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  • richardmitnick 7:31 am on June 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Scientists soak up marine sponge discovery", , Carnivorous sponges, CSIROblog,   

    From CSIROscope: “Scientists soak up marine sponge discovery” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    1 June 2020
    Nikki Galovic

    1
    Dr Merrick Ekins from Queensland Museum was pretty excited by the new discovery of carnivorous sponges! Credit: Asher Flatt.

    Marine scientists from Queensland Museum and University of Munich have made a big discovery. It’s the biggest haul of new species of carnivorous sponges from a single deep-sea expedition. And no, they weren’t living in pineapples under the sea. Or wearing square pants.

    What is a marine sponge?

    Marine sponges (Phylum Porifera) are suspension feeders. This means they filter seawater for food. In the process, they remove toxic chemicals from the seawater excreted by other animals, plants and microbes. This has given them a reputation for being the most toxic animals on the planet.

    But a few decades ago, researchers discovered carnivorous sponges (now known as Family Cladorhizidae) in the deep seas. Unlike other marine sponges these do not filter feed from seawater. Instead they have evolved as predators that catch and digest their prey directly.

    2
    From the abyss! This is the Lycopodina nikitawimandi marine sponge. Credit: Queensland Museum.

    A rare discovery

    Previously, we only knew of three species of carnivorous sponges in Australia. Now after this discovery off the east coast, there are 20! This comes after more than two years of work to describe the 17 new species.

    The team discovered the sponges live at depths of up to 4000 metres below the surface of the sea. They found them during the Sampling the Abyss voyage on our RV Investigator in 2017 along the eastern coast from northern Queensland to Tasmania.

    3
    RV Investigator

    Dr Merrick Ekins from Queensland Museum said the very rare carnivorous sponge discovery was exciting.

    “We found many of these sponges at depths between 2000 and 4000 metres down on the ocean floor. As soon as we found them, we knew how rare they were,” Merrick said.

    “I would say it is the biggest haul of carnivorous sponges from any one expedition in the world.”

    Giving marine sponges a good name

    Dr Ekins worked with Queensland Museum Honorary Associate Dr John Hooper and Dr Dirk Erpenbeck from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich to describe the new species.

    Dr Ekins said one of the best parts of the study was coming up with the names for the new species.

    “I had a lot of fun naming them. We named one after a shark because it had these amazing fang like spicules (small needle-like or sharp-pointed structures that make up the skeleton of a sponge). The sponge uses them to ensnare hairy crustaceans,” he said.

    “Another had funky spicules that look like something out of an Escher drawing. So I named it after Escher.”

    Deep blue sea

    The discovery shows just how much there is still left to discover and understand about the inhabitants of our deep oceans. We know more about the surface of Mars than we know about our deep oceans. And this discovery shows how species have adapted to the harsh environments of the deep sea.

    The researchers published their findings in the international journal Zootaxa.

    This research was supported by a grant of sea time on RV Investigator from our Marine National Facility.

    This story originally appeared on the Queensland Museum Network.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:38 am on September 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , CSIROblog, Few Australians know the unique role the country plays in the global space network, , ,   

    From CSIROscope: “Few Australians know the unique role the country plays in the global space network” 

    CSIRO bloc

    CSIROscope

    27 September 2017
    Dr. Larry Marshall

    1
    CSIRO leases time from NovaSAR satellite for images of SA bushfires, floods. No image credit.

    In 1969, I sat on the floor of my classroom watching, spellbound, as Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the Moon. I never dreamt that a few decades later, I’d be one of the first to see images from Pluto as part of the critical role CSIRO’s team at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex plays in NASA’s New Horizons and Cassini missions.

    NASA Canberra, AU, Deep Space Network

    How could a kid sitting in a classroom in Sydney, miles away from the rest of the world, believe Australia had such an important part to play in our exploration of space?

    Today few schoolchildren — in fact, probably few adults as well — know the unique role Australia plays in the global space network. Australia is positioned perfectly to look up into the centre of the galaxy — something you can’t do from many other parts of the world. That outstanding location and our world-class capability in space science underpins a phenomenal contribution to international space programs.

    CSIRO and NASA’s partnership stretches back more than 50 years, grounded in our world-class infrastructure and scientists at Canberra and Parkes, and fuelled into the future by our shared ambition to push the boundaries of exploration to benefit life back on earth.

    CSIRO/Parkes Observatory, located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia

    From November, CSIRO will control all NASA’s deep space assets worldwide for about a third of every day, using the ‘follow the sun’ protocol, as well as communicating with European and Indian spacecraft. It’s a rare day in our control centres when we don’t talk to partners on every part of the globe.

    But beyond the beauty, the mystery, and the innate lure of the vast universe that surrounds us — what’s in it for Australia to invest in space?

    For a start, if you’re reading this online, chances are you’re using WiFi, invented by CSIRO and using an algorithm we developed in radio astronomy work. But what about implications for the environment? On a daily basis, many dedicated people across CSIRO deliver crucial insights through Earth observation.

