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Articles categorized as ‘Macquarie University Research Programs’

Friday, June 10th, 2016

Macquarie Psychology finds people prefer thin over healthy

A new study from Macquarie University being published in PLOS ONE has found that both genders consider an unhealthily low body fat content for women as attractive; however for men, a healthy body type with a normal body fat content is considered more attractive.

The study used new techniques to measure different body shapes associated with different levels of fat and muscle, and then used computer graphics to apply these differences to photographs of real bodies. Participants then manipulated the apparent fat and muscle mass of these body photographs to indicate the shape that they thought looked the healthiest or the most attractive.

Macquarie Psychology finds people prefer thin over healthy

Composite bodies showing the average fat and muscle mass chosen as the most attractive for women and men (Image credit: Dr Ian Stephen)

“In this study we found that both male and female participants chose significantly less fat mass to optimise the attractiveness of women’s bodies than to optimise the healthy appearance of women’s bodies,” explained lead author, Mary-Ellen Brierley from the Macquarie Department of Psychology.

“Whereas for men’s bodies, participants opted for a similar amount of muscle and fat mass to optimise attractiveness and healthy appearance,” she added.

The healthy body fat range for young Caucasian women is 21-33 per cent according to previous health studies; however, research-group leader Dr Ian Stephen, also from the Department of Psychology, said that most participants selected a lower body fat range for both attractive and healthy female bodies.

“Our participants optimised a healthy-looking body composition for women at around 19 per cent fat, and a most attractive-looking body type of just 16 per cent fat. This suggests that while previous studies have found that smaller female body size generally corresponds to a greater perceived attractiveness, this observation is actually due to people’s preference for lower fat mass, rather than lower muscle mass or smaller body size in general.”

The manipulated female and male bodies in the study were of all of Caucasian appearance between the ages of 18 to 30, to minimise effects of age and ethnicity on participants’ judgements. Notably, the participants could have chosen even thinner bodies if they had wanted, but instead chose bodies just below the healthy range.

“Perceptions of face and body attractiveness are thought to reflect the health and fertility of the person, allowing us to identify healthy and fertile mates,” said Dr Stephen. “While this seems to be the case for men’s bodies, our study suggests that something else is also influencing the perceived attractiveness of women’s bodies. It could be that cultural ideas of the ‘thin ideal’ are driving down people’s perceptions of attractive body fat levels in women.”


Learn more about psychological sciences degrees at Macquarie University. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Psychology Schools Admissions Officer Adam Smith at adam@oztrekk.com.

Friday, February 12th, 2016

Whales unfazed by Macquarie scientists’ mix tape alarm tunes

An international team lead by Macquarie University researchers has found that humpback whales are not only unfazed by complex alarm sounds designed to alert them to hazards like fishing gear, they have no response to these warning sounds at all.

The research team tested whether ‘complex’ whale alarm sounds, instead of previously tested simpler ones, could influence the whales to avoid potential hazards.

Macquarie University

Vanessa Pirotta with whale alarm housing (Photo credit: Chris Stacey, Macquarie University)

“We used louder sounds combined with complex tones to see if this would work to deter the whales,” explained lead author and Macquarie Department of Biological Sciences PhD student, Vanessa Pirotta.

To test their new sounds, the researchers moored a whale alarm to single unit fishing gear, such as a lobster pot, in the middle of the so-called ‘humpback highway’ off the Sydney coast during their 2013 northern migration, and used a theodolite—a surveyor’s tool—to track the animals’ movements in response to the new alert signals. However, the whales appeared not to respond, continuing to surface and travel in the same direction as normal.

“The lack of measurable response suggests that these new types of tones are not likely to be effective in alarms intended to reduce entanglements for the northward migrating humpback whales,” Ms Pirotta said.

“While we haven’t yet cracked the whale code in terms of warning sounds, we are still learning a lot about the types of alerts that these animals will and won’t react to,” she added.

The study builds on previous work by the same research group, which tested whether a simple and commercially available whale alarm designed to warn whales about the presence of dangerous fishing equipment elicited a response in whale behaviour.

“In the previous study we wanted to see if whales would avoid fishing gear when a simple alarm was turned on versus when the alarm was off. Much like your mobile phone or GPS, the idea of a whale alarm is to alert whales of something, in this case the presence of fishing gear, so that they move away from danger,” explained Ms Pirotta.

