Inbox and environment news: Issue 580
April 23 - 29 2023: Issue 580
Autumn In Pittwater
Protect Mona Vale's Bongin Bongin Bay - Establish An Aquatic Reserve
Deep Creek Reserve
April 18, 2023: video by All World Music
Deep Creek Reserve is located along Wakehurst Parkway and is one of the Northern Beaches highest conservation reserves. The reserve contains a small freshwater wetland on the lower section of the reserve which is a form of Sydney Freshwater Wetlands, listed as a Threatened Ecological Community in NSW. This reserve contributes to a regional corridor providing movement for an abundance of native animals including threatened pygmy possums (Cercartetus nanus), powerful owls (Ninox strenua) and heath monitors (Varanus rosengergi).
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo Fledglings Update
The parent bird was feeding the same 2 it has been helping for last few weeks on Tuesday April 18, afternoon - by Wednesday April 19 4pm one has 'flown the nest' and become part of the bigger 'crew' that ranges from Careel Bay to South Avalon Beach and Clareville each day. Just one of the annual stories you get to witness when you keep the trees ;
this one has stayed with parent bird (to right)
the twins and parent bird
Swamp Wallaby At Palm Beach
Northern Beaches Clean Up Crew: Avalon Beach April 30
Come and join us for our family friendly April clean up, close to Avalon Surf Lifesaving Club (558 Barrenjoey road, Avalon) on the 30th at 10am.
We have gloves, bags, and buckets, and grabbers. We're trying to remove as much plastic and rubbish as possible before it enters the ocean. Some of us can focus on the bush area and sandy/rocky areas, and others can walk along the beach and even clean up in the water (at own risk). We will clean up until around 11.20, and after that, we will sort and count the rubbish so we can contribute to research by entering it into a marine debris database. The sorting and counting is normally finished around noon, and we'll often go for lunch together at our own expense. We understand if you cannot stay for this part, but are grateful if you can. We appreciate any help we can get, no matter how small or big.
No booking required - just show up on the day. We're a friendly group of people, and everyone is welcome to this family friendly event. It's a nice community - make some new friends and do a good deed for the planet at the same time. For everyone to feel welcome, please leave political and religious messages at home - this includes t-shirts with political campaign messages. There is a council carpark, but it is often busy on Sundays, so check streets close by as well if it's full or please consider using public transport.
Message us on our social media or send us an email if you are lost. All welcome - the more the merrier. Please invite your friends too!
Permaculture Northern Beaches - Upcoming Events
- Learn about Permaculture design
- Caring for and raising chickens
- Native bees and bee hotels
- Living Skills - soap making
- AND Live Music!
Report Fox Sightings
Weed Of The Season: Cassia - Please Pull Out And Save Our Bush
New Marine Wildlife Rescue Group On The Central Coast
A new wildlife group was launched on the Central Coast on Saturday, December 10, 2022.
Marine Wildlife Rescue Central Coast (MWRCC) had its official launch at The Entrance Boat Shed at 10am.
The group comprises current and former members of ASTR, ORRCA, Sea Shepherd, Greenpeace, WIRES and Wildlife ARC, as well as vets, academics, and people from all walks of life.
Well known marine wildlife advocate and activist Cathy Gilmore is spearheading the organisation.
“We believe that it is time the Central Coast looked after its own marine wildlife, and not be under the control or directed by groups that aren’t based locally,” Gilmore said.
“We have the local knowledge and are set up to respond and help injured animals more quickly.
“This also means that donations and money fundraised will go directly into helping our local marine creatures, and not get tied up elsewhere in the state.”
The organisation plans to have rehabilitation facilities and rescue kits placed in strategic locations around the region.
MWRCC will also be in touch with Indigenous groups to learn the traditional importance of the local marine environment and its inhabitants.
“We want to work with these groups and share knowledge between us,” Gilmore said.
“This is an opportunity to help save and protect our local marine wildlife, so if you have passion and commitment, then you are more than welcome to join us.”
