Faculty news

08/2014 Birds of a smelly feather stick together

08/2014 More laurels for 'Dr Seagrass'

08/2014 Go Girl, Go For IT!

08/2014 Study finds little penguins work together to target prey

08/2014 Fire management research up for Eureka

08/2014 A calling to help Australian birds

07/2014 Deakin scientists watch tagged turtles from space

07/2014 Locking out illegal downloads

07/2014 Faculty researchers receive Deakin’s highest honour

07/2014 Snapped - miniature mammals discovered

07/2014 Faculty ARC Linkage Success

06/2014 Frogs have hunters on the hop: Now you see me - now you don't

06/2014 Fostering altruism - a new approach to gaming

05/2014 Important migratory corridor for endangered marine species off north-west Australia

04/2014 Visual tricks may aid male great bowerbird's mating success

04/2014 New research makes migrant species a conservation priority

04/2014 Baum, Deakin Engineering and the pursuit of bespoke perfection

04/2014 Beyond the impasse

02/2014 Exhibition showcases students' design excellence

02/2014 IT security a rewarding career choice

02/2014 Rosella research makes for colourful cover story

01/2014 Give predators a chance

Faculty news archive


Study finds little penguins work together to target prey

 Little penguins are more likely to forage for food in groups, working together to target prey, new Deakin University research has found.

The study by Deakin PhD candidate Maud Berlincourt and her PhD supervisor Associate Professor John Arnould, both from the School of Life and Environmental Sciences and members of the Centre for Integrative Ecology, has been published in the international online journal PLOS ONE.

More than 60 little penguins (Eudyptula minor) were fitted with miniature GPS tracking devices at London Bridge in south-west Victoria's Port Campbell National Park so the researchers could monitor their breeding patterns while searching for food.

Ms Berlincourt said she found that little penguins foraged in groups and could synchronise their underwater movements, working together to concentrate their small schooling prey.
‘We did not expect this behaviour, but it makes sense when you consider that foraging on schools of small mobile prey would be more efficient if done in a coordinated fashion, even loosely cooperative,’ Ms Berlincourt said.

‘This study was the first to look at a whole foraging trip and to examine spatial overlap in time and coordinated diving behaviour in little penguins, indicative of group foraging,’ she said.

Read the paper on the PLOS ONE website: At-Sea Associations in Foraging Little Penguins.

Read the full media release on the Deakin Newsroom: Far from being Happy Feet, little penguins team up in deadly attacks on prey.


Faculty researchers receive Deakin’s highest honour

 Three members of the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment are among six researchers to have this year received Deakin's highest honour - Alfred Deakin Professorships.
The faculty members awarded Alfred Deakin Professorships in 2014 are:

  • Professor Matthew Barnett, Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Chair in Metallurgy.
  • Professor Graeme Hays, Chair in Marine Science.
  • Professor Ivan Stojmenovic, Professor of Computer Science.

Read more details about the 2014 Alfred Deakin Professors on the Deakin Research website: Deakin salutes research luminaries.


Faculty ARC Linkage Success

 Researchers from Deakin University’s Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment are leading three projects announced in the Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project scheme awards for funding commencing in 2014.

  • Professor Colin Barrow is leading a project concerning processing of omega-3 lipids from fish and algal oils. With Professor Neil Barnett and colleagues.
  • Professor Andy T.D. Bennett is leading a project concerning transmission of avian-borne diseases. With Professor Marcel Klaassen, Associate Professor Kate Buchanan, Dr Mathew Berg; Professor Martyn Jeggo and Professor Ken Walder (Faculty of Health) and colleagues.
  • Professor Svetha Venkatesh is leading a project concerning IT-based interventions for autism. With Associate Professor Dinh Phung and colleagues.

Overall, the University will lead seven projects and collaborate on a number of others, resulting in over $2.5 million in funding. More details can be found on the Deakin Research website.


Important migratory corridor for endangered marine species off north-west Australia

 Flatback turtle. Photograph courtesy Patrick Becker.

The value of Australia’s newly established network of marine parks has been highlighted by an international project that used satellites to track the vulnerable flatback sea turtle.

Researchers from Deakin University, Swansea University (United Kingdom) and Pendoley Environmental consultancy used advanced satellite tracking systems to record the passage of more than 70 flatbacks off the north-west Australian coastline.

