Tagged: conservation

The search for Nessie showcases an exciting new conservation tool - Wild Science

Helen Taylor Apr 13, 2017

I was sceptical about my lab head joining the hunt for the Loch Ness monster, until I realised it was an excellent way to promote the amazing possibilities of environmental DNA. Making a splash Last week’s news was full of tales of how my boss, Professor Neil Gemmell, was going to take on the challenge of tracking down … Read More

De-extinction: more hype than hope - Wild Science

Helen Taylor Mar 08, 2017

Efforts to resurrect extinct species could divert funding away from conserving extant species, but a more basic issue with “de-extinction” is the misinformation surrounding the topic. A recent study by New Zealand and Australian researchers puts a price on “de-extinction”. The team also estimate how many native extant species might be lost by directing these funds away from existing … Read More

Rhinos can correct gender imbalance in the wild - News

Jean Balchin Mar 08, 2017

Rhinos are able to alter the sex of their offspring to avoid a gender imbalance and reduce competition for breeding, according to a new study led by a New Zealand researcher. Twenty-four years of rhinoceros data, gathered over the course of 45 reintroductions of the animals across southern Africa, provided this first experimental evidence in the wild. Professor Wayne … Read More

The internet of predatory things - Ariadne

Robert Hickson Mar 05, 2017

My first job after completing my Bachelor’s was tracking and trapping rats on Stewart Island. Decades later, the tools and approaches for mammalian pest control have progressed; better lures, traps and poisons. But not so much. Particularly if you compare how the field of genetics has changed over the same time; from laborious manual DNA sequencing to high-speed automation. The … Read More

De-extinction dilemma: Bring back the moa or save the kiwi? - News

John Kerr Feb 28, 2017

Adding previously-extinct species to our conservation checklist will strain already tight conservation budgets, say a team of New Zealand and Australian scientists. Little Bush Moa, Anomalopteryx didiformis. © Te Papa. De-extinction – resurrecting extinct species with the help of modern technology – has been largely confined to the realms of sci-fi. But now technology is catching up with the fantasy. Read More

New Zealand science looks to the future – Sciblogs Horizon Scan - News

John Kerr Feb 20, 2017

Pandemics, predators and predicting sea-level rise are just a few of the issues covered in our Sciblogs Horizon Scan special series. We asked experts across the spectrum of New Zealand science to give us their take on the big issues in their field and what might be around the corner. What does the future hold in store for New Zealand … Read More

Get ready for CRISPR conservation - Wild Science

Helen Taylor Feb 09, 2017

New Zealand is known for its bold, proactive conservation strategies. Are we ready to use advanced gene editing techniques to save native species? Imagine being able to turn genes on and off, or change their code and alter their function. This is the reality of gene editing technologies facilitated by enzymes like CRISPR-Cas9. CRISPR is essentially a pair of … Read More

Conservation’s horizon in New Zea la-la land - Politecol

- Wayne Linklater Jan 30, 2017

Designing ecosystems, reconciliation ecology for conservation The theme for the influential Ecological Society of America’s annual conference last year was “Novel Ecosystems in the Anthropocene”. A novel ecosystem is a human-made habitat and community of plants and animals. Novel ecosystems can be planned, accidental, or caused by poor environmental management that cannot be undone. And Anthropocene describes the current geological age when … 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