Marine Wildlife Rescue Central Coast has a Facebook page where you may contact members. Visit: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100076317431064
Watch Out - Shorebirds About
Possums In Your Roof?: Do The Right Thing
Aviaries + Possum Release Sites Needed
Bushcare In Pittwater
Where we work Which day What time
Angophora Reserve 3rd Sunday 8:30 - 11:30am
Avalon Dunes 1st Sunday 8:30 - 11:30am
Avalon Golf Course 2nd Wednesday 3 - 5:30pm
Careel Creek 4th Saturday 8:30 - 11:30am
Toongari Reserve 3rd Saturday 9 - 12noon (8 - 11am in summer)
Bangalley Headland 2nd Sunday 9 to 12noon
Winnererremy Bay 4th Sunday 9 to 12noon
North Bilgola Beach 3rd Monday 9 - 12noon
Algona Reserve 1st Saturday 9 - 12noon
Plateau Park 1st Friday 8:30 - 11:30am
Browns Bay Reserve 1st Tuesday 9 - 12noon
McCarrs Creek Reserve Contact Bushcare Officer To be confirmed
Old Wharf Reserve 3rd Saturday 8 - 11am
Kundibah Reserve 4th Sunday 8:30 - 11:30am
Mona Vale Beach Basin 1st Saturday 8 - 11am
Mona Vale Dunes 2nd Saturday +3rd Thursday 8:30 - 11:30am
Bungan Beach 4th Sunday 9 - 12noon
Crescent Reserve 3rd Sunday 9 - 12noon
North Newport Beach 4th Saturday 8:30 - 11:30am
Porter Reserve 2nd Saturday 8 - 11am
Irrawong Reserve 2nd Saturday 2 - 5pm
North Palm Beach Dunes 3rd Saturday 9 - 12noon
Catherine Park 2nd Sunday 10 - 12:30pm
Elizabeth Park 1st Saturday 9 - 12noon
Pathilda Reserve 3rd Saturday 9 - 12noon
Warriewood Wetlands 1st Sunday 8:30 - 11:30am
Norma Park 1st Friday 9 - 12noon
Coopers Point, Elvina Bay 2nd Sunday 10 - 1pm
Rocky Point, Elvina Bay 1st Monday 9 - 12noon
Friends Of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment Activities
Gardens And Environment Groups And Organisations In Pittwater
The Surprising Science Behind Long-Distance Bird Migration
April 17, 2023
Scientists have recently made a surprising discovery, with the help of a wind tunnel and a flock of birds. Songbirds, many of which make twice-yearly, non-stop flights of more than 1,000 miles to get from breeding range to wintering range, fuel themselves by burning lots of fat and a surprising amount of the protein making up lean body mass, including muscle, early in the flight. This flips the conventional wisdom on its head, which had assumed that migrating birds only ramped up protein consumption at the very end of their journeys, because they would need to use every ounce of muscle for wing-flapping, not fuel.
"Birds are amazing animals," says Cory Elowe, the paper's lead author and a postdoctoral researcher in biology at UMass Amherst, where he received his Ph.D. "They are extreme endurance athletes; a bird that weighs half an ounce can fly, non-stop, flapping for 100 hours at a time, from Canada to South America. How is this possible? How do they fuel their flight?"
For a very long time, biologists assumed that birds fuelled such feats of endurance by burning fat reserves. And indeed, fat is an important part of migratory birds' secret mix. "The birds in our tests burned fat at a consistent rate throughout their flights," says Elowe. "But we also found that they burn protein at an extremely high rate very early in their flights, and that the rate at which they burn protein tapers off as the duration of the flight increases."
"This is a new insight," says Alexander Gerson, associate professor of biology at UMass Amherst and the paper's senior author. "No one has been able to measure protein burn to this extent in birds before."
"We knew that birds burned protein, but not at this rate, and not so early in their flights," continues Gerson. "What's more, these small songbirds can burn 20% of their muscle mass and then build it all back in a matter of days."
