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Fungal invasions taking over living hosts is the thing of science fiction, but the humble button mushroom is taken steps to start. Often a fungi will specialize in symbiosis, invading or decomposing. But Mycena are starting to adapt to do all three. Humans, plants and fungi are in a complicated relationship where we influence the development of each other. The complex fungal toxin patulin is dangerous for humans, but can be broken down by microbes in soil. What can we learn from soil to fight back against fungal toxins and keep our fruit safe.
What caused those large quakes on Mars? How can Mars have big Mars-quakes without plate tectonics? If an impact crater isn't too blame for the Mars quakes what may be the cause. An international collaboration pooled the instruments of many countries Mars Missions to solve a mystery. Even using many different countries space ships, no 'smoking crater' was found that caused a mysterious martian quake. How can we study the ancient martian rivers and oceans using data from old martian missions?
E.coli is one of the most studied and versatile bacteria, so how can we make it work for us? Bacteria's ability to generate electricity is well known, but often requires complex conditions. How can we use E.Coli to generate electricity without a complicated setup? Geothermal systems seem to promise unlimited power but sometimes a cold water 'short circuit' ruins the plan. How do you carefully control the efficiency of geothermal power in the extreme temperatures and pressures of the earth?
How does a jellyfish manage to see and learn without a large central brain? Like the Scarecrow of Oz, jellyfish are a without a brain but are still able to learn and do great feats. How does the nervous system of a jellyfish learn to dodge and avoid obstacles without a big brain? Plants respond to light, but is it possible to communicate with them about upcoming dangers?
There are many different types of treatments for cancer, all of them with pros and cons. Enhancing our anti cancer toolbox requires careful testing to help reduce side effects. CAR-T takes your immune cells and boosts them to help fight cancer, but can have some pretty nasty side effects. By carefully coating CAR-T cells you can fight back against cancer and limit the chance of a cytokine storm or neurotoxicity .
What happens when two massive planets collide? How can you end up with a gas giant that's super dense and heavy? how can a planet the size of Neptune be as dense as steel? What happens when two giant planets collide at high speed? Watching a black hole devour a star, one bite at a time.
Infrastructure projects and large engineering projects can lead to archaeological discoveries. When you start digging a large sewer network, the last thing you suspect to find is 1,000s of fossils. Large water projects in Auckland managed to discover new species and shed light on New Zealand 3 million years ago. We often think of modern plumbing as being a sign of the modern era, but in ancient China, a community banded together to build their own drainage network.
At the depths of the ocean, in freezing waters there is somehow a paradise for Octopi. Off the coast of Monterey, an extinct underwater volcano creates just the right conditions for an absurd number of octopi to breed, nest and survive despite the freezing temperatures. With water near freezing, an octopi egg would normally take 8 years to hatch, but how are they managing to survive in huge numbers?
How long do you really have to wait after a concussion? Athletes are always keen to get back in the game after a head knock, but how long do they really need to wait? When trying to assess and track a concussion getting hard data is difficult. Using special headbands and measuring the pulse of the brain you can get an insight into concussion recovery. Concussion symptoms can disappear long before the brain has truly recovered. If you are slowly recovering fro a concussion how long will you need to wait?
When whales and humans interact the results can be confusing and messy for both sides. Whether it be noisy boat propellers, or orcas on a collision course, humans and whales don't always get on. How can we monitor and track how whales respond to humans. The best ways of monitoring animals is often with tags, but the very act of tagging can ruin what you're trying to study.
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