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FEBRUARY 2013
INTRODUCTIONS
Renata Ferrari
Originally from Mexico, Renata has arrived most recently from the University of Queensland where she completed a PhD in marine biology. Her thesis looked at ecological processes influencing coral reefs. In particular, the dynamics between herbivory, reef structural complexity, season and the competition between corals and macroalgae.
Originally from Mexico, Renata has arrived most recently from the University of Queensland where she completed a PhD in marine biology. Her thesis looked at ecological processes influencing coral reefs. In particular, the dynamics between herbivory, reef structural complexity, season and the competition between corals and macroalgae.

Before beginning her PhD, Renata researched the reefs in Belize and worked in environmental education in the USA and Dominican Republic. As a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Sydney, she will work with a team of researchers aiming to understand the dynamics of marine habitats inside and outside protected areas.

“The multidisciplinary nature of the team translates into working with the most complete data sets gathered through novel technologies, such as Automated Underwater Vehicle stereo imagery,” explained Renata. “These allow us to ask ecological questions across multiple scales and to incorporate innovative approaches to understanding how key ecosystems function, such as incorporating 3D structural complexity measures as an explanatory variable and possibly a surrogate for biodiversity.”

When asked why she wanted to join the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Sydney, Renata answered, “What inspired me the most to come work here was the multidisciplinary nature of the position and the excellence of research carried out both at the School of Biological sciences and at the Australian Centre of Field Robotics. Last but not least, the collaboration with the Department of Environment, and thus the possibility of having a direct influence in the management and conservation of marine ecosystems in NSW was definitively an incentive.” Good answer!
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Joanna Malyon
Just before Christmas Jo was appointed to the position of post-graduate and honours student co-ordinator in the School of Biological Sciences. This is the role she has been proficiently fulfilling since last April when we borrowed her from the Faculty of Architecture. It is great to have Jo on board!
Stephen Rogers
Dr Stephen (Steve) Rogers, has recently joined the Behaviour and Physiology Research Lab, led by Steve Simpson. Steve Rogers has been collaborating with this lab for a number of years whilst at the University of Cambridge. Steve completed his bachelor degree and Doctor of Philosopy at the University of Oxford. “I am a neurophysiologist by training and was originally interested in how taste information is coded by the central nervous systems of insects,” said Steve.
Dr Stephen (Steve) Rogers, has recently joined the Behaviour and Physiology Research Lab, led by Steve Simpson. Steve Rogers has been collaborating with this lab for a number of years whilst at the University of Cambridge.

Steve completed his bachelor degree and Doctor of Philosopy at the University of Oxford. “I am a neurophysiologist by training and was originally interested in how taste information is coded by the central nervous systems of insects,” said Steve. “But in 2000 I moved to the University of Cambridge and started working on the neural basis of phase change in locusts.” That is, how the locusts change from harmless solitary animals into animals living in gregarious swarms.

“Living on your own or in a group presents different challenges for the nervous system and I am interested in how both sensory and motor systems are modified for very different functional requirements. I want to know how the brain reacts to stimuli from other locusts and how it is reconfigured to allow the locust to live very different lifestyles.”

Steve chose to make the move from cold, soggy England, to hot, presently-soggy Australia, not only because are there three native species of locust in Australia, but also because “Steve Simpson’s group at Sydney is one of the best places in the world to work on locusts. There are experts with such a wide range of interests from ecology to molecular biology, all working on the same problem.” We’re sure the Simpson lab is just as happy to have such a stellar researcher join its ranks.
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CONGRATULATIONS
Fellowship
Over the summer break Professor Chris Dickman was elected a fellow of the Zoological Society of India. For more read the news story here.
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Promotions
Congratulations to Frank Seebacher and Madeleine Beekman for their promotions to Professor! Frank is now Professor of Biology and Madeleine is Professor of Behavioural Ecology.
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THANKS
Info Day, enrolment and acting-up as Head of School
Thank you to all the volunteers who helped at Information Day on January 3 and at enrolment in the last few weeks. It makes such a difference to the student experience to have a knowledgeable, friendly and enthusiastic person they can speak to about their options at university.
Thank you to all the volunteers who helped at Information Day on January 3 and at enrolment in the last few weeks. It makes such a difference to the student experience to have a knowledgeable, friendly and enthusiastic person they can speak to about their options at university.

Thanks also to Chris Dickman and Dieter Hochuli for stepping in as acting Head of School in Robyn’s absence.
Undergraduate Teaching
The year is off to a great start with Summer School and the Biology Bridging course in full swing. Special thanks for the smooth running of these programs go to Rosanne, Liz and the technical team.
The year is off to a great start with Summer School and the Biology Bridging course in full swing. Special thanks for the smooth running of these programs go to Rosanne, Liz and the technical team.