A blakpoll warbler. Photo: University of Massachusetts Amherst
To make this breakthrough, Elowe had help from the bird banding operators at Long Point Bird Observatory, in Ontario, along the northern shore of Lake Erie. Every fall, millions of birds gather near the observatory on their journey to their wintering grounds -- including the blackpoll warbler, a small songbird that travels thousands of miles during its migration. After capturing 20 blackpolls and 44 yellow-rumped warblers -- a shorter distance migrant -- using mist nets, Elowe and his colleagues then transported the birds to the Advanced Facility for Avian Research at Western University, which has a specialized wind tunnel built specifically for observing birds in flight.
Elowe measured the birds' fat and lean body mass pre-flight, then, when the sun set, let the birds free in the wind tunnel. Because the birds naturally migrate at night, Elowe and his colleagues would then stay awake -- at one point, for 28 hours -- watching for when a bird would decide to rest. At that point, the researchers would collect the bird and again measure its fat and lean body mass content, comparing them with the pre-flight measurements.
"One of the biggest surprises was that every bird still had plenty of fat left when it chose to end its flight," says Elowe. "But their muscles were emaciated. Protein, not fat, seems to be a limiting factor in determining how far birds can fly."
The researchers still don't quite know why the birds are burning such vast stores of protein so early in their journeys, but the possible answers open up a wide range of future research avenues.
"How exactly is it possible to burn up your muscles and internal organs, and then rebuild them as quickly as these birds do," wonders Gerson. "What insights into the evolution of metabolism might these birds yield?"
Elowe is curious about shivering -- nonmigratory birds that overwinter in cold areas keep themselves warm by shivering. "This is also a feat of endurance," says Elowe. "Do birds fuel their winter shivering spells the same way? And as the world warms, which method of coping with the cold -- shivering or migrating -- might be the better option for survival?"
Cory R. Elowe, Derrick J. E. Groom, Julia Slezacek, Alexander R. Gerson. Long-duration wind tunnel flights reveal exponential declines in protein catabolism over time in short- and long-distance migratory warblers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2023; 120 (17) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2216016120
Coastal Species Persist On High Seas On Floating Plastic Debris
April 17, 2023
The high seas have been colonised by a surprising number of coastal marine invertebrate species, which can now survive and reproduce in the open ocean, contributing strongly to the floating community composition. This finding was published today in Nature Ecology and Evolutionby a team of researchers led by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) and the University of Hawai'i (UH) at Manoa.
The researchers found coastal species, representing diverse taxonomic groups and life history traits, in the eastern North Pacific Subtropical Gyre on over 70 percent of the plastic debris they examined. Further, the debris carried more coastal species than open ocean species.
"This discovery suggests that past biogeographical boundaries among marine ecosystems -- established for millions of years -- are rapidly changing due to floating plastic pollution accumulating in the subtropical gyres," said lead author Linsey Haram, research associate at SERC.
These researchers only recently discovered the existence of these "neopelagic communities," or floating communities in deep ocean waters. To understand the ecological and physical processes that govern communities on floating marine debris, SERC and UH Manoa formed a multi-disciplinary Floating Ocean Ecosystem (FloatEco) team. UH Manoa led the assessment of physical oceanography and SERC evaluated biological and ecological dimensions of the study.
For this study, the FloatEco team analysed 105 plastic samples collected by The Ocean Cleanup during their 2018 and 2019 expeditions in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, which occupies most of the northern Pacific Ocean. The field work relied on participation of both individual volunteers and non-governmental organisations.
"We were extremely surprised to find 37 different invertebrate species that normally live in coastal waters, over triple the number of species we found that live in open waters, not only surviving on the plastic but also reproducing," said Haram. "We were also impressed by how easily coastal species colonized new floating items, including our own instruments -- an observation we're looking into further."
"Our results suggest coastal organisms now are able to reproduce, grow, and persist in the open ocean -- creating a novel community that did not previously exist, being sustained by the vast and expanding sea of plastic debris," said co-author Gregory Ruiz, senior scientist at SERC. "This is a paradigm shift in what we consider to be barriers to the distribution and dispersal of coastal invertebrates."
