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Desert Frogs by lindayy


Desert Frogs

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									ISSN 1329-7759
RSWA Proceedings                                                                                      May 2005
This publication should be catalogued under "Proceedings of the Royal Society of Western Australia"

                                     7:00 pm, Monday May 16th 2005
                            Royal Society of Western Australia Ordinary Meeting
                                    Kings Park Administration Building
                                        Off Fraser Ave., Kings Park

                                                    Desert Frogs
                                                  Dr Graham Thompson

                                    School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure
                                   Edith Cowan University, Joondalup Campus

In this presentation, Dr Thompson will be discussing a paper by
Kellie McMaster, Victoria Cartledge, Graham Thompson and Philip Withers

Frogs are, surprisingly, often more numerous in Australian deserts than reptiles and small mammals.
However, we know very little about how these arid-adapted frogs survive the very hot, dehydrating
conditions of our deserts. The most common behavioural adaptation seen in desert frogs is burrowing
and the frogs are only surface-active after heavy rains when access to deserts is very difficult. Until
now, we have not been able to locate burrowed frogs so know little about their burrowing ecology
and physiology. With the assistance of aboriginals in the Gibson Desert we were able to dig up frogs
that had been underground for many months. This allowed us to explore their microhabit and the
physiological adaptations that enable these frogs to survive often for years underground. We will
explain the behavioural, ecological, physiological, reproductive and anatomical adaptations that
enable cocoon forming and non-cocoon forming frogs to survive for year’s underground waiting for

Dr Thompson is a former President of the RSWA; he gained a Bachelor of .Education and Masters of
.Education in Physical Education at the University of Western Australia, and later completed a Post
Graduate Diploma in Science, and a PhD at the University of Western Australia in Zoology. His
principal research interests are in ecophysiology and ecology of reptiles and frogs (with a special
interest in the effects of size and shape), and goannas. More recently, he has become interested in
using reptile assemblages as bio-indicators for measuring mine site rehabilitation success and the
diversity of reptile assemblages in arid areas of Australia. He currently supervises post-graduate
students at Edith Cowan University and the University of Western Australia in his fields of interest.
Members, guests and visitors are welcome; there is no need to RSVP

             This issue of the RSWA Proceedings was edited by Margaret Brocx <>

Isn’t Science Wonderful!                                  magnifying       projector,      Ian      elegantly
Ordinary Monthly Meeting 18th April 2005                  demonstrated how zinc, normally considered
                                                          reactive in hydrochloric acid, was relatively
Forty four members, families, guests, and                 unreactive as pure zinc. With the addition of
visitors attended the Ordinary Monthly Meeting            copper, the corrosion of zinc with hydrochloric
of the Royal Society of Western Australia on              acid the reaction was promoted. In the food
the 18th April 2005 to hear Emeritus Professor            preservation industry, for the manufacture of
Ian Ritchie present his talk”.                            food canisters, ideally, one needs a metal not to
                                                          corrode in contact with food, and the interior of
Ian commenced with what he considered to be               the steel canister needs a protective layers that
chemistry’s most notable achievements: clean              will not corrode in acid, will not catalyse
water and ample food, and ample food derives              reaction in the steel, is not toxic, and is easy to
from the success in the large scale industrial            apply. Tin provides these services. Spon in
preservation of food. Ian went on to build his            1988 developed the technique of heating iron in
talk around the “tin can”, colloquially now               tin chloride to develop a coating of tin, and the
called “tins”, or “cans”, but etymologically              same process is still in use today. A personal
degraded from the original term “tinned                   historical context to the longevity of
canisters”, meaning the tin coating of steel              preservation of tinned steel was provided by Ian
canisters. The tinning of canisters is the story          with anecdotal snippets from the Boer war, and
of food preservation and metal chemistry, and             tins in good condition (formerly containing
integrates a variety of chemical principles in            chocolate, and bearing Queen Victoria’s
every day life.                                           image). The talk ended with Ian Ritchie
                                                          providing information and insight on a variety
Bacteria decomposes food, and to arrest or slow           of other chemical processes and products in
this decay, food is usually processed one of              every day use and how chemistry is an integral
three ways: (1) by refrigeration, which slows             part of Earth, the biosphere, and human
the rate of reaction; (2) by killing the bacteria         industrial and social activities, from the
through osmosis (by coating it in sugar, or in            predatory boring of clams by snails, to the
salt - hence as a preservative salt in the past was       shark Bay coquina, stalagmites and stalactites,
an important commodity); or (3) by canning it             geological metamorphism and marble, to quick
in a steel canister (i.e., heating the food to kill       lime and the common grave burial of Mozart.
the bacteria, then sealing it in a steel container        After question time, the evening ended with the
to prevent further bacteria from entering).               audience     partaking      f    beverages     and
Canisters of food are easily manufactured, the            conversation.
canning process is relatively inexpensive, and
metal canisters are strong, and so this style of
food preservation has become popular.                            Journal of the Royal Society
However, as food is commonly acidic, the                         of Western Australia
protective steel canisters corrode, allowing for
openings to develop in the protective covering,
                                                          EDITOR’S REPORT
allowing the entry of microorganisms, and                 April 2005
bacteria, and contaminating the food with                 K Meney
metals. This problem is resolved by applying a             email address: <>
protective metal layer on the inside of the
                                                          Manuscripts Accepted:
canister, but most metals in contact with steel
                                                          Stylidium validum (Stylidiaceae): a new trigger
promote its corrosion.          To illustrate this
                                                          plant from Western Australia’s South-western
principle, accompanied by his wife as an
                                                          Interzone. Juliet A Wege
assistant, and with the use of a light-illuminated

