 per cent less water while maintaining the sensation of full pressure could provide us with guilt-free showers – simply by adding air.
Dr Jie Wu, one of our fluids specialist, says the Oxijet nozzle feels just as wet and strong as a full flow shower, but uses much less water. It also differs from traditional ‘low flow’ devices.
“Traditional flow restrictors reduce flow and pressure, whereas Oxijet uses the flow energy to draw air into the water stream, making the water droplets hollow,” Dr Wu said.
“This expands the volume of the shower stream, so you can save the same amount of water, while still enjoying the illusion of a full flow shower.”
With Melbourne’s daily water use this summer doubling from the former target of 155 litres per day and the price of water going up, the new shower nozzle could provide some cost effective, water saving relief.
The device was recently trialled by Novotel Northbeach in Wollongong and is planned to be installed across the whole hotel.
“With over 200 rooms we go through over 10 million litres of water per year, so any saving we can make is very important. We’ve found our customers prefer Oxijet over other ‘low flow’ shower heads, because it gives the illusion of full water pressure,” Mr Walter Immoos, General Manager of Novotel Northbeach said.
Oxijet was developed by New Zealand company Felton in collaboration with CSIRO and It can be fitted to most existing shower heads. It is accredited by the Australian Watermark and Water Efficiency and Labelling Standards and is available for purchase across Australia.
Check out how it works:
OK, this is not the most pleasant FFT picture we have had but it is interesting.
One of our regular FFT readers (and the winner of the inagural FFT identifcation quiz) Phillip Clark from Focus Fisheries in WA sent the pictures in. Phillip is a member of a fishing club and another member found the specimen on the flats of the Swan River in Perth.
Apparently there was a bit of debate among other members of the club as to what exactly had been found. There was an even split between those who thought it was an eel and those who had no idea. Finding the fish in the Swan River threw a few off them of track.
While we are not encouraging all and sundry to send in their pictures of fish they have found, I thought this one was strange enough to send on to our fish ID experts in Hobart.
John Pogonoski who works in fish taxonomy at CSIRO came up with the answer – “It’s Woodward’s Moray Eel, Gymnothorax woodwardi – described by McCulloch in 1912 – a common species in south-western WA (from about Cape Leeuwin north to about Shark Bay, inshore to at least 250m). I saw plenty of preserved specimens in the Western Australian Museum last year, so must be reasonably common.”
There you have it.