8:00pm – Thursday, June 18 on ABC1
Tasmanian Devil The Tasmanian Devil is afflicted by a unique type of contagious cancer that’s never been seen in nature before. In just ten years, the Devil Facial Tumour Disease has spread to more than 60 percent of Tasmania and wiped out three-quarters of the Devil population. The Devil is Tasmania’s top predator and the largest carnivorous marsupial left on the planet. It rears its young in a pouch that faces backwards, climbs trees, and can eat nearly half its body weight in less than an hour. But the future of this unique creature faces an unprecedented threat and unless the spread of the cancer can be stopped the devils could be wiped out with devastating effect to Tasmania’s ecosystems. Mark Horstman reveals new research from an unexpected source: human cancer geneticist, Dr Vanessa Hayes, offers a ray of hope in the fight to save the devil from extinction.
The Royal Botanic Gardens The Royal Botanic Gardens is the oldest scientific research organisation in Australia. Established in 1816, the gardens were designed to fulfil the vision of the newly arrived Governor Macquarie who wished to create an English parkland setting complete with a grand country house. Formerly an important site for Aboriginal initiation ceremonies, and at one time a small farm, the gardens are now home to almost 9,000 different species of plants. But while visitors enjoy the formal views and huge range of plants and trees, research continues behind the scenes in the spirit of discovery and preservation that has today created the largest botanical gardens in the southern hemisphere.
Paul Willis takes a guided tour with the Director of the Gardens, Tim Entwisle, to find out how their work continues to make a contribution to our scientific heritage.
Squeaky Sand Surfing scientist, Ruben Meerman, loves the beach, the surf and the sand.
He’s mastered the surf and intimately studied the physics of waves, but there’s one thing about the sand that has puzzled him for years. Why does some sand squeak, and some sand doesn’t? To discover how the squeak got into the sand, Ruben sets foot on the whitest beach in the world and meets Dr Tim Senden, who attempts to shed some light on this mystery.
Catalyst will be repeated on ABC2 – Friday, June 19 at 5:30pm