While scientists already knew organisms, including some coastal species, colonized marine plastic debris, scientists were unaware until now that established coastal communities could persist in the open ocean. These findings identify a new human-caused impact on the ocean, documenting the scale and potential consequences that were not previously understood.
"The Hawaiian Islands are neighboured in the northeast by the North Pacific garbage patch," said Nikolai Maximenko, co-author and senior researcher at the UH Manoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology. "Debris that breaks off from this patch constitutes the majority of debris arriving on Hawaiian beaches and reefs. In the past, the fragile marine ecosystems of the islands were protected by the very long distances from coastal communities of Asia and North America. The presence of coastal species persisting in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre near Hawai'i is a game changer that indicates that the islands are at an increased risk of colonization by invasive species."
"Our study underscores the large knowledge gap and still limited understanding of rapidly changing open ocean ecosystems," said Ruiz. "This highlights the need for dramatic enhancement of the high-seas observing systems, including biological, physical and marine debris measurements."
Linsey E. Haram, James T. Carlton, Luca Centurioni, Henry Choong, Brendan Cornwell, Mary Crowley, Matthias Egger, Jan Hafner, Verena Hormann, Laurent Lebreton, Nikolai Maximenko, Megan McCuller, Cathryn Murray, Jenny Par, Andrey Shcherbina, Cynthia Wright, Gregory M. Ruiz. Extent and reproduction of coastal species on plastic debris in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2023; DOI: 10.1038/s41559-023-01997-y
New Approach Estimates Long-Term Coastal Cliff Loss
April 18, 2023
In parts of California's iconic mountainous coasts, breath-taking beauty is punctuated by brusque signs warning spectators to stay back from unstable cliffs. The dangers of coastal erosion are an all-too-familiar reality for the modern residents of these communities. Now, with a new tool, researchers are bringing historical perspective to the hotly debated topic of how to manage these disappearing coastlines.
Using a model that incorporates measurements of the amount of time coastal cliffs and their remnant deposits were exposed at the Earth's surface, Stanford researchers found that the rate of cliff erosion in the past 100 years is similar to that of the past 2,000 years. The proof-of-concept, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface April 17, opens the possibility of using this new approach to understand the long-term history of coastal cliff erosion, or retreat, in other parts of the state. The work was conducted in Del Mar, California, a beach town in San Diego County with infrastructure atop its coastal bluffs.
"In this particular location, these cliff erosion rates have been the same for thousands of years, so we shouldn't expect them to get lower," said senior study author Jane Willenbring, an associate professor of Earth and planetary sciences at the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability. "If anything, we should expect them to be higher in the future."
Del Mar is among locations that are critically important for understanding cliff retreat. Homes are situated up to 70 feet above its beach, in addition to public infrastructure. A major railroad between Los Angeles and San Diego runs atop the coastal bluffs, where cliff failures have resulted in several derailments in modern history, as well as rock fall events that led to closures in recent years.
"I think this study bolsters the thinking that we should do something about cliff retreat sooner rather than later," said lead study author Travis Clow, PhD '22.
A natural laboratory
The study area was ideal for the researchers' methodology because the Del Mar beach features a narrow shore platform, the bedrock where tidepools are typically found. Using nine samples of bedrock, the co-authors measured concentrations of the chemical isotope beryllium-10 that track landform exposure to cosmic radiation from space. The data were compared with cliff retreat rates from recent studies based on aerial photography, showing that coastal erosion rates have remained relatively constant over the past two millennia -- at about 2 to 5 inches per year.
"One of the advantages of this technique is that it gives you information at the time scales that are relevant for factors like sea-level rise," Willenbring said. "Our tool estimates retreat over time periods that include multiple major storms or atmospheric rivers that don't happen very often, but are critical in forming the coastline."
The researchers' approach explores the influence of different factors, including wave impacts and weathering that occur at the shore platform and the cliff interface.
