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Dear all,

A fairly quiet week around the Department with many taking the break in teaching as an opportunity to take some leave, attend a conference or knock over some fieldwork. However, please do check out the calendar as there are a number of important activities taking place in the next couple of weeks including our industry collaboration session on Monday with a former chair of the CRC board, preparatory workshops and lab inductions for those teaching in S2, and G2G outlook the week after next.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend and enjoy this beautiful sunny weather.


Save the Date

This coming week 16th – 20th July

Mon 16th: Department Research workshop – Linking with Industry for Research; 1.00-3.30pm; 14EAR (E8A) 280 Biology Tea Room.

Tue 17th: Department L&T workshopiLearn Workshop – Engaging Software for S2 with Kath McClellan; 10.00am  -12.00pm; 6WW(E8C) 212.

Tue 17th: MQ Staff Town Hall meeting on Curriculum Architecture program; 12-1pm, Macquarie Theatre. Register here

Wed 18th: 6WW (E8C) Teaching Labs Induction; 9.00am – 11.30am; 6WW (E8C) 106.

Fri 20th: 4WW (F7B) Teaching Labs Induction; 10.00am – 12.00pm; 4WW (F7B) 105.

Following week 23rd – 27th July

Tue 24th: 14EAR (E8A) Teaching Labs Induction; 9.00am – 12.00pm; 14EAR (E8A) 120.

Tue/Wed 24-25th: Research Enrichment Program – Outlook Conference “The Future of the Human Landscape”; Incubator Building, MQU.

Thu 26th: R-Users Group Meeting; 3.00pm – 5.00pm; 14EAR (E8A) 280 Biology Tea Room.

Thu 26th: Thursday Drinks – all welcome; 5.00pm – 6.00pm; 14EAR (E8A) 280 Biology Tea Room.

Save the Date

Sep 19th: Biological Sciences Graduation Ceremony; 2.30pm; Great Hall, MQU.

General News and Announcements

Got Blood?  Don’t need all of it?  Consider donating.  Every donation can save 3 lives!
Blood Donation Poster

All Staff Town Hall on Tuesday 17 July where feedback received through the Curriculum Architecture survey will be discussed.

Can You Help? Larissa Krey, a visiting student from Hamburg University (Germany), is looking for accommodation between the 2nd of August and the 15th of September 2018. Larissa is a volunteering student working with PhD candidate René Heim and Professor Ian Wright. Please let Larissa <> or René <> know if you have something available.

Would you like the opportunity to sail on the R.V. Investigator?! CAPSTAN – Chief Scientist, Trainers and Student Participant Applications are now open! The 2nd CAPSTAN voyage is scheduled to depart from Hobart, Tasmania 29th April, arriving in Fremantle, Western Australia, 9th May, 2019 and it is time to crew the voyage! The following positions are now available.
Chief Scientist – Applications open 10th of July, close 15th of August 2018. Trainers – Applications open 15th of August, close 30th of September 2018. Student participants – Applications open 15th of August, close 30th of September 2018. For more information visit our website: nquiries: <>.

New HDR Student Social Group – The Macquarie Student Group is a new social group for all HDR and other students from all Faculties and Departments across Macquarie University. The group focuses on creating a healthy student culture, improving student wellbeing, and providing support for each other however we can, sharing thoughts and ideas, planning social events and for having fun at the same time! The Macquarie Students Group meets in person every Tuesday at 12 pm near the lake for a chat, to meet other students from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, throw around a frisbee and take a bit of a break from the computer/lab, so please feel free to come and say hi. There is a Facebook Group you can join <> for discussions and sharing ideas and social events, as well as a Google Group. Please contact April Foote <> for access to the Google Group and for more information.

