Victoria Metcalf

Dr Victoria Metcalf is a marine biologist and former Lecturer in Genetics at Lincoln University. She is currently the National Coordinator of the Participatory Science Platform, Office of the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor. Victoria is mad keen on researching fish and shellfish. She has a PhD in biochemistry and has always been drawn to non-mammalian species because she finds them so incredibly interesting. She has a particular love of cold places and most of her research is on Antarctic marine life although she has studied New Zealand marine species too. Victoria is on Twitter @VicMetcalf_NZ

Safe to go in the water? The ‘bleeding legs’ sea flea mystery - Ice Doctor

Aug 10, 2017

The story has gone viral around the world  – a teenager, Sam Kanizay, dips his legs in the water after soccer practice in Melbourne and emerges bleeding profusely, and in hospital for days, with dramatic headlines of mysterious flesh eating sea creatures to blame. So what’s the likely culprit and do we need to fear getting in the water here? Graphic warning. Headlines such as “Strange Sea Creatures Chewed Up This Teen Boy’s Legs“, “Mysterious Flesh-Eating Sea Creature Causes Shocking Injury“, “Melbourne Teenager Bloodied By Swarm Of Meat-Eating Sea Lice“, “Tiny ‘meat-loving’ marine creatures ‘eat’ teenager’s legs at Melbourne beach“, “The Beach Is Canceled After This Teenager Got Attacked by Flesh-Eating Sea Lice“, and “Teen’s feet mangled by carnivorous ‘sea lice’” are … Read More

How we relate – What is meaningful engagement? - Ice Doctor

Oct 13, 2016

In a post-normal science world how we engage is fundamentally important. Next Tuesday Twitter users will have the opportunity to discuss meaningful engagement in a combined #scicommnz #scichatnz chat. SciCommNZ chats, using the hashtag #scicommnz, are where a community of scientists, science communicators and science educators meet on Twitter once a month. The chat aim is to discuss how science is being communicated in New Zealand and beyond. Scichatnz chats, using the hashtag #scichatnz, are a fortnightly chat for science educators. Next Tuesday 18th October at 20:30 NZT, the two highly popular chats will combine for a special themed session on “Meaningful engagement”. I’ll be hosting and  Matt Nicoll of Rolleston High School and representing @SciChatNZ will be Agent Provocateur. We’ll be using a slightly different … Read More

Reframing innovation in New Zealand Part 2 - Ice Doctor

Aug 10, 2016

The assignment from Te Punaha Matatini – to think about how we might reframe innovation in the New Zealand context and to use the available data from Figure.NZ to do so – has given me pause to consider some often overlooked and what I believe are pivotal components to creating a brighter future – diversity (in this piece, focussing only on gender), leadership & interdisciplinarity. I have used Figure.NZ data to help shape my thoughts.  I’ve split my original longform post into two parts. This is Part 2 (and the shorter part) on interdisciplinarity data as well as summarising Parts 1 and 2. Please read Part 1 first. Navigating the jagged rocks and journeying through the looking glass A case and a space for gender diversity and connectivity – Reframing innovation in New Zealand. Disclaimer: Comments, opinions and … Read More

Reframing innovation in New Zealand Part 1 - Ice Doctor

Aug 08, 2016

The assignment from Te Punaha Matatini – to think about how we might reframe innovation in the New Zealand context and to use the available data from Figure.NZ to do so – has given me pause to consider some often overlooked and what I believe are pivotal components to creating a brighter future – diversity (in this piece, focussing only on gender), leadership & interdisciplinarity. I have used Figure.NZ data to help shape my thoughts. I’ve split my original longform post into two parts. This is Part 1. Navigating the jagged rocks and journeying through the looking glass A case and a space for gender diversity and connectivity – Reframing innovation in New Zealand. Disclaimer: Comments, opinions and analysis are my own. You’re captain on a ship being pursued by a flotilla of pirate ships wanting your … Read More

