News

Be careful who you trade with – New Zealand’s biosecurity threat vectors

Erica Mather Jun 17, 2016

There is an increased likelihood that invasive species arrive in New Zealand from countries with poor regulation and low political stability, according to research published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Research released this week from Victoria University of Wellington reveals that a country’s level of governance and development has a strong impact on their risk of exporting exotic … Read More

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Southern NZ lakes congested with algal snot

Erica Mather Jun 10, 2016

Three iconic South Island lakes – Wanaka, Coleridge and Wakatipu, are being clogged with a particular type of algae that produces floating mucous or ‘lake snot’. The alga called Cyclotella, or recently renamed by algologists as Lindavia intermedia, is related to the ‘rock snot’ alga didymo. The recent appearance of lake snot is associated with the emergence and dominance … Read More

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NZ scientists join ambitious search of the cosmos

Erica Mather Jun 08, 2016

Scientists from the University of Auckland have signed up to join the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) project, one of the most ambitious astronomy projects ever undertaken. The LSST is a purpose-built telescope equipped with the world’s largest digital camera at 3,200-megapixels, which is able to take snapshots of the night sky the size of 40 full moons. The … Read More

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Newly identified magma chamber explains Bay of Plenty earthquakes

Erica Mather Jun 07, 2016

A combination of satellite images, GPS data and survey information from the 1950s have enabled scientists to uncover a magma chamber under the Bay of Plenty coast, which they link to thousands of small earthquakes here between 2004 and 2011. Until this finding, published in Science Advances, the reason for the earthquake ‘swarm’ was thought to be tectonic. Now … Read More

Extensive seafloor investigations to begin off NZ coast next year

Erica Mather Jun 02, 2016

The world’s largest geoscience programme has confirmed after years of planning that a series of unprecedented investigations of the seafloor will take place off New Zealand’s coast between 2017 and 2018. Hundreds of scientists from 26 countries including New Zealand form the International Ocean Discovery Programme (IODP) who announced this week that JOIDES Resolution , a research … Read More

Medicinal cannabis collides with e-cigarettes

Erica Mather May 27, 2016

Swiss researchers reveal that the vaporisation of cannabis oil, termed ‘cannavaping’ is a less hazardous way to administer medicinal cannabis compared to smoking, as published this week in Scientific Reports. Vincent Varlet and colleagues used butane gas to extract the psychoactive constituents (cannabinoids) from cannabis, producing butane hashish oil concentrate, which was then atomised using e-cigarettes. By analysing the … Read More

Experts support weight loss surgery for type-2 diabetics

Guest Work May 25, 2016

By Meena Amso A joint statement by leading diabetes organisations and endorsed by 45 worldwide scientific societies this week called for surgery to be recognised for the first time as a standard treatment option for type-2 diabetes. Weight loss surgery can play an important role in achieving blood sugar control and reduction in cardiovascular risk factors, say international experts who … Read More

Lessons from our worst oil spill

Erica Mather May 20, 2016

As thick heavy fuel oil washed ashore in the wake of the Rena grounding on the Astrolabe reef, smothering beaches and birds along the Bay of Plenty coast, public outrage mounted. Intense media coverage put pressure on environmental managers to answer difficult questions: what was the extent of the impact? How long would it take for the marine environment … Read More

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New report: NZ’s marine fisheries catch massively under-reported

Erica Mather May 16, 2016

The findings from a re-analysis of marine fisheries catches from New Zealand waters between 1950 and 2010 suggests the actual catch was 38.1 million tonnes, which is 2.7 times higher than the reported catch statistics for this 61 year period. The incomplete statistics are largely accounted for by the omission of unreported industrial catch and discarded fish, the … Read More

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Flotsam and jetsam: microplastics amass on NZ shores

Erica Mather May 10, 2016

The New Zealand shoreline is being clogged with microplastics.  A new study by the University of Canterbury reveals that the high quantities of microplastics found in coastal environments is comparable to levels identified overseas, which is surprising given New Zealand’s geographical isolation. Microplastics are small plastic particles less than 5mm in size that are found in exfoliant facial scrubs and … Read More

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