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Hi All,

Huge congratulations to Lesley Hughes who was presented with the Australian Museum’s Lifetime Achievement Award at a glittering function at the Museum on Wednesday night. Lesley gave a great talk and is well-deserving of the award! In other good news the WeedFutures team led by Lesley and myself are Finalists for this year’s Eureka Environmental Research Award. We are looking forward to another fun awards night!

This week is Julia Raftos’s last week before several months of well-deserved long service leave, leading into retirement next year. The department held a lovely morning tea to wish her well and say thank you for her enormous contributions, especially in teaching physiology and in advising hundreds (maybe thousands) of students with kindness and wisdom. We will miss her!

Next Tuesday is the monthly department meeting – all welcome, see you there!



Julia’s Farewell Morning Tea – click thumbnails for larger images-

Save the Date

This coming week 5th – 9th August

Tue 6th: Department Meeting; 1.00pm – 2.00pm; 14EAR(E8A)-280 (Biology Tea Room).

Wed 7th: Department Morning Tea; 10.30am – 11.30am; 205B Culloden Rd.

Wed 7th: Department Seminar – Jennie Mallela, ANU; 1.00pm – 2.00pm; 14EAR(E8A)-280 (Biology Tea Room).

Thu 8th: R-Users Group (RUG) Help Session; 3.30 PM – 5.30 PM; Continuum room (75 Talavera road, room 3114); snacks provided.

Thu 8th: Biology 3-Minute Thesis competition; 4:30-5pm, 14EAR(E8A)-280 (Biology Tea Room) – followed by…

Thu 8th: Biology Social Club; 5.00pm – 7.00pm; Biology Courtyard.

Following week 12th – 16th August

Wed 14th: Rick Shine’s 1000th paper celebration morning tea; 10:30-11.30am, 14EAR(E8A)-280 (Biology Tea Room) – there will be delicious cakes!

Wed 14th: Department Seminar – Karen Burke da Silva, Flinders University; 1.00pm – 2.00pm; 14EAR(E8A)-280 (Biology Tea Room).

Sat 17th: MQU Open Day; 9.00am – 3.30pm; Campus wide.

Weekly Events

Wed: Shut up and Write sessions; 11.00am – 12.00pm; 6WW(E8C)-212 or 14EAR(E8A)-360A.

Thu: Venture Café; 3–8pm; 58 Waterloo Road, Macquarie Park, NSW (map). Find out what is on each week here –

Fri: Writing workshops with Prof Ken Cheng – to support HDRs and ECRs with scientific writing; 2–4pm; Ken’s office at 205b Culloden Road, G12.

Fri: Behaviour and Evolution Journal Club; Friday at 12:30pm (bring your lunch); 205B Culloden Rd Boardroom.

Weekly Biological Sciences seminar program is here

Future Events

August 22nd: REP: The Art & Science of Getting Published; 9:30 am – 3:00 pm; 14 EAR(E8A)-280 (Biology Tea Room) – Register here.

September 19th: REP: Reviewing for Journals workshop; 3:00 – 5:00 pm; 14EAR(E8A)-280 (Biology Tea Room) – Register here.

September 23rd: MQ graduation ceremony for Biological Sciences; 10.30am.

October 2nd: Developing your five-year plan workshop; 12:30 – 2:00 pm; 12 Wally’s Walk, 801 – Register here.

General News and Announcements

A Mentoring Workshop was conducted by Prof. Mariella Herberstein this week. The event provided the audience with the basics of a mentor-mentee relationship and provided opportunities for them to connect.
Mentoring Powerpoint Slides

Franklin Women have a newsletter they send out via email.  It is far too long to include here, but if you are interested in perusing the content of this publication, please follow this link.

Resources: Here is a fantastic website and suite of resources for women and others established by ARC Laureate Fellow Sharon Parker.

It has an incredible depth of information for managing a career, mentoring and more.

Plant of the Week – click the thumbnails for larger images-

 This week – Pansies!