New digital microscopes have been ordered for the Science Road laboratories. And record enrolments in second year have been keeping everyone busy.
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NOTICES
 EVENTS    |  
School Seminars
The seminar co-ordinator for semester one in 2013 is Dr Shawn Wilder. Please contact him if you have any visitors, collaborators or other suggestions for speakers who may be of interest to the School.
 EVENTS    |  
50th Birthday lecture series
Associate Professor Clare McArthur will deliver the penultimate lecture on Feburary 20th. This lecture is free but RSVP to biorsvp@sydney.edu.au is essential.
Last month Professor Steve Simpson gave the third in the series of lectures held as part of the 50th birthday celebrations. The talk was recorded by Skynews and aired on its Australian Public Affairs Channel the next day. 

Associate Professor Clare McArthur will deliver the penultimate lecture on Feburary 20th. This lecture is free but RSVP to biorsvp@sydney.edu.au is essential.
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 EVENTS    |  
Murray Lecture
The 2013 Murray lecturer has also been announced. SoBS alumnus, Professor Bruce Stillman will be speaking on the Inheritance of the Human Genome on Wednesday 21 August in the Eastern Avenue Auditorium.
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 GRANTS    |  
Help with grant writing
ARC grant submission deadlines are coming around again – the internal deadline for Discovery projects is 13 February.
ARC grant submission deadlines are coming around again – the internal deadline for Discovery projects is 13 February. If you would like a critical and experienced eye to look over your application or discuss your proposal, Andrew Black (andrew.black@sydney.edu.au) and Chris Dickman (chris.dickman@sydney.edu.au) are willing. They have set aside time on Tuesday 5 February.

Professor Ian Hume is also available to help. He is working with the research portfolio and the faculty of science to mentor researchers as they apply for Discovery grants and DECRAs. Ian would be very happy to speak to anyone who’s interested in submitting an application for either scheme (Ian.Hume@sydney.edu.au).
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 VENUES    |  
Ilma Brewer Room Repurposed
Our very pleasing enrolments in our second year units of study means that we need to do some juggling to fit the students into our existing spaces. After a great deal of thought, it has been decided that for 2013 we will need to convert the Ilma Brewer room into an instrument and computer room in order to increase the capacity for large classes in the adjacent Garrod and Solander laboratories.
Our very pleasing enrolments in our second year units of study means that we need to do some juggling to fit the students into our existing spaces. After a great deal of thought, it has been decided that for 2013 we will need to convert the Ilma Brewer room into an instrument and computer room in order to increase the capacity for large classes in the adjacent Garrod and Solander laboratories.

There are usually a large number of lab meetings, committee meetings, tutorials and events that are usually held in the Ilma Brewer room, so please book an alternative venue. Possible alternatives are room 535 in Carslaw (the large tea room on level 5) which can be booked on the SOBS intranet booking site or 508 (Level 5 Carslaw) which fits 10 people and can be booked with Alex Kyriazis. Otherwise there may be good alternatives on central bookings.

Thanks for your patience as we move through these challenges.
 BUDGET    |  
News
The good news is that we are heading towards a balanced budget. Due to everyone’s hard work in making savings we are only $600,000 in the red.
The good news is that we are heading towards a balanced budget. Due to everyone’s hard work in making savings we are only $600,000 in the red. With the increased numbers of second-year students for 2013, we will come even closer to breaking even. Wonderful!
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CONTENTS
Introductions
Congratulations
Thanks
Notices
Media
Events
Stay connected
MEDIA
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Smithsonian.com | Lizzy Lowe
Urbanization is supersizing spiders

Australasian Science | Chris Reid
Slime Mould Has a Memory

Australasian Science | Rick Shine
Sea Snakes Stay Home

2UE | Peter Banks
Afternoon (Weekend) with John Cadogan 9/12/12

Sunday Mail Brisbane | Rick Shine
The Wonderful and the Weird

Cosmos | Chris Reid
Smart slime moulds

Sydney Morning Herald | Rick Shine
High drama: Qantas python’s flying circus

Canberra Times | Rick Shine
Qantas python’s flying circus as plane gets an unexpected passenger

Newcastle Herald | Rick Shine
Hiss and tell on this plane ride

QT | Rick Shine
High drama: Qantas python’s flying circus

Timeout Sydney | Museum exhibition
The Meaning of Life: Celebrating 50 years of Biological Sciences

2CC | Rick Shine
Breakfast with Mark Kennedy 11/1/13

2UE | Rick Shine
Afternoon (Weekend) with Peter Berner 12/1/13

St George and Sutherland Shire Leader | Rick Shine
Snake hitches a fast and freezing ride to PNG

City Hub | Adrian Davis
Residents urged to help cockatoo tracking project
EVENTS
20 February 2013, 6pm-7pm
The herbivore’s dilemma – to eat or be eaten
6 March 2013, 6pm-7pm
Defence and the Dark Arts – plants fight back in glowing colours
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