"It does more than just spit out a retreat rate," said Clow, who processed the samples in Willenbring's lab and measured them at the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). "It also allows us to have a relative assessment of what might be driving cliff retreat over longer periods of time."
Jane Willenbring sampling shore platform bedrock in Del Mar with a hammer and chisel. (Image credit: Travis Clow)
When rock becomes air
On sandy coasts, like those spanning much of the eastern U.S., beaches are shaped by waves that pull sand out to the ocean, then re-deposit it on land with the coming and going of the tides. But with rocky coastlines like those along California, once a cliff erodes into the ocean, it cannot be replaced, Willenbring said. Instead, it's as if the rock becomes air.
Willenbring was surprised to learn through this research that over half of all coastlines on Earth are eroding like California's. The scope of the problem, which will be exacerbated by sea-level rise in the next century, presents an opportunity for using this new technique in other areas.
"There are plenty of other places in California and the Pacific Northwest where active erosion of coastal rocky cliffs is happening, and we hope to use this technique in a wide variety of environments," Clow said.
Knowledge of cliff retreat in the U.S. is about 50 years behind research on the impacts of erosion and storms on sandy beaches, according to Willenbring -- and that makes her excited about contributing to fundamental science in this field.
"No one had even looked at how the beach width correlated with the rate of cliff retreat in California," Willenbring said. "There are a lot of open questions about what drives coastal erosion, and now we have a new tool to be able to address some of them."
Additional study co-authors are from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego; the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry at LLNL; and Imperial College London. The research was supported by LLNL, the California Department of Parks and Recreation, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
T. Clow, J. K. Willenbring, A. P. Young, H. Matsumoto, A. J. Hidy, J. R. Shadrick. Late Holocene Cliff Retreat in Del Mar, CA, Revealed From Shore Platform 10 Be Concentrations and Numerical Modeling. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 2023; 128 (4) DOI: 10.1029/2022JF006855
Methane From Megafires: More Spew Than We Knew
April 18, 2023
Using a new detection method, UC Riverside scientists found a massive amount of methane, a super-potent greenhouse gas, coming from wildfires -- a source not currently being accounted for by state air quality managers.
Methane warms the planet 86 times more powerfully than carbon dioxide over the course of 20 years, and it will be difficult for the state to reach its required cleaner air and climate goals without accounting for this source, the researchers said.
Wildfires emitting methane is not new. But the amount of methane from the top 20 fires in 2020 was more than seven times the average from wildfires in the previous 19 years, according to the new UCR study.
"Fires are getting bigger and more intense, and correspondingly, more emissions are coming from them," said UCR environmental sciences professor and study co-author Francesca Hopkins. "The fires in 2020 emitted what would have been 14 percent of the state's methane budget if it was being tracked."
The state does not track natural sources of methane, like those that come from wildfires. But for 2020, wildfires would have been the third biggest source of methane in the state.
"Typically, these sources have been hard to measure, and it's questionable whether they're under our control. But we have to try," Hopkins said. "They're offsetting what we're trying to reduce."
Traditionally, scientists measure emissions by analysing wildfire air samples obtained via aircraft. This older method is costly and complicated to deploy. To measure emissions from 2020's Sequoia Lightning Fire Complex in the Sierra Nevadas, the UCR research team used a remote sensing technique, which is both safer for scientists and likely more accurate since it captures an integrated plume from the fire that includes different burning phases.
The technique, detailed in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, allowed the lead author, UCR environmental sciences Ph.D. student Isis Frausto-Vicencio to safely measure an entire plume of the Sequoia Lightning Fire Complex gas and debris from 40 miles away.
"The plume, or atmospheric column, is like a mixed signal of the whole fire, capturing the active as well as the smouldering phases," Hopkins said. "That makes these measurements unique."
Researchers Isis Frausto-Vicencio, UCR, and Sajjan Heerah, Los Alamos National Laboratory, measuring wildfire emissions. (Frausto-Vicencio/UCR)
Rather than using a laser, as some instruments do, this technique uses the sun as a light source. Gases in the plume absorb and then emit the sun's heat energy, allowing insight into the quantity of aerosols as well as carbon and methane that are present.
