UWA Oceans Institute

National Science Week


Another National Science Week has come and gone, but the interest and engagement it has piqued will be registered for some time. OI members were heavily involved in this year’s events, with presentations and participation at UWA’s Open Day on August 14, at the Perth Science Week fair over the August weekend and in satellite events throughout the state.
At the Cultural Centre, the Perth Science Fair saw over 25,000 people attending. At the WA Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) tent, OI Artist in Residence Angela Rossen led OI PhD students Charlotte Brinkmanis, Dan van Hees, Lauren Peel and Gundula Winter to assit all those with a keen interest in the marine sciences.
Using an iscopestand to enhance the optics of smart phones by up to X25 magnification, visitors to the Perth Science Fair were able to gaze upon fernlike hydroids, feeding bryozoans and tubeworms, busy amphipods and delicate pink coralline algae. They were able to capture still and moving images on their own digital devices.
“For most people the biota of the ocean comprises iconic species like dolphins, leafy sea dragons, whales and coral reefs. They have no idea that perhaps the most important are the tiny biota that support whole systems,” Ms Rossen said.
In Broome, OI Member Professor Ryan Lowe, alongside a local astronomer, presented to the community on why the Kimberley boasts the second largest tidal movements in the world. It was a well-attended evening presentation with stars in the night sky and the Kimberley macrotide across the mudflats of Roebuck Bay.  

To the 250 strong crowd, Professor Lowe explained “the moon and sun generate the forces to produce tides around the globe, and in the Kimberley other factors play out as well. Having a very wide and relatively shallow continental shelf causes the tides to be amplified and resonate as they rise out of the deeper waters onto the shelf. In particular regions such as Collier Bay, tides are also further enhanced by the shape of the coastline that funnels the tides towards the coast”.

As part of the Science Fair in Shark Bay, OI member Caroline Ochieng-erftemeijer spoke on her research into the seagrasses of Shark Bay, to a full audience of over 100. 

Meanwhile, OI members engaged in the innovative '24 hours of Biology': an event aimed at promoting science to all ages, and for creating memorable hands on experiences around biological ideas.
This FREE event held across the August 20-21 weekend, had 12 science-filled hours on each day, with 23 events and 26 presenters involved.  OI members Charlotte Birkmanis presented on ‘How sharks rule the reef’ while Anna Cresswell presented on Ningaloo Reef.

Across the event about 300 people were entertained with talks, workshops and shows created by local Perth biologists.

Creators Stephanie Yoong and Catherine Seed were delighted with the overall success of the event, and were excited to see the public engage with the scientists behind the biology. In the future they hope to continue their work to bridge the gap between scientists and the general public by running similar events.

Read more about the latest news and activities at the UWA Oceans Institute www.oceans.uwa.edu.au/news-events/oceans-online