The WHO estimates that one in six people will experience infertility in their lifetime. Further, we have seen a dramatic decrease of almost 50% in both male sperm count and female conception rates in the past 50 years. This decrease can be largely attributed to our increasing exposure to chemicals in our environment known as Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals.
During intrasexual selection, members of the same sex attempt to outcompete rivals for mates. This is typically responsible the evolution of armaments to increase their chances of success such as larger beetle horns and deer antlers, or larger body size. By contrast, intersexual selection results from mate choice, where certain behaviours or characteristics (e.g. mating calls and bright colours) are considered ideal. But human waste can interfere with this process.
As a custodian species of the planet’s ecosystems, we have become disconnected from our responsibilities, attending to the patterns that build the complex web of life. Our activities and waste products are disrupting ecosystems, impacting the reproductive success of other animals. Pharmaceutical waste can persist even in the most remote places on the planet, including Antarctica. But it’s not all bad news, particularly if we pay attention to where we’ve come from, and where we’re going.
Every year, final year PhD candidates present their doctoral studies to the Royal Society of Victoria, competing for four Prizes that recognise excellence in Victoria’s young scientists. Eight finalists present under the four categories: Biological Sciences, Biomedical & Health Sciences, Earth Sciences, and Physical Sciences. While the format of delivery was different this year, participants rose to the challenge to deliver engaging and informative videos for National Science Week. From chicken sexing to neutron stars, all finalists’ presentations are summarised here, with links to their video presentations and the full proceedings as broadcast on the night via Facebook Live.