Using the remote technique, the researchers found nearly 20 gigagrams of methane emitted by the Sequoia Lightning Fire Complex. One gigagram is 1,000 metric tons. An elephant weighs around one metric ton. For context, the fire therefore contained roughly 20,000 elephants' worth of the gas.
This data matches measurements that came from European space agency satellite data, which took a more sweeping, global view of the burned areas, but are not yet capable of measuring methane in these conditions.
If included in the California Air Resources Board methane budget, wildfires would be a bigger source than residential and commercial buildings, power generation or transportation, but behind agriculture and industry. While 2020 was exceptional in terms of methane emissions, scientists expect more megafire years going forward with climate change.
In 2015, the state first established a target of 40 percent reduction in methane, refrigerants and other air pollutants contributing to global warming by 2030. The following year, in 2016, Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 1383, codifying those reduction targets into law.
The reductions are meant to come from regulations that capture methane produced from manure on dairy farms, eliminate food waste in landfills, require oil and gas producers to minimize leaks, ban certain gases in new refrigerators and air conditioners, and other measures.
"California has been way ahead on this issue," Hopkins said. 'We're really hoping the state can limit the methane emissions under our control to reduce short-term global warming and its worst effects, despite the extra emissions coming from these fires."
Isis Frausto-Vicencio, Sajjan Heerah, Aaron G. Meyer, Harrison A. Parker, Manvendra Dubey, Francesca M. Hopkins. Ground solar absorption observations of total column CO, CO2, CH4, and aerosol optical depth from California's Sequoia Lightning Complex Fire: emission factors and modified combustion efficiency at regional scales. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 2023; 23 (7): 4521 DOI: 10.5194/acp-23-4521-2023
By William Shakespeare
When The War Came To Cowra
Council's Youth Voice Action Plan 2028 Gets The Green Light
Northern Composure Band Competition 2023
Due to the pandemic, Council have had the 20th anniversary on hold but pleased to say that the competition is open and running again.
Northern Composure is the largest and longest-running youth band competition in the area and offers musicians local exposure as well as invaluable stage experience. Bands compete in heats, semi finals and the grand final for a total prize pool of over $15,000.
Over the past 20 years we have had many success stories and now is your chance to join bands such as:
- Ocean Alley
- Lime Cordiale
- Dear Seattle
- What So Not
- The Rions
- Winston Surfshirt
And even a Triple J announcer plus a wide range of industry professionals
About the Competition
In 2023, the comp looks a little different.
All bands are invited to enter our heats which will be exclusively run online and voted on by your peers and community by registering below and uploading a video of one song of your choice. (if you are doing a cover, please make sure to credit the original band) We are counting on you to spread the word and get your friends, family, teachers voting for you!
The top 8-12 bands will move on through to our live semi finals with a winner from each moving on to the grand final held during National Youth Week. Not only that but we have raised the age range from 19 to 21 for all those musicians who may have missed out over the past two years.
- Voting open for heats: Mon 13 Feb – Sun 26 Feb
- Band Briefing: Mon 6 March, Dee Why PCYC
- Semi 1: Sat 18 March Mona Vale Memorial Hall
- Semi 2: Sat 25 March, YOYOs, Frenchs Forest
- Grand Final: Fri 28 April, Dee Why PCYC
For more information contact Youth Development at email@example.com or call 8495 5104
Stay in the loop and follow Northern Composure Unplugged on KALOF Facebook.
School Leavers Support
- Download or explore the SLIK here to help guide Your Career.
- School Leavers Information Kit (PDF 5.2MB).
- School Leavers Information Kit (DOCX 0.9MB).
- The SLIK has also been translated into additional languages.
- Download our information booklets if you are rural, regional and remote, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, or living with disability.
- Support for Regional, Rural and Remote School Leavers (PDF 2MB).
- Support for Regional, Rural and Remote School Leavers (DOCX 0.9MB).