“Unfortunately, the research suggested that simple alarm sounds were also not effective in preventing whale entanglement at least for single unit fishing gear such as lobster or crab pots as we tested,” explained Ms Pirotta.

While “Dory” made it look very easy to speak whale in Finding Nemo, it appears that scientists still have their work cut out for them when it comes to producing warning alerts in humpback lingo. However, the cause is an important one, with humpback whales frequently getting entangled during their northern migration in barriers such as shark nets, with the most recent case involving a humpback calf only months ago.

Macquarie Department of Biological Sciences

The Macquarie Department of Biological Sciences is a vibrant community of teachers, researchers and students working across a wide range of disciplines including animal behaviour, climate change, conservation, ecology, evolution, genetics and genomics, paleobiology and physiology.

Teaching and research assets include world-class modern digital labs for teaching, outstanding newly updated labs and glasshouses for plant growth experimentation, a new sea water facility for conducting experiments in marine systems, a large fauna park allowing observational studies of animals in natural environments, and a range of cutting-edge molecular biology research laboratories. The department also houses a large collection of biological specimens in its arboretum, herbarium and museum that are used for teaching and community engagement.

Macquarie University’s close proximity to Lane Cove National Park and the Macquarie Ecology Reserve also means that students can undertake practical work in the field, ensuring they develop valuable skills and problem-solving abilities, just a short walk from campus.


Would you like to study biology at Macquarie University? Contact OzTREKK Admission Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355 for more information.

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Macquarie biological sciences researchers find antibiotic resistance spreading to wildlife

Researchers have found antibiotic resistance genes are spreading to bacteria of Australian wildlife, including captive sea lions and rock wallabies, and the little penguins of Sydney Harbour.

Dr Michelle Power, from the Macquarie Department of Biological Sciences, presented the findings at the International Conference of the Wildlife Disease Association, held in Queensland on the Sunshine Coast from July 26 – 30.

Macquarie University science degrees

Captive Australian sea lions have been found to carry bacteria with antibiotic resistance genes, ultimately derived from bacteria of humans (Photo credit: Prof Rob Harcourt)

“Antibiotic resistance is one of the world’s most pressing health issues. The spread of antibiotic resistance is commonly attributed to overuse of antibiotics in both human health and animal production,” said Dr Power.

“It is worrying that we are seeing antibiotic resistance in bacteria of wild animals that have never been treated with antibiotics. Resistance genes from bacteria in humans and domestic animals are being spread through the environment to the naturally occurring bacteria of those wild animals,” she said.

Dr Power said one way the transfer of genetic resistance genes was happening was through naturally occurring mobile genetic elements called integrons, which were first discovered by Australian researchers in the late 1990s.

Integrons are able to pass genes between different species of bacteria, and can be spread through water, allowing antibiotic resistance to spread from land to marine environments. They are not deactivated by normal sewage treatment processes.

“We found the closer the contact between the wildlife with humans, the more animals within a population were carrying the antibiotic resistant bacteria. Some animals even in wild populations were carrying antibiotic resistant bacteria, a case being the little penguins of Sydney Harbour,” she said.

The Macquarie biological sciences professor said the research findings meant that if we continue to see antibiotic resistance spreading into wildlife, that antibiotic treatment of sick wild animals may not work as well.

She said there were wider implications of the research that were of concern.

“We know that the normal bacterial flora of an animal can influence its growth, development, behaviour, and even mate selection. What we don’t know is what impact we are having on wildlife through the introduction of antibiotic resistance genes to their bacteria. We also need to be asking what else wildlife is picking up from human and domestic animals in terms of bacteria or other disease agents, and if that is hurting our efforts to conserve biodiversity,” she said.

Dr Power said her research was a great illustration of the One-Health concept—that the health of humans, domestic animals and wildlife is interconnected.

She said efforts to reduce the overuse of antibiotics in humans and domestic animals were important and must be continued.

Macquarie University Department of Biological Sciences

The Macquarie Department of Biological Sciences is a department of integrative biology that integrates research and teaching across all levels of biological organisation as well as across a diversity of taxa. The department’s work links structure with function and processes that influence the evolution and ecology of organisms, using models ranging from microbes through to fungi, plants and animals. They offer comprehensive undergraduate and postgraduate education in the full range of biological disciplines, from molecules to ecosystems and the biosphere.