Heartsease, or Wild Pansy, Viola tricolor, is often regarded as a pesky plant, almost a weed, but it is plants of Viola tricolor, first recorded, described and cultivated in the early 1500s,  that have been selected for flower size and colour, and hybridised with other species, that form the basis of the colourful annuals we know today as Pansies.


STEM Careers Forum – Monday, 12 August 2019 – The annual STEM Careers Forum is taking place on Monday 12 August, and the event is for ALL FSE UG, PG, and HDR students (careers outside of academia) and academic/professional staff who are interested in industry engagement. More information can be found here:

Faculty Staff (Professional & Academic) Travel Grants – support for staff travel is now provided centrally by the Faculty. Funding is available for ECR travel, international collaboration, teaching and professional staff development. If you would like to apply, please discuss with your supervisor and A/Prof Andrew Barron (for research travel) or Dr Drew Allen (for teaching travel). Research Eligibility and application details can be found here.,-schemes-and-procedures
One round remain for the rest of the year:
– Round 3 closes Friday 27 September 2019
Apply as soon as possible for any travel you intend on taking in 2019, that meets the criteria. Funds awarded must be spent in 2019 and will not be carried into 2020.

Media Training Opportunity for ECRs! – Nominations are now open for Fresh Science 2019 (closing: Wed, 14 August 2019 – 11.59pm).

This national competition is targetted at ECRs with no media experience but whose peer-reviewed research (e.g. a discovery, invention, patent) is deserving of attention. Selected applicants will receive a day of media training, to help them find their voice and tell their “story”. Full details of what’s involved is available from the Fresh Science webpage. Eligibility criteria:

  • ECR with PhD completed no more than five years ago.
  • Currently working in Australia and preferably for work done in Australia.
  • Research which has produced peer-reviewed results – e.g. a discovery, invention, patent, etc.
  • Research which is currently being undertaken or has been published/ concluded since January 2018.
  • Research that is newsworthy but has not had significant media coverage.
  • Researchers who can demonstrate (through the online nomination form) some ability to present their research to a lay audience in a clear, interesting and informative way.

NOTE: Your research must be cleared for public and media presentation – may need to consult with collaborators and commercial partners before nominating.


Biological Sciences SeminarDate/Time: Wednesday, 7th August, 2019; 1pm – 2pm. Speaker: Dr Karen Burke da Silva, Flinders Uni. Title: Teach like a Scientist. Venue:  14EAR-280 (Biology Tea Room). More information on this and all department seminars ON OUR WEBPAGE HERE.

R-Users Group (RUG) Help Session – Do you have a problem with data analysis? You might want to give R a go which is a fantastic analytical and plotting tool. For all your R-related queries, drop by ‘Ask An R Geek for Help’ (aaRgh) session where you can get one-on-one assistance. Or just come by, have some tea, and work on your code. No registration is required and snacks and beverages will be provided (BYO mug). Date: Aug 8, 2019. Time: 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM. Venue: Continuum Room (75 Talavera Road, room 3114).

Shut Up and Write Sessions, every Wednesday 11am. It’s pretty simple, we shut up… and we write. Using the pomodoro technique we’ll meet at 11am to write, stop 25 minutes in for a 10 min break, then settle down again for another 25 minutes of writing. You’ll be amazed how productive you can be. More details on the concept here:

Room will be either 6WW(E8C)-212 or 14EAR(E8A)-360A, email <> to confirm or with any questions.

All welcome!

MolSci Seminar – Date/Time: Tuesday, 6th August, 2019; 1pm – 2pm. Speaker: Dr Matthew Wilding, Research School of Chemistry, Australian National University. Title: Protein Engineering in the Age of Synthetic Biology. Venue: 4WW 322 seminar room. More information


MolSci Seminar – Date/Time: Wednesday, 7th August, 2019; 11.00am – 12.00pm. Speaker: Professor Giuseppe Palmisano, Department of Parasitology, University of São Paulo, Brazil. Title: Proteomics methodologies for understanding host-pathogen interactions. Venue: 4WW 322 seminar room. More information

Lunchtime Litter Collection – The days may be cooler, but they’re also clear and sunny. Lunchtime is a great time to go for a walk and get some vitamin D! It’s also a great time to join the Biology Litter Collection competition! The next event will be Tuesday 13th August, 1pm. Meet in the Biology courtyard, bring a bucket or bag if you can.