- Support for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander School Leavers (PDF 2MB).
- Support for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander School Leavers (DOCX 1.1MB).
- Support for School Leavers with Disability (PDF 2MB).
- Support for School Leavers with Disability (DOCX 0.9MB).
- Download the Parents and Guardian’s Guide for School Leavers, which summarises the resources and information available to help you explore all the education, training, and work options available to your young person.
School Leavers Information Service
- navigate the School Leavers Information Kit (SLIK),
- access and use the Your Career website and tools; and
- find relevant support services if needed.
Word Of The Week: Construct
1. build or make (something, typically a building, road, or machine). 2. to compose or frame mentally (an argument, sentence, etc) 3. geometry to draw (a line, angle, or figure) so that certain requirements are satisfied
1. an idea or theory containing various conceptual elements, typically one considered to be subjective and not based on empirical evidence. 2. something formulated or built systematically. 3. psychology; a model devised on the basis of observation, designed to relate what is observed to some theoretical framework. In this sense 'Constructs' are the building blocks of scientific theories. Psychologists who are interested in studying and understanding human behaviour are interested in identifying behavioural regularities and their causes. Constructs help research and applied psychologists to summarize the complex array of observed behaviours, emotions, and thoughts that people produce in their day-to-day activities. Research may focus on identifying and clarifying construct boundaries, or determining which constructs relate to other constructs, as a basis for theorizing functional relationships between systems of constructs.
from C17: from Latin constructus piled up, from construere to heap together, build, from Con + struere to arrange, erect.
Narrabeen Education Campus: School Holiday Works Notification
- ▪ new flexible permanent learning spaces
- ▪ upgraded learning spaces
- ▪ new supported learning spaces
- ▪ upgrades to core facilities, including the library, administration and hall.
- ▪ new and upgraded learning spaces
- ▪ upgraded supported learning spaces
- ▪ new amenities and refurbished gym.
Artist Impression of new works at Narrabeen Sports High School. Image: SINSW
Narrabeen Sports High School Site Plan. Image: SINSW
Bank Branch Closures Spark Senate Inquiry And Regulator Review
Research Reveals Older Australians’ Mental Health Hit Hard By Pandemic
- Older women were more likely than older men to report their mental health worsened during the Pandemic, fluctuated regularly, or they experienced mental ill health for the first time.
- 14 per cent of respondents reported their mental health worsened during the pandemic period.
- 15 per cent said their mental health fluctuated regularly.
- Loneliness and distress arising from social isolation and separation from friends and family were identified as the key impacts.
- Even those who considered themselves unaffected by the pandemic described themselves as living with ‘worry’ and ‘stress,’ of experiencing sadness, loss, lack of sleep and appetite, of distress.
- 20% of those who reported their mental health suffered said they had no one to talk to during periods of lockdowns.
- 8% of those who reported their mental health suffered said they couldn’t get the help they needed.
Aged Care Worker Shortage — The Solution Is Simple: National Seniors
- Meets the growing shortfall for home care workers.
- Encourages people to work in home care.
- Provides greater income and superannuation for older people, particularly women.
- Provides care recipients with access to mature and sympathetic workers—as is their preference.
How Music Can Prevent Cognitive Decline
Professor Brendan Murphy AC Retirement
People Who Think Positively About Aging Are More Likely To Recover Memory
Mitochondria Power-Supply Failure May Cause Age-Related Cognitive Impairment
Why focusing on COVID deaths undercounts the health harms of the pandemic – new researchPhilip Clarke, University of Oxford; Jack Pollard, University of Oxford, and Mara Violato, University of Oxford
More than three years into the COVID pandemic, both the virus and the measures taken to control its spread have affected people’s lives across the globe. But how can we fully quantify these effects?
While we have estimates of how many people have died from COVID globally (which currently run at just under 7 million), its broader effects – including mental health deterioration due, for example, to the anxiety of getting infected or the isolation of lockdowns – have received less research attention.
