Kimberley Collins

Kimberley is a science communicator with a background in ecology and conservation. Her lifelong passion for wildlife has taken her around New Zealand, to Antarctica, the SubAntarctic Islands and other offshore sanctuaries. Her original career in conservation biology was diverted when a stint working in public programmes at Waikato Museum persuaded Kimberley that communicating science was what she wanted to do. She completed a Masters in Science Communication at Otago University, researching how scientists use social media to communicate. Since completing her studies, Kimberley has worked with a range of conservation organisations as a communicator. She spent a year working at ZEALANDIA in Wellington and most recently at Forest & Bird as their online communications coordinator. In her spare time, Kimberley runs an outreach programme called Pop Up Science, which takes science beyond the walls of institutions by popping up with exhibits for children to engage with.

Bursting the Conservation Bubble with Birds - Up and Atom

Oct 16, 2018

As another Bird of the Year draws to a close, Kimberley Collins reflects on why this kind of fun and uplifting advocacy is an important way to get New Zealanders to take an interest in conservation. Every year, thousands of New Zealanders flock to the polls to vote for their favourite bird. Well-known and enthusiastic “campaign managers” hit the streets (and social media) to advocate for their chosen bird encouraging thousands of people to get involved. The kererū has “whooshed” in to take out Bird of the Year for 2018. This year’s competition was a huge success. We had a record-breaking number of votes, some very strange campaign tactics (like birds using the dating app Tinder), and even celebrity endorsements from Bill Bailey and Stephen Fry. There was not one, but two attempted hacking scandals where Australians … Read More

The Science of Coffee Naps (And Why You Should Take Them) - Up and Atom

Sep 04, 2016

Do you find yourself struggling to stay awake in the middle of the afternoon? Research shows having a coffee nap, where you drink cup of coffee and taking a 20 minute nap, is the most effective way to restore your energy.  Many of us know this feeling… (Photo by Wikimedia Commons) The “coffee nap” strategy is a great way to maximise the effect of caffeine from a cup of coffee as well as the refreshed feeling you get after a 20 minute nap. In one study, scientists found people who were asked to use a driving simulator after taking a coffee nap made fewer mistakes than those who were just given coffee or took a nap on its own. Meanwhile, another study showed taking a coffee nap can improve memory as people who combined coffee with a nap performed significantly better in memory tests … Read More

An Inventory of Citizen Science - Up and Atom

Aug 22, 2016

The New Zealand Landcare Trust has launched ‘An Inventory of Citizen Science in New Zealand‘ to understand what’s happening in the citizen science space. An Inventory of Citizen Science, which was published earlier this month. The inventory, written by Dr. Monica Peters, includes a range of projects studying everything from children monitoring long-tailed bats, to patrolling beaches for dead seabirds and monitoring local streams. “We wanted to create an inventory to get an overview of what’s happening and bring everything together” says Monica. “There’s a lot going on in the citizen science space but at the moment it’s not well coordinated. “If we can identify the gaps, it helps us understand what policy is needed, for example, to support the development of large scale, long term projects where community members collect scientific data.” The inventory focuses on citizen science projects that monitor environmental restoration projects and shows … Read More

Why coral reefs wouldn’t be the same without big fish (and their pee) - Up and Atom

Aug 18, 2016

Scientists have known for decades that fish urine is important for coral reefs. Now, a new study has found urine excreted by large fish is critical to the survival and growth of these fragile ecosystems.  Like most living things, coral reefs need nutrients to grow. In coral reefs, fish provide these, holding the nutrients in their tissue and excreting them through their urine and gills. Phosphorous is released into the water through their urine, while ammonium is excreted through their gills. Over 4,000 species of fish inhabit coral reefs (Photo by Wikimedia Commons) Scientists have long known that both these nutrients are critical to coral reef growth. One study in the 1980s showed reefs with fish grew twice as fast as those without fish. Now, a new study has shown the importance of large fish to coral reefs and looked at the impact removing them has on the … Read More

Studs or Duds? Bird Sperm and Conservation - Up and Atom

Aug 17, 2016

Dr Helen Taylor is one of thirteen scientists from New Zealand who have entered Thinkable’s 180 seconds of science and is using the opportunity to talk about bird sperm. The competition, supported by the Royal Society of New Zealand, gives early career researchers a unique opportunity to share their passion for innovative research in a 3 minute video. Helen’s video investigates what bird sperm and genetic diversity can tell us about the extinction risk of wildlife populations. What is your video about? My research explores the link between bottlenecks, inbreeding and reduced reproductive success in birds. We know inbreeding is linked to poor egg hatching success in many bird species, but it’s not known whether this is due to poor male fertility or other issues.  To find out what’s causing the problem, I am measuring bird sperm quality and relating it back to genetic … Read More