New Zealand captures over 10% of its freshwater resource Waiology Feb 12

By Daniel Collins Following a recent Timaru Herald article (3 February, 2015), I learned of a claim that 98% of NZ’s rainfall is left to flow out to sea, and that we only capture the other 2%. ‘‘This country doesn’t have a water shortage issue. What it has is a water storage issue. We capture [...]

The natural history of New Zealand’s freshwaters: Series conclusion and reader feedback Waiology Dec 09

By Daniel Collins Over the past two months, Waiology’s Freshwater in Focus series on natural history has published 14 articles, from 13 authors and seven institutions, describing the diversity, complexity, and beauty of New Zealand’s freshwaters. From atmosphere to lithosphere and mountain to coast, we have seen examples of how water shapes the landscapes and [...]

The secret lives of freshwater mussels Waiology Dec 05

By Kevin J Collier and Sue Clearwater You may not see them, but they are probably out there somewhere…hiding under overhangs and around fallen branches out of the main flow along stream banks, or buried in soft sediments on lake bottoms with only their siphons showing. And where you find one freshwater mussel there are [...]

Food webs: Who eats who, and what does that tell us? Waiology Dec 02

By Elizabeth Graham Food webs are maps of “who eats who” within an ecosystem (Figure 1a). Each node, or point, in the web represents a species or group of organisms; nodes are connected by a link if there is a known feeding relationship between the two groups. Though they are built on simple predator-prey relationships, [...]

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 [...]

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