In a new study we’ve attempted to quantify how the COVID pandemic has affected global health using an international survey of the general public.
Health economists often quantify health using a metric known as the quality-adjusted life year (QALY). The idea is to assign a value to each year of a person’s life based on their overall health. A person in full health gets a score of one and those who are very ill close to zero.
A common way to measure QALYs is through a brief survey called the EQ-5D, which involves five questions covering key dimensions of health. A person rates their levels of mobility, self care, usual activities, pain and discomfort, and anxiety and depression.
The responses provide a profile of the person’s health-related quality of life, which is summarised by what’s known as the EQ-5D index. When measured at different points in time this can be used to estimate QALYs, which adjust life expectancy to take account of overall health.
For example, a person in relatively poor health may have an EQ-5D index of 0.5 and so they would accumulate one QALY for every two years they live. This technique has been widely used to evaluate the impacts of different diseases and treatments on health.
We measured overall health-related quality of life by including the EQ-5D in a global survey of the public in late 2020, at the end of the first year of the pandemic, just before COVID vaccines started to be distributed. The survey was conducted online on just over 15,000 people in 13 diverse countries.
To ascertain how people thought the pandemic had affected them, we asked them to rate their current health compared with a year before.
One limitation of our study is that we had to rely on people being able to recall what their health was like prior to the pandemic. While it’s unlikely that a person is able to recall exactly how they would have responded to the survey a year in the past, there is evidence that over and under-estimation errors tend to cancel each other out.
What We Found
The pandemic was associated with significantly worse health-related quality of life for more than one-third of respondents. Anxiety and depression was the aspect of health that worsened the most, especially for younger people (aged under 35) and women.
Translating the health reductions into a QALY measure indicated that during the pandemic perceived health was around 8% lower on average.
In contrast, participants in China notably reported no significant deterioration in their health status. Although there were lockdowns in China following the emergence of the virus in early 2020, low levels of transmission meant that these were removed within a few weeks.
Mean difference in overall health pre-COVID and in December 2020:
To put the results into context, previous studies have found that each COVID death results in the loss of an average of between three and six QALYs. We combined these estimates with the reported number of deaths in each country to quantify the impact of COVID deaths on overall QALYs in each country.
Based on the reported changes in health in our survey, the loss in QALYs due to the COVID pandemic and lockdowns was between five and 11 times larger than that due to COVID-related deaths. This highlights that only focusing on COVID cases and deaths overlooks the burden of the pandemic and the impacts of policies that are designed to control it.
For example, most countries used some form of lockdowns as a way to contain transmission of the virus, but the ensuing social isolation may have negatively affected the mental health and wellbeing of the population. Similarly, some countries offered economic support to those in financial difficulties, which may have positively impacted their mental wellbeing. QALYs provide a way of quantifying the trade-offs that exist between the positive and negative effects of different strategies.
Lessons For Future Pandemics
While individual countries have sought to measure the pandemic’s effects on overall wellbeing, the limited number of international studies looking at specific aspects of health, such as mental health, have tended to focus on high income countries. Most global analyses of the effects of the pandemic rely on reported COVID cases and related deaths.
The regular measurement of different aspects of health in a standardised survey enables researchers to start to disentangle the effects of lockdowns and other policies from the impacts of COVID.
Measuring multiple aspects of health through QALYs would also be a useful supplement to existing measures focusing on cases and deaths. This would enable us to look at some of the effects of the COVID pandemic as they’re distributed across the population. For example, while deaths are highest in older people, mental health effects were more prominent in those under 35.
Moving beyond counting deaths to understanding the overall health of the population globally can help us to be better prepared for potential future health shocks.
Philip Clarke, Professor of Health Economics, University of Oxford; Jack Pollard, Researcher in Health Economics, University of Oxford, and Mara Violato, Associate Professor, Health Economics, University of Oxford
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- engaged in 13 per cent more moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) each day (or five min/day more)
- were five per cent less sedentary each day (or 29 min/day less)
- slept four per cent more each day (or 21 min/day more).
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