Lamprey – Living fossils in our midst Waiology Nov 20

By Cindy Baker Lamprey and hagfish (known as cyclostomes or agnathans) are the only living jawless vertebrates. Over 360 million years old, lampreys swam past herds of drinking dinosaurs, and have survived at least four mass extinctions. The brain of the lamprey is believed to be the closest example of our primal vertebrate ancestors, and [...]

How many whitebait eggs does it take to make a whitebait fritter? Waiology Nov 17

By Paul Franklin Every spring New Zealanders can be found creeping out at the crack of dawn to line the lower reaches of our rivers in the hope of catching that New Zealand delicacy – whitebait! As the mist lifts and the fishing comes to an end for the day, conversations turn to that critical [...]

Delving deeper: Life below the bottom of the stream Waiology Nov 13

By Aslan Wright-Stow Streams and rivers are typically thought of in two dimension space, flowing from upstream to down, from high in the catchment and then out to sea. Delve a little deeper however and we find a third dimension – a vertical space underneath the streambed that’s home to many freshwater invertebrates. Linked hydrologically [...]

Carbon cycling in mountain ranges – Our environmentally friendly Southern Alps Waiology Nov 10

By Sarah Mager The Southern Alps of New Zealand are the source of some of New Zealand’s most iconic river systems.  The development of the South Island has been intimately connected with these powerful water sources. For instance, the Clutha initially provided a critical navigation route into Central Otago and the early gold fields; the [...]

Understanding the natural history of New Zealand’s nutrient fluxes Waiology Nov 06

By Emily Diack and Sarah Mager Water quality in New Zealand has been a hot topic of late, especially when it comes to the growing impact that agriculture and land use changes are having on our waterways. Maintaining good water quality is fundamental for sustaining our indigenous ecosystems, but how do we define what that [...]

Hapua: developments in understanding river mouth lagoons and their responses to freshwater regimes Waiology Nov 03

By Deirdre Hart Hapua are a type of predominantly freshwater river mouth lagoon that occurs on high energy temperate coasts. In New Zealand, they comprise a group highly-dynamic and socio-culturally important environments (Figure 1). Hapua behave differently to lagoons with tidal prisms. This means that classic estuary models cannot be applied to their understanding or [...]

Landscapes shaped by water Waiology Oct 30

By Daniel Collins New Zealand is both a pluvial and fluvial country. A lot of water falls on, moves through, and runs off the landscape to the surrounding seas. At each step along the way water can play a role in shaping the landscape, whether by resisting or facilitating erosion or by providing environments where [...]

Southern Alps groundwater sheds light on the Alpine Fault Waiology Oct 28

By Simon Cox During the spring months of 2014, international attention will be drawn to the Alpine Fault along the western side of the Southern Alps, as the Deep Fault Drilling Project (DFDP) enters its second phase. Scientists from around the world aim to complete a 1.5 km drill hole near Whataroa, recover fault rocks [...]

Thirsty trees and water yields: Vegetation, water and a changing climate Waiology Oct 23

By Cate Macinnis-Ng Future climate projections predict that some parts of New Zealand will become drier with droughts being more severe and frequent. This is particularly true for the north and eastern parts of the country. We know that soil moisture availability will decline due to reductions in rainfall and increased evaporative demand will lead [...]

Tussocks – a fundamental component of New Zealand’s water cycle Waiology Oct 20

By Alice Trevelyan, Sarah Mager and Peter Wilson The significance of fog deposition to increased water yield has been contested for many years, especially across the Otago region. Determining the importance of the role of tussock grasslands in the hydrological system is becoming increasingly important, especially over the summer periods when the demand for water [...]

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