Funding opportunity for PhD and ECRs – The department is now accepting applications for the Milthorpe Memorial Award (up to $2500). Applicants must be either PhD candidates or Level A-B ECRs. These funds can be spent on travel or research expenses for any research topic related directly OR indirectly to plants (this includes plant biology/ecology, plant-insect interactions, plants as habitat, etc), and must be spent this year. Please fill out the attached application form and email to HoD by 31 July 2018. Milthorpe Award Application_2018

Who will be the next winner of Science and SciLifeLab’s Prize for Young Scientists?  The Science & SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists is now open for entries! This is the sixth year that Science and SciLifeLab will present this award, which offers four recent PhD graduates a life-changing opportunity. Recent doctoral graduates in the life sciences may submit a 1000-word essay based on their thesis work. Four winners — in the categories of Cell and Molecular Biology, Ecology and Environment, Genomics and Proteomics and Translational Medicine — will be selected for this international award. Make sure your recent PhD graduate doesn’t miss out on this opportunity! Application deadline: July 15th, 2018. The winners will: Have their essay published by Science! Receive up to 30,000 USD in prize money. Be honored in Stockholm, Sweden in December! Apply Now!

2018-19 Fisheries Scientific Committee Student Research Grant round now open –  Visit the FSC website to access the online application form. Applications close 11.59 pm (AEDT) on Tuesday 31 July 2018.


Department iLearn workshop – Engaging Software for S2 – Echo 360 now has the Active Learning Platform embedded in it and this opens a range of engagement opportunities! We will introduce you to, and show you how to use, three different engagement technologies (ALP, MEAP and PLD). You decide how you will use them and what is right for you and your unit! We will then teach you any-iLearn-thing you want to know / help troubleshoot any issues you are having in iLearn for S2 (e.g. gradebook category weightings, setting up user overrides for quizzes, setting up marking rubrics in Turnitin, sharing quickmarks with tutors, etc…), and show you how to create videos/record lectures using Echo360 Personal Capture on your laptop. Come a long for the full two hours (presentations 10-11am) or just drop in (from 11am-12pm). iLearn workshop – Engaging Software for S2, with Kath (Tuesday 17th July, E8C212, 10am-12pm) sign up here.

S2 2018 Teaching Lab Induction Dates: If you intend to work, demonstrate, or teach in the Department’s Digital Teaching Labs next semester, and you haven’t done an induction this year (for 14EAR – E8A), or the past 2 years for other spaces, then please contact Prasanth Subramani <> to put your name down for the following induction dates.
  • 6WW (E8C) teaching labs – Wednesday 18th July, 2018, 9.00am – 11.30am
  • 4WW (F7B) teaching labs – Friday 20th July, 2018, 10.00am – 12.00pm.
  • 14EAR (E8A) teaching labs – Tuesday 24th July, 2018, 9am – 12.00pm.

Need help with unit development or anything L&T? Talk to our friendly Faculty L&T team contact – Natalie Spence (x1943, <>).


Plant of the Week

This week’s story has been written by Dick Frankham:

And now for something bizarre: Leucopogon juniperinus, a sexually reproducing triploid plant from Australia.

Ally Training provides participants with an overall understanding of why LGBTIQ inclusion is important to the Macquarie University community and explores challenges often faced by people  who identify as LGBTIQ and the impact of Homophobia, Transphobia & prejudice. Participants who complete the training will be able to join the MQ Ally Network if they so wish.
Key Takeaways:
  • Introduction to the diversity of identities within the LGBTIQ+ community 
  • Gain an understanding of discrimination and bias that affect people in the LGBTIQ+ community
  • Know what the Ally Network is and what it takes to be an active and effective Ally.
  • Develop your skills to actively speak out against Homophobia, Transphobia and prejudice
  • Learn to refer people to appropriate local resources, support services & assistance 

If you’d like to attend Ally training please complete this poll so that we can find an appropriate time. Each session will run for approximately 2 hours. For more information or if you have any questions please contact <>.


