Coevolution

by Jordan Pennells Examples of coevolution are not only pervasive between species in nature, but are intimately linked to the complex evolution of plants and animals themselves. Mitochondria, commonly proclaimed as the 'powerhouse of the cell', was likely once a \nbacterial entity that infected a primordial eukaryotic cell. While the bacteria found a safe habitat … Continue reading Coevolution

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Evolution of Sociality

The basis of evolution is to pass on traits that improve an individual's chance of survival and reproduction (fitness) to the next generation. An important example of one of these traits is social behaviour; how do individuals interact together to optimise their fitness? Sociality in nature can range from bees, where the majority of the … Continue reading Evolution of Sociality

Aging

So why do we age? Aging - the deterioration of the body (soma) and diminished reproductive output over time - is a phenomenon that has puzzled evolutionary biologists for decades. Mechanistic causes show the how, through the soma wearing out from oxidative stress, cellular signalling breakdown etc., but assessing the why brings us to question … Continue reading Aging

Space

The search for life on Mars is being targeted towards fallen meteorites, with comparable extraterrestrial specimens sourced from Australia’s Nullarbor Plain being examined by UQ researchers as substrates for initial colonisation of terrestrial rock-consuming microorganisms. The unique habitat of these meteorites, which are initially sterile when they pass through the planet's atmosphere, provide a refuge for … Continue reading Space

Quantum Technology

In an unorthodox integration between biomedical diagnostics and quantum physics, UQ physicists have developed precision sensors that have the capability to detect and track single unlabelled biomolecules, providing insights into the body’s nanomachinery.  Research article: Evanescent single-molecule biosensing with quantum-limited precision   Aided by the launch of a $31.9M Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS), UQ Physics Professor Warwick … Continue reading Quantum Technology

Natural Disasters

  Dr Teresa Ubide from UQ’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences warned of the instability of Bali’s Mount Agung volcano approximately 2 months before its eruption, citing increased frequency of tremors as evidence of rising magma.  After more than 1600 people died from Mt Agung's last eruption in 1963, advances in seismic monitoring techniques allowed for extensive forewarning and evacuation procedures to … Continue reading Natural Disasters