Rebecca McLeod

Young scientists in the limelight at Realise the Dream Awards Dinner - Science Life

Mar 11, 2010

I felt very privileged to MC the Realise the Dream celebratory awards dinner at Te Papa last night. Unfortunately, it seems that all of the (much deserved) attention given to the Prime Minister’s Science Awards recipients on Tuesday has resulted in this very special event, which celebrates the rather staggering scientific achievements of secondary scholars, flying somewhat under the media radar. There are so many opportunities for kids to get amongst science at school these days – the Bright Sparks programme, the Science Fair, the CREST programme, the Freemason’s Reel Science Film Festival, among many others. Realise the Dream in a way acts as an umbrella over these initiatives, taking top achievers from each, treating them to an action packed science camp in December, and then wrapping it up with the much anticipated Awards Night. Read More

Save the snot eels! - Science Life

Mar 02, 2010

The high demand for hagfish coupled with unregulated fisheries led to complete collapse of fisheries in Southeast Asia in the 1980's, the West Coast of the United States in the 1990's, followed by the East Coast in the early 2000's. For now the New Zealand population appears to be in a good state, although perhaps not for long according to our sole resident hagfish expert, Dr Ric Martini. "There has never been a sustainable commercial fishery for these animals anywhere in the world, and there’s no reason New Zealand should be an exception."

Community based marine management in practice — the West Coast example - Science Life

Feb 09, 2010

The South Island’s West Coast Marine Protection Forum looks set to be the first region to put a marine protected area (MPA) proposal to the Government under the new(ish) MPA Policy and Implementation Plan, with the group recently wrapping up an extensive consultation process. The proposal that was put out for public comment outlined four main sites and five smaller areas for a range of protection measures including marine reserves and fisheries act protected areas, contained within the area from just north of Karamea to just south of Haast. More than 1100 submissions were received, signaling that New Zealanders really care about this relatively remote part of the country. The proposed network of marine protected areas that was put out for public consultation last year The process has been a lengthy one with the forum, which … Read More

Otago Harbour in a red frenzy - Science Life

Jan 18, 2010

The shoaling animals have attracted thousands of seabirds to the harbour since November, and the feeding frenzy looks set to continue for a few more months. The assault on Munida is not only aerial – fishes, seals and sealions are also following the shoals from beneath.

Australian media on a mission to make scientists look dodgy - Science Life

Dec 21, 2009

Yesterday 895,000 Australians (and this one Kiwi) woke up to the headline “HOPES FADE IN COPENHAGEN, RISE ON THE REEF” in a national newspaper. As one who is always up for a bit of optimism I began reading… but by the second line my hopes were somewhat dashed: “Scientists ‘crying wolf’ over coral”. This front page story reported the views of one (I repeat ONE) scientist, Peter Ridd, a physicist from James Cook University, who believes that ecologists and biologists studying the Great Barrier Reef are guilty of exaggerating threats to the reef, such as increased sedimentation, crown of thorns starfish, pollution, and temperature-induced damage called bleaching. Ridd argues that the reef is still in ‘good health’ despite public attention being drawn to these individual threats over recent years, thus affecting the credibility of marine scientists, particularly with … Read More

A+ for Australian Marine Scientists - Science Life

Dec 04, 2009

The Marine Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Report Card Australia 2009 has just been released. Hiding behind the long-winded name is an excellent resource - a website-based state-of-knowledge of how climate change is likely to affect Australia's marine life, with expert opinions from more than 70 marine scientists across the country.