Would you like to study biology at Macquarie University? Contact OzTREKK Admission Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355 for more information about science degrees available at Australian universities.

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

Macquarie Psychology professor awarded Australian Laureate Fellowship

Distinguished Professor Ron Rapee, Director of the Centre for Emotional Health and a member of the Psychology Department at Macquarie University has been awarded an Australian Laureate Fellowship.

Australian psychology programs in Australia

Study psychology at Macquarie

The Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme, administered by the Australian Research Council (ARC), gives outstanding research leaders the opportunity to tackle some of the most urgent and complex research issues facing Australia and the world.

With just over $3 million in funding from this ARC Laureate fellowship, Professor Rapee’s project will aim to understand factors that increase risk and provide protection from the development of emotional distress during the adolescent years.

Adolescence is a critical stage in the development of emotional functioning, and behaviours developed at this time can influence the entire life course. Professor Rapee’s research study plans to follow a large group of teenagers over many years and will focus on risk and protective factors that are open to possible modification.

The intended outcomes seek to support the development of prevention and promotion programs and public health initiatives to maximise positive emotional development in young people. It is hoped that these will lead to increased productivity and better quality of life.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Sakkie Pretorius said, “Professor Rapee’s research is an excellent example of Macquarie University researchers conducting world-leading research with world-changing impact. The award of an Australian Laureate Fellowship is acknowledgement of the outstanding research undertaken by Ron and his team and recognition of his strong leadership in this important area of research.”

“One in five Australians suffer from mental disorders and most of these begin during the adolescent years. Understanding more about what makes some adolescents thrive while others experience difficulties will help to improve the mental health of all Australians,” said Professor Rapee.

The Centre for Emotional Health was established in 2006 and has grown to one of the world’s leading research centres studying the development and management of emotional difficulties.

Professor Rapee is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and in 2012 was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his contributions to clinical psychology.


Find out more about studying psychological sciences at Macquarie University. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Psychology Schools Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at 1-866-698-7355 or email Rachel at rachel@oztrekk.com.

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

Macquarie part of new international research partnership

The German Academic Exchange Services (DAAD) has awarded 1 million euros to support the development of a trilateral strategic research partnership between the University of Hamburg (Germany), Macquarie University and Fudan University (China).

The funding, to be provided over four years, will support a range of activities including providing international training opportunities for Masters students and PhD candidates, the development of dual and joint degree programs and facilitating joint research initiatives.

Macquarie University, Australia

Learn more about Macquarie University

The trilateral partnership between Macquarie, Hamburg and Fudan started through Cotutelle and Joint PhD arrangements between the three institutions. The research partnership provides staff and students from all three universities opportunities for professional growth and exchange, and for collaborative research and publications.  So far, the partnership has identified research projects in areas such as urban development, marine and coastal systems, physics, climate change, cancer research and further work is being carried out to support the development of future collaboration in other disciplines.

The partnership is an important milestone in Macquarie University’s approach to internationalisation which is focused on developing deep and broad-based partnerships that enhance opportunities for students to study internationally and support diverse and innovative collaboration by our academic staff.

The University of Hamburg is one of Germany’s largest universities and one of the largest institutions for research and education in the north of Germany. Located in Shanghai, Fudan University is one of China’s leading universities, and also one of its oldest.  Both universities are ranked in the top 200 globally.

About Macquarie University

Established in 1964, Macquarie University, Sydney, is ranked among the top 200 universities in the world. Set on 135 hectares of peaceful green parkland, Macquarie’s modern campus is just 30 minutes from Sydney’s city centre and features cutting-edge facilities for learning and research.

Find out more about studying at Macquarie University.

Monday, November 24th, 2014

ARC funding boosts research across Macquarie University

Macquarie University research across science, human sciences and the arts will receive a boost in 2015, as part of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Major Grants Announcement.

Macquarie University Graduate Business School

Macquarie is known for its exceptional business degrees

The awards include 12 Discovery Projects lead by Macquarie researchers, across a broad range of areas from the history of opinion polls in Australia to new methods to solve wifi network congestion.

Five Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRAs) were also granted to Macquarie University researchers across geology, psychology, computing, cognitive science and microbiology.

