From little things, bigger things grow

Stacy DeppelerAntarctic marine life from krill to whales, seals, penguins and seabirds all ultimately depend on phytoplankton for their food, but a study published recently in the journal Frontiers has revealed these single-cell plants at the base of the food chain are being affected by a range of climate-induced stressors. Warming seas, increased ocean acidification, and reductions in salinity and sea ice are all posing a threat to the health of marine ecosystems.

The study was a collaborative project between PhD student Stacy Deppeler from Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, and researchers from the Australian Antarctic Division, and the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, to better understand how ecosystems are adapting in response to changes in phytoplankton communities in the Southern Ocean.         Continue reading From little things, bigger things grow

Maggs to speak as FASAVA Congress 2017

Picture1Eminent veterinary ophthalmologist and award-winning teacher David Maggs returns to Australia to speak at this year’s FASAVA Congress on the Gold Coast.

Maggs grew up in Lilydale, north-east of Melbourne, and graduated with honours from the University of Melbourne in 1998. He spent two years working in mixed practice back in Lilydale, before locuming throughout the United Kingdom for a further three years.

He then moved to the United States, where he completed a small animal internship and then an equine internship at Colorado State University, and a research fellowship and comparative ophthalmology residency at the University of Missouri. Continue reading Maggs to speak as FASAVA Congress 2017

Devil vaccine a step closer

Greg Woods and Bruce Lyons.

Greg Woods and Bruce Lyons.

The results of an international study published recently in Scientific Reports has confirmed the fatal facial tumour disease that has decimated populations of Tasmanian devils in the wild for over 20 years, can be cured using immunotherapy.

Led by the University of Tasmania’s Menzies Institute for Medical Research, the study involved scientists from the Universities of Sydney, Southampton, Southern Denmark and Cambridge, as well as those from UTAS’s School of Medicine, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, and CSL Ltd.

The aim of the study was to ‘explore immunisation protocols to enhance protective responses against DFTD’, but due to devils’ endangered status, only a limited number of animals are available for research purposes. This five-year trial, that tested four immunisation protocols sequentially, was therefore restricted to nine healthy and genetically different animals, some of which had reached an advanced age. Continue reading Devil vaccine a step closer

Australian Turf Club inquiry launched

Stewards from Racing NSW have opened an inquiry in to alleged animal cruelty by the Mounted Division of the Australian Turf Club (ATC).

Allegations of mistreatment, illegal sedation and cruelty to horses surfaced in a Sydney Morning Herald report last month.

Racing NSW began to act following a mid-January incident at the Falls Music & Arts Festival near Byron Bay, where a horse and its female rider were injured.

Six horses at the centre of the allegations have been transported from their Centennial Park stable to a spelling farm while the investigation is in progress.

Horses in the ATC’s Mounted Division are retrained from racehorses retrained for everyday life. Continue reading Australian Turf Club inquiry launched

Outcry over Massey chancellor’s ‘sexist’ comments

kelly-chris-chancellorMassey University chancellor Chris Kelly has been criticised over comments reported in Rural News which claimed a woman graduate was of less worth than a full-time vet.

The article also contained news of Massey’s plan to add practical aspects of farming and veterinary work into degrees from 2019, highlighting the University’s focus on agriculture, a move to combat claims that while new graduates are academically qualified, they lack practical ability.

In the article, Kelly said the majority of veterinary students and graduates at the University were women, and that more women students proceed to second year.

“That’s because women mature earlier than men, work hard and pass,” he said. “When I went through vet school, many years ago, it was dominated by men; today it’s dominated by women. That’s fine, but the problem is one woman graduate is equivalent to two-fifths of a full-time equivalent vet throughout her life because she gets married and has a family, which is normal. So, though we’re graduating a lot of vets, we’re getting a high fallout rate later on,” Continue reading Outcry over Massey chancellor’s ‘sexist’ comments