    They work closely with more than a dozen international space organisations to turn big data into insights that solve challenges ranging from disaster prevention, bushfires, floods and spills, to biosecurity threats.

    We partner with the European Space Agency (ESA) to access their international satellite data, and with NASA to monitor places from the Great Barrier Reef to the Great Australian Bight, to the Lake Eyre Basin to the Adelaide Hills.

    And today, here in Adelaide, we were thrilled to announce CSIRO has purchased a 10 per cent share of the NovaSAR Earth observation satellite, giving Australian scientists first usage rights when it flies over Australia and Southeast Asia, strengthening our ability to understand our environment and prepare for our future, and for the first time, giving Australian scientists the ability to control an imaging satellite.

    2
    UrtheCast said that SSTL’s experience with the NovaSAR synthetic aperture radar satellite (above) was a key reason it selected the company to work on its Generation 3 satellite constellation. Credit: SSTL

    But you don’t have to be a space organisation to be part of CSIRO’s space team.

    We work with Australian businesses up and down the space supply chain who benefit economically.

    For example, our partnership with EMC, a small business based in Perth, is about to deliver the world’s first solar power solution suitable for a radioastronomy site at our Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) in Murchison, WA.

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    This same site will soon be the Australian home to the world’s largest telescope.

    SKA Square Kilometer Array

    The project has been a brilliant result for EMC, which grew from a workforce of 10 to over 100 during the project. They’re now positioned to take on global radio astronomy energy tenders — and beyond.

    Building on our long, strong history of partnerships with international space organisations, we’re seeing more deeply into the Universe, in more detail into our own environment, and sharing the benefits across our economy.

    So what’s next? Australian science created the coatings on every Boeing aircraft, and as we go to Mars don’t be surprised to see Aussie innovation along for the ride.

    CSIRO collaborates with every Australian research institution, with the nation’s space advantage driven by this network of brilliant minds, working collaboratively to deliver the best outcomes for our nation.

    Our opportunity is as unlimited as space itself.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:50 am on September 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , CSIROblog, MPIFR/Effelsberg Radio Telescope, ,   

    From CSIROblog: “German telescope wears Aussie tech” 

    CSIRO bloc

    CSIRO blog

    25 September 2017
    Helen Sim

    1
    We designed and built a sophisticated receiver for Germany’s Effelsberg telescope. No image credit.

    MPIFR/Effelsberg Radio Telescope, in the Ahrgebirge (part of the Eifel) in Bad Münstereifel, Germany

    German engineering is renowned. Our Parkes radio telescope was built by a German firm, MAN (Maschinenfabrik Augsburg–Nürnberg).

    CSIRO/Parkes Observatory, located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia

    Now our astronomy technology is boosting the performance of Germany’s flagship radio telescope.

    We’ve provided a sophisticated radio receiver called a ‘phased array feed’ or ‘PAF’ for the Effelsberg telescope. At 100 m in diameter, Effelsberg is a tad bigger than Parkes and the biggest single-dish telescope in Europe.

    Although we designed PAFs for our new ASKAP telescope in Western Australia, which is an array of 36 dishes, it turns out they’re pretty handy for single dishes too.

    1

    Before we shipped the customised PAF to Germany we put it on the Parkes telescope for a few months to see how it performed on a big dish. The answer was, very well indeed.

    The PAF could detect one of the fundamental components of the Universe, atomic hydrogen, much further away than we usually can. And it let astronomers cut out a lot of pesky radio interference – unwanted radio signals arising from human activities.

    The tests were led by scientists from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research in Perth, Western Australia. One of them, Professor Lister Staveley-Smith, is leading a bid to fund a special cooled PAF to use on Parkes long-term. That cooled PAF would do some pretty cool science, like looking for signs of exotic matter called ‘positronium’.

    When the Parkes tests were over we took the PAF to the airport and sent it on its way to Effelsberg’s operator, the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy. In its new home it’ll be searching for fast radio bursts, the still-mysterious radio signals from the distant Universe.

    In other applications, phased-array feeds could also be used to observe Earth from space and for other kinds of imaging.

    You can see our PAF technology at the Adelaide Convention Centre from 25 to 29 September 2017, on the Australian Government stand at the International Astronautical Congress.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

    The CSIRO blog is designed to entertain, inform and inspire by generally digging around in the work being done by our terrific scientists, and leaving the techie speak and jargon for the experts.

    We aim to bring you stories from across the vast breadth and depth of our organisation: from the wild sea voyages of our Research Vessel Investigator to the mind-blowing astronomy of our Space teams, right through all the different ways our scientists solve national challenges in areas as diverse as Health, Farming, Tech, Manufacturing, Energy, Oceans, and our Environment.

    If you have any questions about anything you find on our blog, we’d love to hear from you. You can reach us at socialmedia@csiro.au.

    And if you’d like to find out more about us, our science, or how to work with us, head over to CSIRO.au

     
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