We’ll be holding events throughout the rest of the year, every few weeks. At each event you go out to collect litter, between 1 and 1:30pm. Collections will be assessed at the end of each collection and gold stars awarded accordingly. Event results are tallied at the end of the year with a prize for the best collector.

Event dates: Tues 13th August; Tues 10th September; Tues 8th October; Tues 12th November; Tues 10th December.

Venture Café – Want to know more about innovation, and how to achive it? Come along to the Venture Cafe, Thursday, 3pm – 8pm, 58 Waterloo Road, Macquarie Park, NSW (map). Find out what is on each week here –

This week: 3.30pm: Info-Session: The Wonderful World of Intern Talent!; 4.00pm: DemoTables: Re-imagining Our Workplace Futures; 4.00pm: It Pays to Play: The Research and Approach to Play & Creativity in the Workplace; 5.00pm: Community Consultation: Planning Ryde!; 530pm: Panel: What’s Driving Change In Our Workplace;  6.30pm: Creating Innovative and Inspiring Places To Work.

Wildlife at the Watering Hole – 3rd Tuesday of each month, 6:30pm @ Botany View Hotel, King St Newtown!


Research Enrichment Program (REP) Workshop Series – The Department now has a fully fledged research enrichment program for 2019 – you can find out about upcoming workshops here (click on this PDF). All HDR students are encouraged to attend several of these workshops each year to develop their skills and track record for the post-PhD world. Supervisors please encourage your students!

REP Workshop: The Art and Science of Getting Published – Thursday 22 August, 9:30 am – 3:00 pm; 14 EAR(E8A)-280 (Biology Tea Room); facilitated by Michael Gillings.

This whole-day workshop will cover:
– Planning and writing papers – Structure of papers, Plans and mind maps, Pivotal parts of papers, Who should be an author, Writing a good title, Choosing good keywords, Writing abstracts and other sections of papers, Editing and feedback, Writing skills, and What makes a good paragraph.
– The submission process – Choosing a journal, What is an impact factor, Predatory journals, Instructions to authors, The letter to the editor, How editors make decisions, Dealing with rejection, and Dealing with reviewers.
– Improving the impact of your papers – What papers are high impact, Social media for researchers, Popular science writing, Understanding research metrics, Media and press releases.

Suitable for: all

Morning tea will be provided.

Getting Funding from the PGRF Travel Scheme – ran 9th July, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm; 205b Culloden Rd Boardroom; facilitated by Linda Beaumont.
PhD students remember to email draft PGRF applications to <> by 30th July to receive feedback.
Full applications are due to <> by 6th August at 5pm for HoD sign-off.

Reviewing for Journals – Thursday 19 September, 3:00 – 5:00 pm; 14EaR(E8A)-280 (Biology Tea Room); facilitated by Rachael Gallagher.
Would you like to review for journals, but are not too sure how the whole process works? Have you already reviewed, but would like to brush-up on your skills?
This short, two-hour course is designed to introduce young researchers to the ethics and skills required to become a good journal reviewer.
– The ethics of reviewing – how to be fair and helpful to authors
– Examples of good and not-so-good reviews
– Worked examples of scenarios that may arise when reviewing
– The opinions of journal editors from within the Department
Suitable for: Early-mid career researchers.

3-Minute Thesis – PhD students: the Department round of this competition will be held on Thursday 8th August, 4:30-5pm, in 14EaR 280 Biology Tea Room – followed by Dept. Social Club to celebrate! Faculty and University finals will follow in Sept.

