Tasmania’s famed natural environment will play host to a series of science related podcasts for avid walkers and science fans to enjoy.
The Sci Art Walks series produced by Beaker Street will explore all facets of Tasmanian science and aims to get people out and about in nature.
In the North-West walking fans will have the pleasure of learning about Tasmanian devil facial tumours while wandering through Cradle Mountain or if a seaside stroll is more your speed you can traverse the Nut at Stanley while learning about muttonbirds.
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University of Tasmania Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies marine sciences lecturer Dr Jennifer Lavers jumped at the chance to share her passion for seabirds.
“I get to learn a lot about marine species in particular seabirds, or muttonbirds, but it is not that often that I get to share these facts and figures about these birds with the broader community,” she said.
“This just really presented an incredible opportunity to get that information to the masses.”
Dr Lavers said people listening to her episode of the podcast will be get to learn about the scientific and cultural significance of muttonbirds.
She said listeners will also be treated to a variety of quirky science tales.
“The muttonbird is often an overlooked animal, and I can’t really blame people or fault them for that, they are an old dark bird, they don’t have fancy plumage …, they don’t anything particularly weird or wacky at least not on land,” Dr Lavers said.
“But they play a really fundamental role in our collective history … and they do actually have these incredible behaviours that I think once people know about them they are just as cool as a peacock … or an albatross.”
UTAS Menzies Institute for Medical Research senior research fellow Dr Andy Flies plays narrator for a walk through Cradle Mountain in another podcast from the Beaker Street series.
Dr Flies’ podcast focuses on the fight to save Tasmania’s iconic devil from what can be a largely unseen threat, devil facial tumour disease.
He said the walks program allowed scientists the chance to effectively communicate their research with people across the globe.
“I enjoy doing science communication and outreach – I think scientists are increasingly coming around to the importance of that,” Dr Flies said.
“In regular science you do a lot of things that nobody hears about and there is a lot of failures.
“When you have to do communication with other people outside of research it can be pretty rewarding to see people are interested in what you are doing.”
Earlier this year Dr Flies, and his colleagues, made a breakthrough in the fight to find a cure for devil facial tumour disease.
He said this podcast would explore that breakthrough as part of a more general discussion about immunology and biodiversity.
“It covers quite a bit, the topic is Tasmanian Devils, and it is set in Tasmania with Cradle Mountain in mind, but it covers a lot of other immunology, infectious disease and touches a bit of coronavirus because that is on everybody’s mind,” Dr Flies said.
“A lot of that stuff is all related.”
There are nine walks and podcast combinations available around the state – for a full list of locations and scientists visit Sciartswalks.com.au.
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