Curious adventures in Wonderland - Curious and Curiouser

Jul 03, 2016

We live in Wonderland. Let’s keep ourselves curious and explore it. Image Source: Flickr Commons uploaded by cea +. Recently I took Miss6 to watch the new Alice movie –Through the Looking Glass. I got a special thrill when Alice said “Curiouser and Curiouser”, as this famous line provided inspiration for the name of this blog ‘Curious and Curiouser‘ (Note: it actually appears in Lewis Carroll’s book Alice in Wonderland, rather than Through the Looking Glass). The film was full of wonder and curiosity, of adventures and findings. It’s a fantastical world, but without hesitation I would say our world we live in is every bit as magical as Wonderland. By John Tenniel – Alice in Wonderland, Illustrator: Tenniell 1st Russian Edition, Public Domain. There’s as much to be as curious … Read More

Gender matters in science - Ice Doctor

May 23, 2016

There’s been some unsettling things happen in New Zealand science of late, but you may not have noticed all of them, as they relate to gender. It’s been a bit of a weird week for New Zealand science. There’s been the fishing debacle that’s unfolded like a intricate piece of origami – many extra facets and information being revealed each day and dominating the headlines. The fisheries story appeared well timed, but entirely by coincidence, on the back of the release of  the book Silencing Science by fellow blogger Shaun Hendy. Both have brought further acute attention to the tensions at the science-policy nexus, that also spill over into frictions in terms of public engagement with science. But beyond that major headline capturing stuff, there’s been some more subtle matters of concern. These relate to tensions with respect to gender equity for women in … Read More

Unlocking a whole lot more Curious Minds - Curious and Curiouser

May 20, 2016

These are exciting times for public science engagement in New Zealand. Last week 44 projects were successful in receiving a total of $2 million in the 2016 funding round for Unlocking Curious Minds. The Unlocking Curious Minds contestable fund in official language: supports innovative projects that will excite and engage New Zealanders, particularly young people (aged 18 years and under), who have fewer opportunities to be involved with science and technology. Effectively the fund is for outreach projects and in the main of the event-based variety. Unlocking Curious Minds encourages applicants to think about taking a fresh approach to how engagement or outreach occurs. It has a focus on those that have fewer opportunities to be involved with science and technology – children, young people, those on low incomes, people who live in remote areas, or some ethnic groups. Unlocking Curious Minds aims to promote … Read More

Science to steam up The Bachelor - Unsorted

May 08, 2016

I have a guilty little confession. I’ve been sucked into that other worldly place of fairytales, roses and a lot of oestrogen by immersing myself into The Bachelor. And before you recoil in disgust, I know, I know. I am morally opposed to the programme. It doesn’t agree with my values on so many levels. The prince on the white stallion riding in to save the women from singlehood-  like, All At Once. The pitting of girl against girl- catty, bitchy and competitive. The portrayal of the bachelor as the absolute gentleman, whilst simultaneously dating multiple women. Yeah – that. That old trope of needing a man to really be complete as a woman. The beauty pageant look. The fairy tale dates. The inferences about the offer to stay the night … Read More

Kids as curators of creativity - Ice Doctor

Apr 25, 2016

Children have a wealth of information to teach us if we pause to observe their simple rituals as collectors and curators. They’d been playing happily on the wharf, my daughter and a new same-age friend she’d met just minutes before in the restaurant where we’d just eaten lunch. They’d cemented their bonding whilst peering down the hole around a wharf pile in the loading platform below. Totally fascinated by the mesocosm surrounding it of fish, algae, mussels and toe and finger tickling shrimps. Then they eventually took off to the shore – pale, long hair flying in the breeze as they ran to explore the mudflats. They seized on interesting stones, sticks, shells and even dead, soggy, water-laden crabs that the other girl emphatically decided were going home with her. Her mother, both amazingly and wonderfully, didn’t bat an eyelid and delicately placed the floppy crab bodies … Read More

Slugging it out? They call me mellow yellow - Ice Doctor

Mar 04, 2016

Sometimes we find quite extraordinary, yet ordinary, things in our own backyard. Introducing a slug. The other day I found this beauty sliding along our doormat. Slugs and snails don’t gross me out. After all, thanks to an interest shown by Miss6, we kept Big Gavin, a hand-me-down snail and his/her friends for nearly 2 years as a pet. Big Gavin eventually escaped with numerous babies, friends and family members when Acorn our pet house rabbit caved in the mesh on their home. I’m not averse to getting rid of the slimy critters either – neem granules seem to work to some degree to stop them decimating the veges. Or alternatively putting them over the fence. But despite that we still have some mucus-y movers. I certainly wasn’t expecting though to see a 10cm long slug -at first glance looking like, … Read More