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Country: Australia
54 Projects, page 1 of 11
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/M00743X/1
    Funder Contribution: 14,109 GBP

    The oceans are not warming evenly and those areas that are warming fastest are becoming the world's natural laboratories for research to increase scientific understanding, knowledge and tools to allow us to adapt wisely, efficiently and effectively in order to meet the challenges of a warming environment. Such 'hotspots' occur in all regions of the globe, from polar to tropical, and affect developed and developing countries. However, poor coastal communities in low-income countries are those where the impact will be felt most acutely, and where impacts of climate change are most likely to exacerbate existing inequalities and social tension. There are no simple, conventional solutions to addressing adaptation to climate change in poor communities. Practical experience and scientific information from these areas is limited and there is an urgent need to improve and test the theories that underpins existing efforts. This project will develop an innovative rapid approach to integrate and apply global scientific and local information and knowledge. The approach will be applied in Madagascar, one of the poorest countries affected by a marine hotspot and will work as a case study for applying to other global hotspots. At its core is an expert workshop, which will bring together a multi-disciplinary team of world-leading researchers with experience from climate change adaptation on the larger, global-scale, regional experts and specialists with detailed knowledge of the hotspot area, and community representatives who can provide a rich local understanding, knowledge and context. Together they will identify key areas of environmental change and their likely consequences for local populations. They will explore adaptive solutions, develop recommendations for future action to minimize societal impacts on low-income communities in the hotspot region, and most use experiences and information from this participatory process to develop and test current theories for developing climate change adaptation strategies. The scientific insights generated by the research will be included in a synthesis paper, and in dissemination/awareness materials targeting the local audience. While this project will not be able to test current theories by implementation, it will provide a valuable opportunity for intensive discussion and exchange on adaptive solutions between experts in the theory and coastal stakeholders who are intimately familiar with their own circumstances and needs. The outcomes from the project will therefore enrich current understanding of adaptation and adaptive capacity and generate proposals for revising it where necessary.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/K004832/1
    Funder Contribution: 4,526 GBP

    The WSN group in the E&EE department at the University of Leeds has published techniques to progress and enhance the performance of localization systems. These techniques have been published in top quality international journals. The group would like to extend these ideas and realize these techniques to offer enhancement to all localization systems. The Australia China Research Centre for Wireless communications has also been very active on the world stage in developing novel positioning and localization solutions. Building a collaboration between the two groups will benefit UK, European and Austrialian industries and enhance academic standing. The theoretical ideas will be demonstrated and optimised for practical systems.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: BB/K005340/1
    Funder Contribution: 3,800 GBP


  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/I016953/1
    Funder Contribution: 50,879 GBP

    Human DNA is carried by 23 pairs of chromosomes in every cell of the body, while chimpanzees have 24 pairs. Some deer have three pairs, and some ferns have 600. How and why chromosome numbers change over evolutionary time has always been mysterious. Having different numbers of chromosomes may prevent separate species from interbreeding, or even change the rate of evolution by altering how thoroughly parents' genes are 'shuffled' by sex. The smallest known chromosome number for any species is also the smallest imaginable: 1 pair, found in the jack-jumper ant, Myrmecia croslandi. This is a large, highly aggressive Australian ant with a powerful, occasionally lethal sting. Jack jumper ants are also unusual in that very closely related species have widely different numbers of chromosomes despite being very similar in body size, appearance and behaviour. We are members of an international consortium, led by Chinese researchers, that is currently sequencing the genome of the ant with only one pair of chromosomes as part of the 1000 Genomes Project, which has stated aims to complete the sequencing and assembly of 500 animal genomes by 2012. Data from the Myrmecia croslandi genome project will start to become available within the next year and a full genome assembly is expected before the end of 2011. We want to use this new information as soon as it becomes available, to explore the genomes of closely related ants that have far more chromosomes; in one case as many as 18-32 pairs. Although we know that the ants have different chromosome numbers, we know almost nothing about the genomes that make up these chromosomes. We will address these issues by estimating the genome sizes for the different species and by sequencing the genome of a second species, with many more chromosomes than M. croslandi to allow us to ask: Do ants with more chromosomes have more DNA overall, or do they just divide the same amount into smaller pieces? Do ants with more chromosomes have more 'junk' or repetitive DNA? We will also develop methods which can be used in future work to determine whether ants with different chromosome numbers can interbreed. Ants are highly diverse and important components of almost all land ecosystems and show extremely specialised social behaviour. Our work will increase understanding of the evolution and diversification of the ants, and also of genome and chromosome evolution in other species.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/J01141X/1
    Funder Contribution: 51,833 GBP

    Australia has experienced over the past 18 months rainfall of a scale and intensity that is unprecedented in recorded history. This rainfall event has now abruptly come to an end, and access to large parts of the Australian interior has just become possible The access to the Australian interior at a time of unprecedented ecological boom, when rare mass flowering and breeding events occur, presents us with a unique research opportunity. However, we need to act fast to initiate monitoring of this rapidly unfolding event or we will miss the first breeding season following the unusual wet period, and we will lose an opportunity to collect data at this period, against which subsequent monitoring during more normal, drier periods can be compared. We plan to study the impacts of this rare event on the breeding distribution and abundance of nomadic terrestrial birds, i.e. those species that have no fixed breeding range but instead follow the availability of resources around the landscape, breeding whenever good conditions arise. Australia's nomadic terrestrial land-birds make up the majority of terrestrial nomadic species, in Australia and elsewhere around the world. With no previous census of the impacts of these types of extreme climatic fluctuations on the terrestrial species across climatic and habitat gradients, and with no plans in place to monitor this year's rapidly progressing events, we are in danger of missing out on an opportunity to study an unique and unfolding natural event of global importance; one that could prove invaluable in projecting the impacts of future climate change on ecosystems. Because of the nature of Australia's climate, there is a steep gradient from wet to dry environments as you progress inland from the coast, such that you can cover large climatic gradients in relatively short distances. We propose a series of long-distance (1000km) transects to study the impacts of the recent climate events on the breeding, distribution and abundance of terrestrial bird species into the central and southern interior regions of Australia, normally the driest places in the continent. By selecting a series of transects covering climatic and environmental gradients from the interior towards the coastal margins, we will sample across a large space-for-time replacement gradient. The first transects need to be initiated urgently to monitor species distributions during this period of abundant water. If this monitoring is delayed even by a couple more months, then it is likely that we will miss this important event, and lose an important baseline dataset against which to compare subsequent changes. It is imperative that we commence the work shortly, as some species (such as black-tailed native hen) will begin to breed soon after the rains have finished whereas honeyeaters, the most diverse passerine bird group in Australia as well as many raptors such as letter-winged kites will now be starting to set up territories for breeding in the spring (which occurs in about 6 weeks time). Our main objectives are: To collect point abundance data for terrestrial bird species along a series of transects spanning climatic and habitat gradients during a period of unprecedented water availability, to relate short-term species occurrence data to climatic and environmental variables. To put in place a census strategy that can be repeated in the future to detect the impacts of climatic changes on both short- and long-term population changes in nomadic species To analyse and publish these results quickly to (i) highlight the magnitude of the ecological impacts of this climatic events and (ii) provide the first ever distribution maps and habitat association models for nomadic species in an ecological boom time. We anticipate that this pilot work will lead to follow-on funding to study the longer term impacts of these climatic boom-bust cycles on the distribution and abundance of nomadic and mobile species.

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