Scientists in the news this week: July 10, 2020

University of Adelaide agriculture, food and wine scientists and alumni featured prominently in the media over the last seven days.

Here are the stories of our scientists and science graduates in the news, for the week ending July 10, 2020.

Green carpenter bee (Xylocopa aerata) by Louise Docker from Sydney, Australia [CC BY 2.0]

Green carpenter bee (Xylocopa aerata) by Louise Docker from Sydney, Australia [CC BY 2.0]

Agriculture, food and wine

Dr Katja Hogendoorn is an author of an article that gives a preview of ‘Flora, Fauna, Fire’, a project launching Monday 13 July that tracks native plants and animals' recovery after last summer’s bushfires. 

The article focused predominantly on the green carpenter bee (Xylocopa aerata) which has faced a significant increase in the risk of extinction following the bushfires on Kangaroo Island. This article was shared on The Conversation and Evening Report.

The world-first machine ‘FieldExplorer’ continues to make headlines, this week on The Australian Farmer website.

Dr Susie Robinson and Dr Darren Plett featured throughout, discussing The FieldExplorer, which can rapidly gather data on the phenotype of plants by taking measurements non-destructively using an array of sensors. This can speed up what can be measured and will be more accurate, allowing researchers to better understand what is going on in a more efficient way, for example, with crop disease.

Associate Professor Gurjeet Gill's research  continues to be covered in the news, this week in the Maryborough Advertiser. 

This research found that the effectiveness of clethodim on crops was greatly impaired when sprayed within a two to three-day window either before or after a frost. Gill gives his expert advice to delay the spraying of clethodim due to the adverse impact on its effectiveness.


Mexican burrowing caecilian (Dermophis mexicanus) by Franco Andreone [CC BY-SA]

Mexican burrowing caecilian (Dermophis mexicanus) by Franco Andreone [CC BY-SA]

Biological sciences

National Geographic, The New York Times and MSN News featured new research on caecilians, which are toothy worm-like creatures.

The research discovered that these animals may have venomous saliva - possibly the first example ever found in amphibians. Dr Emma Sherratt was not a part of the study, but has provided expert commentary, stating that if these animals do have venomous saliva, the implications of this will be “striking”.


Students and alumni

Veterinary medicine graduate and Elders livestock production advisor Dr Steph Warwick gave a lamb autopsy workshop on Kangaroo Island and taught farmers how to identify common causes of death in lambs. This story was covered in Stock Journal and the local newspaper, The Islander

Agriculture student Edward Downing was featured in newspapers Stock Journal, Border Chronicle, Border Watch and Penola Pennant for receiving the $2000 Lois Harris Scholarship in recognition of academic excellence.

Wine graduates Mauricio Ruiz Cantú and Ben Caldwell, founders of Somos Wines, continue to be commemorated in the news, this week in Stock Journal and Victor Harbor Times. Cantú and Caldwell were chosen as representatives of the McLaren Vale wine region in the ‘Young Gun of Wine Top 50’.

Tagged in Research, Engagement and Industry, Student & Graduate Stories, Scientists in the News, School of Agriculture Food and Wine, School of Biological Sciences, Agriculture, Waite Research Institute