2017 BEESST Conference

Date: Friday 24 March 2017

Venue: UNSW - NIDA Building, Anzac Parade, Kensington


NB Registration for this event is now closed








The BEESST conference combines Biology, Earth & Environmental and Senior Science for Teachers. While the focus will be on Stage 6, all 7-10 teachers could also benefit from the carefully selected mix of upgrades on subject knowledge as well as ideas on programming and related assessment to improve student outcomes.

In 2017 the focus will be
around implementation
of the new preliminary syllabus (for 2018), the new HSC (for 2019) and pedagogy to support successful depth studies.




Dr Tom Cresswell (ANSTO) Biology

Dr Cresswell is a radioecologist with a special interest in ecotoxicology and is passionate about understanding how humans impact on aquatic ecosystems.  He has a background in Marine Science, which includes marine biology, chemistry and physical oceanography as well as subjects in environmental economics and maritime law.  Tom completed his PhD in ecotoxicology and environmental chemistry in 2012, which saw him work on a river in Papua New Guinea downstream of a gold mine.  He has been working at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) for the past four years on the development of nuclear science in ecotoxicology.


rad is your science? Using nuclear techniques in environmental toxicology

The use of live-organism radioisotope tracer techniques in the field of environmental toxicology (ecotoxicology) allows laboratory studies to accurately monitor contaminant biokinetics in real time for an individual organism.  Although these techniques have been in use since the 1970s, their application in many fields of ecotoxicology has increased in recent years.  The technique involves exposing an organism to sub-lethal levels of radioactive isotopes that represent contaminants of concern (e.g. metals, nutrients, nanoparticles), often at concentrations at or below environmental concentrations.  Using gamma spectroscopy, bioaccumulation and retention kinetics can be measured for multiple contaminants and via multiple pathways (e.g. ingestion or water). Using this radiotracer method, it is possible to ‘trace’ a full range of stable contaminant concentrations within natural and living systems, where the radioactive ‘tag’ has a low enough concentration to have no significant impact on the organisms being examined.

This talk describes several recent case-studies  where radioisotope tracers were used to increase our understanding of the kinetics of bioaccumulation, retention and internal distribution of radionuclides by mangrove crabs; an investigation of the potential for insoluble nanoparticles used in diesel fuel to accumulate through a freshwater food chain; determining the uptake and biodistribution of SeIV and SeVI by cereal plants (for uses in phytoremediation and biofortification); investigating the bioaccumulation and retention kinetics of SeIV and SeVI
by amphibians exposed to elements originating from coal mining; and the bioaccumulation and biodistribution of metals by sessile invertebrates.  





Dr Charley Lineweaver (ANU) Earth & Environmental Science


Dr Charles H. Lineweaver is the convener of the Australian National University's Planetary Science Institute and holds a joint appointment as an associate professor in the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the Research School of Earth Sciences.

He obtained an undergraduate degree in physics from Ludwig Maximilians Universitat, Munich, Germany and a
Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of California at Berkeley (in 1994) He was a member of the COBE satellite team that discovered the temperature fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background.

Before his appointment at ANU, he held post-doctoral positions at Strasbourg Observatory and the University of New South Wales where he taught one of the most popular general studies courses "Are We Alone?"

His research areas include cosmology, exoplanetology, and astrobiology and evolutionary biology.

He has about a dozen projects for students at all levels, dealing with exoplanet statistics, the recession of the Moon, cosmic entropy production, major transitions in cosmic and biological evolution and phylogenetic trees.


The Origin and Evolution of the Earth and its Inhabitants

I will review what we know about the origin and evolution of the Earth
by trying to answer these questions:

How old is the Earth?
Where did it come from?
What is it made of?
Where did the water on Earth come from?
What makes the Earth habitable for life?
How long has life been on the Earth?
What is the Gaia hypothesis and does it make any sense?
What controls the temperature of the Earth?
Has life played a role in keeping liquid water on the surface of the Earth?
When will life on Earth die?
Are they any other Earths in the Universe?
What do we mean by “other Earths”?







Completing STANSW BEESST Conference will contribute 5 hours of QTC Registered PD addressing Standards 6.2.2, 6.4.2 and 7.4.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW.

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