Minister for Education the Hon. Christopher Pyne MP said it was vital that our young researchers were offered funding opportunities to progress their careers and build Australia’s long-term innovation base. “If Australia is to keep up with the rest of the world, we must invest in our young researchers, to provide them with the resources to become internationally competitive.”

A Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities grant was also awarded for a major medical biotechnology project into nanoparticle tracking, with a new facility to support world-class researchers in the multi-disciplinary areas of physical, material and life sciences, placing Australia at the forefront of nanoscale biophotonics.

About Macquarie University

Well known for its prestigious business programs in accounting, actuarial studies and finance, Macquarie University is also a leader in fields such as science, engineering and linguistics. Times Education UK recently ranked Macquarie first in Australia and 14th worldwide for Environmental Science and the WLAN technology that led to Wi-Fi was developed at Macquarie and later sold for $500 million.

Want to find out more about studying at Macquarie University? Contact OzTREKK!

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Macquarie researchers find wind patterns facilitated the Polynesian migration

New research shows that the expansion of the tropics and associated changes in Pacific Ocean wind patterns facilitated the Polynesian migration to the far eastern and southern ends of the Pacific including Easter Island, New Zealand and Subantarctic Auckland Islands.

Macquarie University’s Associate Professor Ian Goodwin of the Department of Environment and Geography and colleagues reconstructed wind-field patterns from modeled Pacific sea level pressure at 20-year intervals spanning the period 800 AD to 1600 AD.

Macquarie University

Macquarie researchers determine changes in Pacific Ocean wind patterns facilitated the Polynesian migration

Voyaging to Easter Island was possible as early as 800 to 910 AD, and voyaging to New Zealand as early as 940 to 970 AD. However, they revealed climate windows where the most favourable sailing conditions for travel between central East Polynesia and New Zealand occurred between 1140 and 1260 AD, and for travel to Easter Island between 1250 and 1280 AD.

The paleoclimate changes accords well with the archaeological evidence that suggests a rapid colonisation of Polynesian islands by sea-faring peoples, including the colonisation of New Zealand between 1100 and 1300 AD.

Off-wind or down-wind sailing between central East Polynesia and New Zealand was unusually possible during this period, when intensification and poleward expansion of the Pacific subtropical anticyclone strengthened tradewinds toward New Zealand.

The paleo-wind patterns revealed that New Zealand was potentially colonised by voyaging from the Tonga/Fiji Islands, the Southern Cook Islands, and the Austral Islands further east. Similarly, the wind patterns revealed that Easter Island might have been colonised from both Central East Polynesia and from Chile.

“This research fits in the Polynesian folklore, which refers to multiple migrations—our mapping of the climate conditions at that time they were travelling confirms the possibility,” said Macquarie University Professor Goodwin.

It also indicates that Polynesian sailing-canoes did not need a capability to sail to windward, and that all passages could have been made downwind over the immense ocean tracts.

“These are fantastic new insights into prehistoric maritime migration, and opens doors for marine climatologists to work with anthropologists and archaeologists, to piece together the evolution of maritime societies.”

About Anthropology

Anthropology is the comparative study of societies and cultural diversity. It asks interpretative questions about behaviour, meaning, and value between different societies and cultures. Why do people do what they do? Why do people in different societies do different things? Anthropologists generally obtain their understanding through participating in and observing the lives of the people they work among. Through this method, known as fieldwork, anthropologists gain a detailed knowledge of the cultural world of other peoples by living and working beside them.

Macquarie University Department of Environment and Geography

The department of Environment and Geography is committed to excellence in research, learning and teaching, and community engagement. In 2011, the Times Higher Education ranked Macquarie University the top institution in Australia and New Zealand for research in environmental sciences and ecology, and 14th in the world. More recently, environmental sciences was one of three disciplines at Macquarie to have again achieved the maximum rating (well above world standard) in the Australian Government’s 2012 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) analysis.


Learn more about studying anthropology or environmental sciences at Macquarie University and at other Australian universities! Contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355 for more information.

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Eureka Prize win for Macquarie University climate change scientist

Macquarie University climate change scientist Professor Lesley Hughes is the winner of the 2014 Australian Government Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Australian Science Research.