Mathematics Colloquium Seminar

Date/Time/Venue: Friday, 27th July, 2018, 3 – 4pm, 14SCO (E7B) 146 ACE room. SpeakerDr Ross Moore, Macquarie University. Title: Authoring accessible tagged PDF documents unsing LaTeX. For more information visit –

MolSci Special Seminar

Date/Time/Venue: Monday, 23rd July, 2018, 12pm – 1pm, 4WW (F7B) 322 seminar room. Speaker: Professor R. Sowdhamini, Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Bioinformatics, National Centre for Biological Sciences (India). Title: Evolutionary studies of honeybee and few insect olfactory receptors. For more information visit –

Workshop 16 July 1pm – 3:30pm Biology Tea Room Linking with Industry for Research – On the 16th July at 1pm the former Board Chair of the CRC program Philip Marcus Clark will visit the department to speak to us on what industry is looking for in a collaboration with university researchers.  Philip will speak for about 30 mins at 1pm, followed by a question time.  Please bring a laptop or iPad.  There will be resources to look up online. After a coffee break we will then be brainstorming collaborative teams and projects for potential projects with industry partners. We will close 3:30pm latest.

Research Enrichment Program – Outlook Conference

July 24-25, Incubator Building, Macquarie University – “The Future of the Human Landscape”

The Outlook Conference (Research Enrichment Program Outlook Program) will bring together leading thinkers in diverse disciplines, spanning molecules to landscapes, and from scientific, historical and social viewpoints. Speakers at 2018 Outlook conference include Professor Tim Flannery (Writer and Social Commentator), Professor Angela Moles (UNSW), Associate Professor Greg Downey (MQ) and Professor Rob Brooks (UNSW). The objective of Outlook is to immerse participants in the frontiers of adjacent, and more distant disciplines. Speakers will present their vision for humanity’s future. These talks will not recount personal research findings, but will be future-scoping exercises. Our goal is to identify promising areas for high level trans-disciplinary collaboration, for novel applications, and to expose postgraduate students and early career researchers

aaRgh (ask aRgeek for help) –  Second Thursday of every month 3 – 4pm, Biology Tearoom – 14EAR (E8A) 280. Frustrated? Having an R-related problem? We will also run regular afternoon tea sessions where you can get one-on-one help, or just introduce yourself and chat. Snacks provided!

Department Writing Workshops for HDRs and ECRs  – Running weekly for most of the year: Fridays 2-4pm in room E8B 111. 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.

Peer Writing Assistance Session – Are you a HDR? Need help with your writing? Unsure how to structure your argument? Want advice on how to handle HDR life? If you answered yes to any of these questions then come along to a Peer Writing Assistance session! Peer Writing Assistants are current PhD students and HDR Mentors at Macquarie University that are a ‘fresh pair of eyes’ to look over your work and provide constructive advice. We are also available to talk about any aspect of the HDR experience. Sessions can be booked on the HDR workshops page.

Social Network Analysis Mini-conference & Workshop – When/Where: 10 – 13 September 2018, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. Attendance is free but places are limited so register soon! Flyer_SNA_NA_final For details of content – For inquiries & registration details – Nicolette Armansin (Macquarie University), <>.


Sustainability Proposals – Feedback Wanted

(Draft) Statement of Commitment: We are a diverse, vibrant community, united by our interest in, and curiosity for, living systems. We create a better future through collaboration, accountability and sharing of knowledge and resources.

At the last meeting of the Sustainability Working Group, the following proposals were put forward for development and adoption.

Feedback is sought by Monday 23 July to Samantha Newton, <>.

What sort of feedback?

  1. How you can contribute
  2. Suggestions for development and implementation


  1. BioTree (like Gumtree): an intranet-based inventory for equipment, consumables and knowledge
  2. Buddy system: extending the current buddy system beyond new academics to all new staff and HDRs
  3. Develop ways of making department events more inclusive and enhance cross-collaboration between lab and professional groups
  4. Plant workshop: on care and maintenance of office-based plants
  5. Electronic exams: moving away from paper-based exams
  6. Plate your PhD: personalise your plate with your PhD topic – reduce waste and start a conversation at department events.
  7. Have a sustainability statement and target for each biology course
  8. Skill sharing: what skills do you have to share with other department members? (Links to BioTree)

Admin Alert! Admin workload is particularly high, so this is a reminder to submit your Absence on Duty early. Please give a minimum of 3 weeks before you travel domestically, and 6 weeks internationally, for approvals to be processed and bookings made for you. The more notice you give, the easier it is, and the better prices you can get. Any last-minute travel requests may not be processed.