                    The year 2005 has been             4316,
                    declared the world-year-of-
                    physics (WYP2005) and
                    physics societies around           Author of The Big Bang, Simon Singh tours
                    the world. This month,             Australia
                    WA is sponsoring lectures          Simon Singh has the uncanny ability of making
                    on relativity, the photo           science and mathematics accessible to the
                    electric effect and how this       masses. His most successful documentary for
led to talking movies; as well as a science fair       the BBC has been nominated for an Emmy
and a workshop where students teach students.          award and won a BAFTA, and his first book is
                                                       the only mathematics book to become a no. 1
May highlights:                                        bestseller in Britain, and has been translated
Celebrating Einstein's 1905 Discoveries                into over 20 languages.
Einstein's explanation of the photoelectric
effect not only earned him the Nobel Prize but         Simon will be visiting Australia to discuss his
is also used today in everyday applications in         book, Big Bang, which tells the story of the
our homes, such as TV remote controls, solar           brilliant minds that deciphered the mysteries of
cells and electronics gadgets.                         the Big Bang. Albert Einstein once said: 'The
                                                       most incomprehensible thing about the universe
Igor Bray will be using interactive animations         is that it is comprehensible.' Simon Singh
and demonstrations during the public lecture.          believes geniuses like Einstein are not the only
He is Director of the Centre for Atomic,               people able to grasp the physics that govern the
Molecular & Surface Physics                            universe. We all can. You can hear Simon at
4 May 7-8pm & 6 May 1.30-2.30pm                        the following events:
Kim Beasley Lecture Theatre, Bush Court,               Wednesday 1 June, 1pm Perth Dymocks
Murdoch University, South Street                       Claremont
Contact: RSVP Christina Tan on (08) 9360               Wednesday 1 June, 7.30pm School Event
6078 or                   University of WA, University Club.

Kids Teach Kids Best                                   To book for any of these events, go to his
Until June 2005, WA                                    website For more details, go to Simon’s
Ten primary schools from Lynwood, Parkwood             website:
and Ferndale in Western Australia are getting
together to teach students to teach. Students          Einstein Year in Australia is an initiative of the
from Year 8 classes will be trained to                 Australian Institute of Physics and is supported
demonstrate a number of hands-on physics               by the Department of Education, Science and
experiments with small groups of primary               Training. For more information visit
school children.                              or email
The experiments will illustrate the physics
behind the greenhouse effect, rocketry,                Sunday 11th June Fungi Walk
communications and pollution. The secondary            Members are reminded that RSWA has
schools students will also prepare posters,            organised an excursion to be run by Dr Bougher
presentations and charts to accompany their            on Sunday 11th June, at Melon Hill in
demonstrations.                                        Swanbourne as part of PUBF project, and
                                                       information about the PUBF project is enclosed
Contact: Dr. Sarath Chandran, Head of Science,         here. Places are limited, so it is important to
Lynwood S.H. School, Metcalfe Road,                    RSVP as soon as possible. Please advise
Parkwood 6147. W.A. on 94571222 / 9354                 Margaret Brocx
                                    RSWA Events Calendar

This space will be updated each month in order to provide RSWA members and guests with a calendar
of up-coming events which will include ordinary monthly meeting, and special events such as Public
Forums, Symposia, and excursions. Watch this space!