A high value migratory corridor, more than 1,000 kilometres in length, was pinpointed, with about half the corridor contained within the network of marine reserves.

‘Our findings show that much of the flatback turtle’s transit passage - between its breeding colonies and foraging grounds - falls within the newly established Commonwealth Marine Reserve network,’ Deakin University animal movement expert Professor Graeme Hays says.

‘These findings will help refine ongoing conservation planning to protect this wide-ranging turtle species using the Australian coast, including the identification of high use areas outside the existing reserve network.’

Read more about the research in the full media release.

Watch an interview with Professor Hayes on the ABC news website.


Exhibition showcases students’ design excellence

 Paper Space, the School of Architecture and Built Environment’s annual exhibition showcasing outstanding work from 2013 undergraduate and master’s degree students, was held in November last year.

Visions for buildings close to home in Geelong and as far away as the Arctic Circle were brought to life in the exhibition. Among the creative works on display were redesigns of the Geelong Yacht Club, Jan Juc Surf Life Saving Club, Geelong laneways and buildings as well as designs created in answer to international briefs, skyscrapers in Hong Kong and the San Francisco fire house.

The exhibition’s opening night was a chance to celebrate the students’ hard work. Deakin Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jane den Hollander, officially opened the exhibition. Over 300 guests attended the opening including many of the Geelong mayoral candidates, members of the Geelong Council, CEO of the City of Greater Geelong, as well as representatives of industry, students, staff, family and friends.

The exhibition was open to the public for 10 days with more than 550 people visiting during this time. The School of Architecture and Built Environment would like to acknowledge the hard work of the Paper Space Team and congratulate our students on the success of Paper Space 2013.


IT security a rewarding career choice

 The achievements of Deakin School of Information Technology PhD student Veelasha Moonsamy have been highlighted in an article published on specialty IT news site CSO Online.

Originally from Mauritius, Veelasha did her Bachelor of Information Technology (IT Security) at Deakin and then an honours thesis on malicious software. Her PhD thesis is exploring the privacy and security of users' personal information on smartphones.

The article highlighted Veelasha’s success in being awarded two (ISC)2 Foundation scholarships: in 2012 an (ISC)2 Foundation Graduate Research Project scholarship and in 2013 an (ISC)2 Foundation Women's Scholarship, one of only three awarded worldwide. The (ISC)2 Foundation is part of (ISC)2, a global organisation which describes itself as the ‘largest not-for-profit membership body of certified information and software security professionals’.

Read the full article about Veelasha by David Braue on the CSO website.


Rosella research makes for colourful cover story

 A paper co-authored by Deakin University researchers and published in The Journal of Experimental Biology (JEB) about how parrots see their colours was also selected as that issue’s cover story and featured in the journal’s ‘Inside JEB’ section.

Dr Ben Knott, Dr Mathew Berg, Associate Professor Kate Buchanan and Professor Andy T. D. Bennett from the Centre of Integrative Ecology in Deakin’s School of Life and Environmental Sciences collaborated with colleagues from Western Australia and the United Kingdom on the paper, which was published in JEB’s 1 December 2013 issue.

‘We were studying the colour vision of the Adelaide rosella to lead in to a bigger study assessing whether the considerable colour differences in plumage observed in the crimson rosella - a single species group in south-eastern Australia that comprises crimson, yellow and Adelaide rosellas - corresponded to differences in how the birds perceived colour,’ Dr Knott explains.

‘First, using custom-built microspectrophotometers in London and at the Waurn Ponds campus, we measured the colour sensitivity of individual cells in the rosella retina. Following this, we sequenced the light-sensitive proteins in the eye, and found sequences that could potentially affect the function of these proteins, and that were unique not only to birds, but unique to all vertebrates. These sequences are now the basis for an ongoing comparative study.’

On the basis of the paper, a photograph of an Adelaide morph of the crimson rosella by Deakin Research Fellow Dr Raoul Ribot was chosen to appear on the front cover of the issue.

Follow this link to the issue on the JEB website.

Knott, B., Davies, W. I. L., Carvalho, L. S., Berg, M. L., Buchanan, K. L., Bowmaker, J. K., Bennett, A. T. D. and Hunt, D. M. (2013). How parrots see their colours: novelty in the visual pigments of Platycercus elegans. Journal of Experimental Biology 216, 4454-4461.

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