PURE Training – The PURE system is used to manage researcher profiles, outputs including publications, funding applications, awards, projects and reports. Do you feel like you could use some more PURE training? Please register your interest via an email to <>.

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

Location-W (Fauna Park) Admin Support – Monday, Wednesday & Friday from 10am – 1pm in W19F.

Deliveries – You will notice that we have placed a red “transfer Box” in W19F, put anything in this box that needs to be delivered to the E8 area location. We also have a red “Transfer Box” in E8B Level 2 location, which is for goods to betaken to the W location. These boxes will be emptied every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10am. Deliveries from the main “MQ” store will be delivered daily. Any questions please contact Sharyon O’Donnell.

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.

Correct Method for Submitting to Department Matters

Department Matters submissions now have their own email address.  Please send all future submissions to 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.

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

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New Publications

Frost and leaf-size gradients in forests: global patterns and experimental evidence

By: Lusk, Christopher H., Michael J. Clearwater, Daniel C. Laughlin, Sandy P. Harrison, Iain Colin Prentice, Marisa Nordenstahl, and Benjamin Smith. New Phytologist (2018). | Find with Google Scholar »

Size-related shifts in carbon gain and growth responses to light differ among rainforest evergreens of contrasting shade tolerance

By: Sendall, Kerrie M., Peter B. Reich, and Christopher H. Lusk. Oecologia (2018): 1-15. | Find with Google Scholar »

Visual cues do not enhance sea lion pups’ response to multimodal maternal cues

By: Wierucka, Kaja, Isabelle Charrier, Robert Harcourt, and Benjamin J. Pitcher. Scientific reports 8, no. 1 (2018): 9845. | Find with Google Scholar »

Inferring demographic parameters in bacterial genomic data using Bayesian and hybrid phylogenetic methods.

By: Duchene, Sebastian, David A. Duchene, Jemma L. Geoghegan, Zoe A. Dyson, Jane Hawkey, and Kathryn E. Holt. BMC evolutionary biology 18, no. 1 (2018): 95. | Find with Google Scholar »

Empowering peer reviewers with a checklist to improve transparency

By: Parker, T.H., Griffith, S.C., Bronstein, J.L., Fidler, F., Foster, S., Fraser, H., Forstmeier, W., Gurevitch, J., Koricheva, J., Seppelt, R. and Tingley, M.W., 2018. Nature ecology & evolution, 2(6), p.929. | Find with Google Scholar »

Incubation under Climate Warming Affects Behavioral Lateralisation in Port Jackson Sharks

By: Vila Pouca, Catarina, Connor Gervais, Joshua Reed, and Culum Brown. Symmetry 10, no. 6 (2018): 184. | Find with Google Scholar »

In the Media

Chris Reid provided comment to Quanta Magazine

Dr Chris Reid from the Department of Biological Sciences provided comment to Quanta Magazine about slime moulds’ ability to learn. 

Linda Beaumont contributed to The Conversation

Dr Linda Beaumont from the Department of Biological Sciences contributed the article ‘Ecosystems across Australia are collapsing under climate change’ to The Conversation.

Martin Whiting was featured in Australasian Science

Associate Professor Martin Whiting from the Department of Biological Sciences featured in Australasian Science regarding research into the colour of the blue tongue lizard’s tongue.

Lesley Hughes was interviewed on ABC Radio Australia Pacific Beat and ABC Radio Sydney The World Today

Distinguished Professor Lesley Hughes from the Department of Biological Sciences was interviewed on ABC Radio Australia Pacific Beat, ABC Radio Sydney The World Today and Buzzfeed about coral bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef. See pages 8 and 11 of the report.

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