Date             Time        Venue                           Event
May 16th         7 pm        Kings Park                      Dr G Thompson et al: Desert Frogs
June 11th        10 – 12     Melon Hill Swanbourne           RSWA/Friends of Allen Park Fungi Walk
                                                             Lead by Dr Neale Bougher. RSVP essential
June 20th        7 pm        Kings Park                      Dr Colin Raston: Green chemistry
July 18th        7 pm        UWA Department of Zoology       AGM
August 15th      7 pm        Kings Park                      ASWA: Astronomy?
August           TBA         TBA                             ASWA: daytime Astronomy viewing?
September 19th   7 pm        Kings Park                      Salinity in WA
October 17th     7 pm        Kings Park                      TBA
November 21st    7 pm        Kings Park                      TBA
December TBA     TBA         Xmas Function                   TBA

                                      Perth Public Forum

                                Keeping Cane Toads Out of WA

 Cane toads are nearing the northern WA border and there is a need for urgent action. How we
  can stop them advancing and what it will mean for WA’s ecology should they make it here.

                                            Guest speakers

                                 Mr Tim Winton, leading Australian author

                                    Mr Russell Guého, Northern Habitat

                    Mr Allan Thompson, Save Endangered East Kimberley Species

                            Mr Graeme Sawyers, Northern Territory Frogwatch

                           Alexander Library Theatre, Francis St, Northbridge

                                         Saturday 4 June 2005

                                          11:00am – 1:00pm

                        RSVP: 9420 7266 or

                  Perth Urban Bushland Fungi (PUBF) is a collaborative project begun
                  in 2004 between the Urban Bushland Council and the WA Naturalists’ Club in
                  conjunction with the WA Herbarium, with financial support from Lotterywest.
                  Over the past 10 years, many well attended fungi forays and workshops have been
                  held in urban bushlands of Perth. These events have highlighted growing requests
                  by community and professional land managers to address the generally low level of
                  awareness and knowledge about fungi and their general exclusion from bushland
                  management. PUBF addresses this gap and aims to improve awareness and
                  knowledge so that fungi become an integral part of long-term urban bushland

       Activities of the PUBF project include:
   •   Working with community groups to collect data on fungi and build inventories of fungi for
       Perth bushlands, in many cases for the first time.

   •   Increasing community skills and knowledge of fungi in bushland via PUBF fungi kits and
       posters, forays, biological surveys, workshops, university extension courses, feedback
       packages and presentations to bush care groups.

   •   Teaching community group members to identify fungi and conduct fungi surveys.

   •   Building an accurately identified reference collection of fungi at the WA Herbarium
       accompanied by high quality data.

   •   Fostering a volunteer and salaried fungi workforce in the field, laboratory and herbarium.

   •   Encouraging Federal, State, and Local Governments to integrate fungi into natural resource
       management strategies for the Perth Region.

Perth’s urban bushlands lie within one of the world's 34 biodiversity hotspots for conservation priority.
Our region is the only hotspot in Australia. The bushlands are an important natural refuge for many
fungi. The fungi underpin the long-term health and resilience of the bushlands. Knowledge of the
fungi and other organisms that help keep the region’s plants healthy is essential for effective
conservation management of this hotspot region.

Development of an on-line fungi information base for the Perth region and continued community
participation and education are major priorities for upcoming phases of PUBF.

Want to participate?
Contact Roz, the Community Education Officer, on 9334 0500 or by email at
or Jac, the Project Support Officer, on 9420 7207 or by email at Visit the PUBF
website which will be on-line very soon.

Perth Urban Bushland Fungi – a collaborative project between the Urban Bushland
Council and the WA Naturalists’ Club in conjunction with the CALM WA Herbarium, is….....

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