News

Stunning photos from NIWA scientists

John Kerr Oct 12, 2016

Being a scientist out in the field can be hard work, with long days in sometimes uncomfortable (or even dangerous) settings collecting data. But it does come with the opportunity for some unbelievable photos. NIWA, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, has announced the winners of its annual photography competition: From one pole to the other, NIWA scientists work in some of the world’s most … Read More

NZ Sea Lion one of the world’s most murderous mammals

John Kerr Sep 29, 2016

The New Zealand Sea Lion ranks as one of the most murderous species on the planet, according to a new study examining lethal violence among mammals. Do dolphins duel to the death? Are hippos homicidal? And what about genocidal gerbils? Spanish researchers have mapped the extent of lethal violence across 1000 mammal species, from aardvarks to zebras, and their macabre analysis is … Read More

When did humans first leave Africa?

John Kerr Sep 22, 2016

Where did we come from and when did we leave there? These existential questions are at the heart of several human genetics studies published today in the leading journal Nature, all with links to New Zealand. Tracing our genetic roots The now widely accepted ‘Out of Africa’ hypothesis puts Africa as the origin of all modern humans. However, there is still debate … Read More

Climate change: Biologists told to ‘pull on their boots’ and collect data

John Kerr Sep 11, 2016

An international team of 22 biologists have called on their colleagues to get cracking and collect certain types of data to help predict how the planet’s estimated 8.7 million species will handle a warmer future. “Our biggest challenge is pinpointing which species to concentrate on and which regions we need to allocate resources,” says Associate Professor Mark Urban from the University of Connecticut, lead author … Read More

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Peeking inside a volcanic avalanche

John Kerr Sep 06, 2016

New research has offered a glimpse into the inner workings of one of the most dangerous results of volcanic eruptions – pyroclastic flows. “They are basically mixtures of hot volcanic particles and gas that race down the flank of a volcano to destroy everything its path,” says Dr Gert Lube from Massey University, describing these volcanic juggernauts. He and his … Read More

Ice ages led to ‘explosive’ diversity in Kiwi species

John Kerr Sep 01, 2016

Ancient walls of ice separating kiwi populations have left their mark in the DNA of New Zealand’s most iconic species. A new study published this week in PNAS has revealed the enormous impact historic cold snaps had on the evolution of kiwis. Researchers based in Canada, in collaboration with Department of Conservation scientists, examined a database of kiwi DNA across the geographic … Read More

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Welly, Chch & Dunners: NZ’s most active cities

John Kerr Aug 30, 2016

It seems the weather is no excuse. New Zealand’s cold, wet and windy urban centers are also where the most people get out walking and cycling.  Source: NZTA The findings come from a new report examining levels of active transport – getting around by foot or bicycle – and overall population health in New Zealand’s six largest cities. The … Read More

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What to do about astro-junk in NZ waters?

John Kerr Aug 29, 2016

New Zealand is about join the space race with a new rocket programme, but Kiwis will need to have a think about how this is going to impact our surrounding waters. The government has just opened public consultation on new rules about how material jettisoned into the ocean from rocket launches will be dealt with under environmental legislation. NZ … Read More

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