Ep 38. Mr Do Bee, Katydids and Superstars of STEM with Kate Umbers

Stop murdering invertebrates. OK? Good.

Dr Kate Umbers is an animal behaviour expert from Western Sydney University who is fighting to make sure that invertebrates are recognised as the wonderful creatures they are. In an interview with In Situ Science she says that perhaps the arts are the best way of teaching people about the majesty of the other 99% of the animal kingdom. By forming meaningful relationships between people and invertebrates, we can start appreciating them as things other than the creepy, crawly stereotypes they have been given.

Kate along with 29 other women across Australia is a ‘Superstar of STEM’, recognised by Science and Technology Australia for their contribution to science. These superstars are acting as role models to increase the representation of women in science. We talk about her experiences with the Superstars of STEM initiative as well as her breakthrough role on Romper Room as a child.

Follow Kate on Twitter @kateumbers and find out more about her research at www.kateumbers.com

Find out more about the Superstars of STEM scienceandtechnologyaustralia.org.au at or check out #SUPERSTARSOFSTEM

Music: ‘Strange Stuff’ by Sonic Wallpaper – www.sonicwallpaper.bandcamp.com


Ep 37. Career changes, science buses and Buster the Skink with Siobhan Dennison

Being a research scientist means surviving in a higly competitive professional environment. Transitioning out of this environment into other career pathways can be a challenging, rewarding and life changing experience. Siobhan Dennison started her career as a conservation genetecist, studying the ecology of skinks in inland Australia. She has now made the decision to move into science education and use her skills in science communcation to share her passion for science with school kids.

In a candid interview with In Situ Science we chat about Siobhan’s transition from academia to education and her new job in regional science outreach. We’re also interrupted by a large dog with a squeaky toy…

You can follow Siobhan on Twitter @Sib_D or find out more about UNE Discovery on their website.

Find out more at www.insituscience.com

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Music: ‘Strange Stuff’ by Sonic Wallpaper – www.sonicwallpaper.bandcamp.com

Ep 36. Lumping dinosaurs and paleo name-dropping with Nic Campione

Reconstructing the Earth’s history from fragments of information is an epic task requiring a variety of approaches. Paleontologists combine technological approaches, quantitative methods and artistic visualisations to reconstruct what dinosaur bodies would have looked like using fossil remains.

Nicolás Campione is a quantitative paleontologist at the University of New England in Australia that undergoes this detective work to understand how animals have changed over time. Using this information he studies how animals have responded to environmental change and extinction events. This information can enable us to make predictions about future environmental change will affect life on earth and how we might be able to prepare for these changes.

Nic Campione in action. Photo by Beauchamp photography

You can follow Nic on Twitter @PaleoNic or visit his website www.nicolascampione.weebly.com

Music: ‘Strange Stuff’ by Sonic Wallpaper – www.sonicwallpaper.bandcamp.com

Feature Image: Nicolás Campione. Photo by David Evans

Ep 35. Microbats, bushfires and learning Norwegian with Clare Stawski


In the face of rapid environmental change scientists are racing to study how animals might be affected by change, or how they can adapt to deal with change. Recent discoveries have shown that changes in temperature are only one consideration and other aspects, such as changes in the frequency of bushfires can have a large impact on animal life histories. Small mammals can use fires as a cue to begin torpor or hibernation, how they will respond to increased fires in Australia is of an immense conservation concern.

Dr Clare Stawski is a mammalogist and ecologist who has been working at the University of New England but is now about to begin a new position at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway. In an interview with In Situ Science she chats with us about what this big move means for her career and personal life.

You can follow Clare on Twitter @ClareStawski

Music: ‘Strange Stuff’ by Sonic Wallpaper – www.sonicwallpaper.bandcamp.com

Feature Image: Yellow-Footed Antechinus by Jacopo Werther/Wikicommons

Ep 34. Natural history, sinister mates and the school of hard knocks with Greg Holwell

In a publish or perish environment scientists are finding it harder to spend time out in the field doing pure exploration. This is a great shame as we can never predict where the next great scientific discovery will come from. The wonders of the natural world around us are the ulitmate source of discovery, but for this to happen we need to find the time to go out in the field and explore.

Dr Greg Holwell is an invertebrate zoologist and natural historian from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. In this interview with In Situ Science he stresses the importance of spending time making field observations and having them inform your scientific enquiry. He also chats about the importance of being an effective mentor for students, and the responsibilities involved with fostering the next generation of great scientists.

Find out more about Greg’s research at www.gregholwell.com

Music: ‘Strange Stuff’ by Sonic Wallpaper – www.sonicwallpaper.bandcamp.com

Ep 33. Frog calls, monsoons and haunted tennis courts with Jodi Rowley

Spending months on end trudging through monsoonal South East Asian Rainforests is a far cry from the suburban upbringing of Jodi Rowley. However travelling across the globe to remote locations in search of frogs is all part of the job as she now works as a herpetologist at the Australian Museum. She regularly spends time in South East Asia documenting the biodiversity of amphibians.

This research is crucial now as we are currently witnessing rapid declines in frog populations world wide due to climate change and habitat modifications. Only by understanding what species are out there, and where they live can we begin to conserve them before they are lost forever.

Follow Jodi on twitter @jodirowley

Or visit www.jodirowley.com

Music: ‘Strange Stuff’ by Sonic Wallpaper – www.sonicwallpaper.bandcamp.com

Ep 32. Life Vs Science

Being a scientist is not just a profession, it is a way of life. It is the searing agony you feel when you find inaccuracies in science fiction movies. It is checking your pedometer hourly, not because you have to, but because you want to.

The Sydney Science Festival 2017 rocked on from the 10th to the 20th of August. During this time, In Situ Science hosted “Life vs Science” a live podcast recording at The Camelot Lounge in Sydney. A wonderful audience filled the air with laughter as they learnt about science ‘behind-the-scenes’ from Jim Fishwick, Shane Hengst, Leigh Nicholson, James O’Hanlon and Alice Williamson.

This diverse panel of scientists delved into the types of research they are currently doing, early inspirations and pet peeves as scientists, and closed the night with questions from the audience. Questions include science stereotypes, the biology of the leaf and how we should deal with climate change deniers. So, join us for the highlights of the night!

Music: “Strange Stuff” by Sonic Wallpaper – www.sonicwallpaper.bandcamp.com

Mixed and Edited by Jim Fishwick


Article by Dinh-Dai Le
Dinh-Dai Le is a science student majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology. When not knee deep in science communication, you can find him on the online battlefields of Overwatch or in the mosh pits of any live music event.