Macquarie University Environmental Sciences

Learn more about studying climate change

Professor Hughes has been researching and communicating the science of climate change for more than 20 years. She was appointed commissioner of the independent government advisory Climate Commission in 2011 and became a pro-bono founding councillor of the Climate Council of Australia in 2013. She was a lead author for the UN’s IPCC Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports.

From a research background—predicting and then observing the effects of a changing climate on biodiversity— Professor Hughes moved to communicating beyond her scientific peers. Her goal is to translate the science of climate change in all its breadth and complexity to the wider public.

Professor Hughes’ free, online course via Open University Australia explains the science of climate change in straightforward terms for non-scientists. The course even received praise from climate skeptics—for them, what had been lacking was a clear explanation of the science.

“With issues like climate change, the science may be settled, but the debate rages on. For many scientists, this gap between science and public understanding is unfathomable. Lesley Hughes is bridging that gap,” Australian Museum Director and CEO Kim McKay said.

The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes are the country’s most comprehensive national science awards. The other finalists in the category were

  • The University of Melbourne’s Professor Philip Batterham, a five-time Eureka finalist who engages non-scientists with evolution, climate change and health, and threw a 200th birthday party for Charles Darwin.
  • University of New South Wales’ Associate Professor Darren Curnoe, who has used his discovery of several species of our ancient hominin cousins, the Red Deer Cave people in China, to engage the public about evolution.

Macquarie Graduate School of the Environment

The Graduate School of the Environment offers a wide range of degrees and courses to choose from that combine the natural and social sciences and develop intellectual, professional and practical skills. Students can choose between papers that develop critical thinking skills through exposure to theory and philosophy; field-based papers that develop research skills; and practical papers that develop professional skills through accredited coursework and industry internships.

Apply to a Macquarie University Environmental Sciences program!


Find out more about environmental science programs available at Macquarie University and the Graduate School of the Environment. Contact OzTREKK Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355 for more information about how you can study in Australia!

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Embalming study rewrites key chapter in Egyptian history

Researchers from the universities of York, Macquarie and Oxford have discovered new evidence to suggest that the origins of mummification started in ancient Egypt 1,500 years earlier than previously thought.

The scientific findings of an 11-year study by a researcher in the Department of Archaeology at York, and York’s BioArCh facility, and an Egyptologist from the Department of Ancient History at Macquarie University, push back the origins of a central and vital facet of ancient Egyptian culture by over a millennium.

Traditional theories on ancient Egyptian mummification suggest that in prehistory—the Late Neolithic and Predynastic periods between c. 4500 and 3100 B.C.—bodies were desiccated naturally through the action of the hot, dry desert sand.

Scientific evidence for the early use of resins in artificial mummification has, until now, been limited to isolated occurrences during the late Old Kingdom (c. 2200 B.C.). Their use became more apparent during the Middle Kingdom (c. 2000-1600 B.C.).

But the York, Macquarie and Oxford team identified the presence of complex embalming agents in linen wrappings from bodies in securely provenanced tombs in one of the earliest recorded ancient Egyptian cemeteries at Mostagedda, in the region of Upper Egypt.

“For over a decade I have been intrigued by early and cryptic reports of the methods of wrapping bodies at the Neolithic cemeteries at Badari and Mostagedda,” said Dr Jana Jones of Macquarie University, Sydney.

“In 2002, I examined samples of funerary textiles from these sites that had been sent to various museums in the United Kingdom through the 1930s from Egypt. Microscopic analysis with my colleague Mr Ron Oldfield revealed resins were likely to have been used, but I wasn’t able to confirm my theories, or their full significance, without tapping into my York colleague’s unique knowledge of ancient organic compounds.”

Dr Jones initiated the research and led the study jointly with Dr Stephen Buckley, a Research Fellow at the University of York.

“Such controversial inferences challenge traditional beliefs on the beginnings of mummification,” said Dr Jones. “They could only be proven conclusively through biochemical analysis, which Dr Buckley agreed to undertake after a number of aborted attempts by others. His knowledge includes many organic compounds present in an archaeological context, yet which are often not in the literature or mass spectra libraries.”

Corresponding author on the article, Dr Buckley, used a combination of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and sequential thermal desorption/pyrolysis to identify a pine resin, an aromatic plant extract, a plant gum/sugar, a natural petroleum source, and a plant oil/animal fat in the funerary wrappings.