TO ENTER: Send your slide to <> and <> by 31st July 5pm. See info and videos of previous year’s winners:

PhD Students: got a grant? Dept. will co-fund up to $1500 – The Department would like to encourage students to seek external sources of funding, and has a small budget with which to support successful candidates.New limits from 2019:PhD students ONLY: Dept. will match up to $1500 of external (non-MQ) funding ONCE during the student’s candidature.

If you have received a grant (student as chief investigator) and wish to request co-funding, please forward a copy of the award letter to <> and <>.

Are you a HDR student? Need help with writing? HDR Mentors in collaboration with HDR Learning Skills is running another round of Peer Writing Assistance (PWA) for the rest of the year! This program is designed to support MRES and HDR candidates in managing thesis writing and research-related concerns. All peer writing assistants have undergone training for their role and are current PhD candidates at Macquarie.
The PWA program is based on the principle of collaborative learning in which a more experienced research student helps you develop stronger academic and research skills. Peer Writing Assistants are not teachers. Rather, they are trained to function as a ‘friendly audience’ or ‘fresh pair of eyes’ to help you gain new perspectives on your writing or research ideas.
Registrations are now open for individual consultation bookings. If you are interested, please go to book in for a 45-minute session with a PWA here.


Writing workshops – Convened by Ken Cheng, running weekly for most of the year: Fridays 2-4pm in Ken’s office at 205b Culloden Road, G12.
These writing workshops are meant for HDR students and early-career researchers. In these face-to-face encounters, writing at any stage of any genre is welcome, from first draft to final polish, from empirical paper to literature review to popular news story. Ken envisages personal feedback linked perhaps with rounds of revisions on selected passages during the session. The aim is not just to get stuff written, but to write everything well.
Those interested in attending a session should email Ken Cheng <> by Wednesday 12:00-noon, preferably with a draft attached of what they are working on and some indication of what they especially need help with.


Need to Contact the Biology Admin Team via Email? Please send your email to <> or drop in and see us. The old google group ( email no longer works, if you have this email as a remembered address please delete.

Outreach Activities – Have You Participated in an Activity for Biology Recently? Don’t forget to fill in the super-quick form here – ACCESS OUTREACH FORM HERE

Building Name Changes – Cheat Sheet – If you are trying to identify buildings on campus with new names or old names, please use this link to convert them from old to new or vice versa.


Harvest Hub – great food that doesn’t cost the earth

Do you want:

  • To eat with the seasons?
  • Have fresh fruit and veg delivered weekly?
  • Buy from local growers and support local farmer more directly?
  • Access weekly specials and a flexible, easy to use ordering system?
  • Have produce delivered to you at work?
  • Buy grains and cereals too?

Then try Harvest Hub

Hub name: MACQUARIE04 F: @harvesthubau

More information?

Correct Method for Submitting to Department Matters

Department Matters submissions now have their own email address. Please send all your news items for the newsletter to <>

Also, please see the following to correctly format your additions, and keep them rolling in!

You may have noticed that we try to keep all the articles to the same format for the Department Matters, however, rest assured, they do NOT all turn up in this format! To help keep your Department Matters looking as good as possible, when sending in additions to the Newsletter, please try to keep these formatting guidelines in mind.

  1. Please write in third person. The information is coming from the Newsletter, not directly from you.
  2. Do not use fancy text formatting. Bold heading, normal text, and only italics or bold to highlight. No font size changes will make it through, sorry.
  3. If sending via email, set your email output to basic. HTML output will add all sort of formatting that will have to be removed before your article can go into the newsletter.
  4. Keep your submission short and direct (two paragraphs) and if possible provide a document, email or link where readers can get more information. Any long submissions will be cropped.

Keeping to these guidelines will streamline your article’s addition to the newsletter. Thank you.

Have You Missed Out on an Issue of Department Matters? Back issues can be found at this newsletter archive link for your reading pleasure.

