Environment and Ecology

The “Great Acceleration” is cause for great concern. - Guest Work

Guest Work Jan 18, 2017

By Prof Ralph E H Sims, Massey University, Palmerston North The future for secure and peaceful human life on our planet is under threat. A wide range of socio-economic indicators that illustrate global growth parameters from 1750 to 2010 confirm the rapid acceleration that has become particularly evident over the past six decades as world population … Read More

‘Conservation by numbers’ hides genetic dangers in endangered species - Wild Science

Helen Taylor Jan 18, 2017

How do we know when a threatened species is ‘safe’? A new study featuring one of New Zealand’s iconic kiwi species suggests increasing population size might not be enough – an increase in numbers doesn’t always cut it for conservation… Saving threatened species tends to be a numbers game. We often use population growth as a proxy for population … Read More

Life’s a beach: NZ scientists on their favourite beaches - Guest Work

Guest Work Jan 16, 2017

Many Kiwis have a favourite seaside spot they escape to in the summer and scientists are no exception. In this NIWA Summer Series article, six scientists reveal their summer getaway beaches and reflect on how these holiday hotspots are changing. Dr Ken Grange, Regional Manager, Nelson. Dr Ken Grange. Credit: NIWA. Beach: Rarawa Beach, east coast Far North How long have you been … Read More

What difference will closing the Chinese domestic ivory market make? - Chthonic Wildlife Ramblings

Brendan Moyle Jan 13, 2017

The recent decision by China to close its domestic ivory trade industry has been welcomed by many conservationists. Nonetheless, I remain skeptical it will be a significant move to curb poaching.  This is generally accepted to have peaked in around 2011, albeit it is uncertain whether wild populations can sustain the illegal off-take.  The overall picture is still murky.  While … Read More

GM crops and herbicides: time to reassess risk assessment methods - Guest Work

Guest Work Jan 11, 2017

by Professor Jack Heinemann New studies published by Nature’s journal Scientific Reports are questioning the basis of how to determine the safety of products used in agriculture and at home. The first of these featured reports is on the application of ‘omics’ techniques to a long familiar GM maize line called NK603. The second featured report is on the … Read More

Go native: why we need ‘wildlife allotments’ to bring species back to the ‘burbs - Guest Work

Guest Work Jan 11, 2017

By Lizzy Lowe, University of Auckland and Margaret Stanley, University of Auckland As urban populations around the globe skyrocket and the demand for housing grows, space is increasingly at a premium in cities. Unfortunately, despite some notable efforts to include green space in cities, native wildlife is not often a priority for urban planners, despite research … Read More

Scientist keeps cool head on the ice - Field Work

Guest Work Jan 10, 2017

NIWA marine physicist Dr Natalie Robinson. Top of Natalie Robinson’s to-do list right now is to work out exactly what she’s brought back from Antarctica. The NIWA marine physicist has recently spent five weeks on the ice leading a team of researchers trying to solve one of the great conundrums facing scientists researching climate change: why has Antarctic sea ice … Read More

Kaikoura earthquake – notes from a field geologist - Shaken Not Stirred

Guest Work Jan 09, 2017

In this guest post University of Auckland Geologist Dr Julie Rowland reflects on the 14 November M7.8 Kaikoura earthquake. Let’s be clear – it was huge. When you see houses shunted sideways 10 m or lifted up by 8, you know you are dealing with a big one. The drone imagery and photographs that have been doing the media rounds paint … Read More

The ‘fishing’ chimps of Bakoun - BioBlog

Alison Campbell Jan 09, 2017

I’m currently supervising a graduate student who’s writing a review of the literature on tool use in wild chimpanzees. This has become a most enjoyable interaction: it’s a topic I’ve been interested in for quite a while now, so the supervision role is an excuse to extend my own knowledge, and it’s great helping the student to enhance their own … Read More