Predating the earliest scientific evidence by more than a millennium, these embalming agents constitute complex, processed recipes of the same natural products, in similar proportions, as those employed at the zenith of Pharaonic mummification some 3,000 years later.

Dr Buckley, who designed the experimental research and conducted the chemical analyses, said: “The antibacterial properties of some of these ingredients and the localised soft-tissue preservation that they would have afforded lead us to conclude that these represent the very beginnings of experimentation that would evolve into the mummification practice of the Pharaonic period.”

Dr Buckley added, “Having previously led research on embalming agents employed in mummification during Egypt’s Pharaonic period it was notable that the relative abundances of the constituents are typical of those used in mummification throughout much of ancient Egypt’s 3000 year Pharaonic history. Moreover, these resinous recipes applied to the prehistoric linen wrapped bodies contained antibacterial agents, used in the same proportions employed by the Egyptian embalmers when their skill was at its peak, some 2500-3000 years later.”

Professor Thomas Higham, who was responsible for dating the burials at the University of Oxford, said, “This work demonstrates the huge potential of material in museum collections to allow researchers to unearth new information about the archaeological past. Using modern scientific tools our work has helped to illuminate a key aspect of the early history of ancient Egypt.”

“Our ground-breaking results show just what can be achieved through interdisciplinary collaboration between the sciences and the humanities,” said Dr Jones.

Check out Macquarie’s video about studying Egyptology!

Department of Ancient History at Macquarie University

Whether you are looking for professional or further training, or just interested in extending your knowledge about the ancient world, Department of Ancient History at Macquarie offers a postgraduate program to suit your needs and interests. Entry into postgraduate programs requires prior study in the relevant discipline or a related filed.

Master of Ancient History

This program provides a concentrated study in Ancient History in several areas of special interest, e.g., archaeology, biblical studies, Greek and Roman history, and includes the opportunity for training in the use of documentary evidence for the study of the ancient world.


Would you like to find out more about studying Ancient History at Macquarie University? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Arts Programs Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com for more information about how you can study in Australia!

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Macquarie researchers call for a new diet classification for mammals

The analysis of 139 land mammals’ dietary preferences has led researchers to call for a new classification system, as many diets were varied beyond the current understanding of herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore.

Research by Macquarie University’s Silvia Pineda-Munoz, and Associate Professor John Alroy found that the majority of mammals eat both plant and animal foods and so very few are pure “herbivores” or “carnivores.”

Macquarie University Department of Biological Sciences

The Tassie devil: only a “carnivore”?

Additionally, the widely used “omnivore” category puts animals eating meat and vegetation together with ones eating insects and seeds, which are very distinctive dietary specialisations.

The researchers instead suggest classifying species based on their main food choice, and also propose using the term “generalist” for animals without a particular dietary preference.

A suggested list of main dietary specialisations includes granivores, insectivores, carnivores, herbivores and frugivores among others.

“Diet needs to be thoroughly described and classified because it tells us how animals interact with each other and with their environment,” said lead researcher Silvia Pineda-Munoz.

“A good dietary classification helps scientists understand how animals evolved or what extinct species ate millions of years ago. Thus, researchers need a uniform dietary classification that allows for easier comparison among studies. 

“It makes sense to group similar diet types into categories, but we need this to accurately reflect what is actually being eaten. Our research indicates that the common herbivore versus carnivore categories are misleading.”

The researchers collated data from a variety of animals from around the world including brown bears, the Australian red-legged pademelon or the long-tailed pygmy possum, spider monkeys, chipmunks, and the common mouse.

The full paper “Dietary characterization of terrestrial mammals,” is to be published by Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Macquarie University Department of Biological Sciences

Macquarie University has an international reputation for being innovative in the study of science. It is at the forefront of research nationally and internationally, and excels in the application and commercialization of new discoveries. Macquarie offers a unique range of interdisciplinary postgraduate degrees across a number of areas including environmental management, environmental education, environmental health, environmental planning, environmental science, environmental studies, sustainable development, biodiversity conservation, geography, geoscience, marine science, museum studies and wildlife management.


Are you interested in science and research programs at Macquarie University? Contact OzTREKK Admission Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1 866-698-7355 for more information about science degrees available at Australian universities.