New Publications

Fungus-initiated catalytic reactions at hyphal-mineral interfaces drive iron redox cycling and biomineralization

By: Yu, Guang-Hui, Zhi-Lai Chi, H. Henry Teng, Hai-Liang Dong, Andreas Kappler, Michael R. Gillings, Matthew L. Polizzotto, Cong-Qiang Liu, and Yong-Guan Zhu. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta (2019). | Find with Google Scholar »

Chemical fingerprints suggest direct familiarisation rather than phenotype matching during olfactory recognition in Australian sea lions (Neophoca cinerea)

By: Wierucka, Kaja, Nicolas Barthes, Robert Harcourt, Benoist Schaal, Isabelle Charrier, and Benjamin J. Pitcher. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 517 (2019): 49-53. | Find with Google Scholar »

Small mammals have big tails in the tropics

By: Alroy, John GLOBAL ECOLOGY AND BIOGEOGRAPHY Volume: 28 Issue: 8 Pages: 1042-1050 Published: AUG 2019 | Find with Google Scholar »

The importance of sample size in marine megafauna tagging studies

By: Sequeira, A.M.M., Heupel, M.R., Lea, M.A., Eguíluz, V.M., Duarte, C.M., Meekan, M.G., Thums, M., Calich, H.J., Carmichael, R.H., Costa, D.P. and Ferreira, L.C., 2019. Ecological Applications, p.e01947. | Find with Google Scholar »

3D conservation planning: Including aquifer protection in freshwater plans refines priorities without much additional effort

By: Linke, Simon, Eren Turak, Maria Gulbrandsen Asmyhr, and Grant Hose. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems (2019). | Find with Google Scholar »

A novel ensemble modeling approach for the spatial prediction of tropical forest fire susceptibility using LogitBoost machine learning classifier and multi-source geospatial data

By: Tehrany, Mahyat Shafapour, Simon Jones, Farzin Shabani, Francisco Martínez-Álvarez, and Dieu Tien Bui. Theoretical and Applied Climatology (2018): 1-17. | Find with Google Scholar »

Begging calls provide social cues for prospecting conspecifics in the wild Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata)

By: Brandl, Hanja B., Simon C. Griffith, Toni Laaksonen, and Wiebke Schuett. The Auk: Ornithological Advances 136, no. 2 (2019): ukz007. | Find with Google Scholar »

In the Media

Nathan Hart was interviewed on ABC Great Southern News

Associate Professor Nathan Hart from the Department of Biological Sciences was interviewed on ABC Great Southern News regarding a proposed electric shark barrier around the Busselton Jetty.

Rick Shine was featured on ABC News, New Scientist, Science Magazine and Cosmos

Professor Rick Shine from the Department of Biological Sciences was featured on ABC NewsNew ScientistScience Magazine and Cosmos regarding a study that found turtle embryos can move around within their eggs to find the different temperatures and this influences their sex.

Sonu Yadav had a recent paper highlighted in Scimex

Sonu Yadav from the Department of Biological Sciences had a recent paper highlighted in Scimex. “Wingless but not clueless: The wingless grasshopper is prepared to flourish in a changing world.”

Alessandro Ossola was interviewed on ABC Radio Melbourne Afternoons

Dr Alessandro Ossola from the Department of Biological Sciences was interviewed on ABC Radio Melbourne Afternoons about local governments needing to plant species of trees that will survive climate change (research conducted by the Which Plant Where team).

Leigh Staas was featured on Triple J Hack

Leigh Staas from the Department of Biological Sciences was featured on Triple J Hack regarding what Australian plant species will be able to survive climate change.

Melanie Zeppel was featured on ABC Mid North Coast Statewide Drive

Dr Melanie Zeppel from the Department of Biological Sciences was featured on ABC Mid North Coast Statewide Drive regarding a Wikipedia ‘edit-a-thon’ to better represent female contribution in health, medical and life sciences.

Robert Harcourt was featured on ABC Radio Hobart Breakfast

Professor Robert Harcourt from the Department of Biological Sciences was featured on ABC Radio Hobart Breakfast regarding managing the shark population.

Recent Completions