Environment and Ecology

Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin - Unsorted

Otago Marine Science Mar 31, 2020

Prof Elisabeth Slooten, Prof Steve Dawson This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, we have never seen … Read More

Auckland Bike Life - Chthonic Wildlife Ramblings

Brendan Moyle Feb 11, 2020

Once again the Aotearoa Bike Challenge is on us, and once again I’m participating. In principle this is not hard because it does not represent a significant switch in behavior for me. I already bike nearly every day. The Bicycle The fascinating thing about cycling is the realisation that this is not an archaic form of transport. The bicycle is … Read More

Climate Commission is cleared for takeoff: James Renwick talks ice, snow, and climate action - Planetary Ecology

Robert McLachlan Feb 10, 2020

James Renwick is Professor of Physical Geography at Victoria University of Wellington. He studied at Canterbury and the University of Washington and has worked on diverse aspects of climate science, including global atmospheric circulation and Antarctic sea ice. In December 2019 he was appointed to the New Zealand Climate Change Commission, which will recommend carbon budgets and mitigation strategies to … Read More

Summer in the mountains – return of the kea gangs - Guest Work

Laura Young Jan 31, 2020

Peak summertime can feel like a wonderful place in the South Island mountains. This year it feels alive, almost burgeoning with young kea fledglings in some places. Twin Stream valley (near Glentanner), for instance, has had a group of at least 12 young kea through January 2020. Some of them are shown in this incredible photo (above), captured by Peter … Read More

A multitude of drops: Social tipping points in climate action - Planetary Ecology

Robert McLachlan Jan 24, 2020

If you’re here, you probably know that the climate crisis is upon us, that it’s getting steadily worse, and that attempts to address it haven’t worked yet. People are still driving and even advertising SUVs with impunity, and oil companies are exploring like crazy, even in New Zealand. Politically, socially, economically, it’s a challenging problem. In Social tipping dynamics … Read More

Tales of wombat ‘heroes’ have gone viral. Unfortunately, they’re not true - Guest Work

Guest Author Jan 16, 2020

Dale Nimmo, Charles Sturt University If you’ve been following the bushfire crisis on social media and elsewhere, you may have seen reports of benevolent wombats herding other animals to shelter into their fire-proof burrows. These stories went quickly viral – probably reflecting the appetite for good news after the horrors of the bushfire crisis. However, the accounts are not … Read More

Yes, koalas are cute – but should we bring them to NZ? Errm, no - Lately, In Science

Sarah-Jane O'Connor Jan 14, 2020

It’s been hard to miss the extreme fires raging across Australia and the tragic plight of the animals – human and otherwise – affected by the fires’ insatiable spread. I know I’ve been captivated and concerned by the tales of how Australia’s famous wildlife has been coping. Koalas approaching cyclists to beg a drink of water, kangaroos seeking … Read More

Animal response to a bushfire is astounding. These are the tricks they use to survive - Guest Work

Guest Author Jan 09, 2020

Dale Nimmo, Charles Sturt University Have you ever wondered how our native wildlife manage to stay alive when an inferno is ripping through their homes, and afterwards when there is little to eat and nowhere to hide? The answer is adaptation and old-fashioned ingenuity. Australia’s bushfire season is far from over, and the cost to wildlife has been epic. A … Read More

Should I ditch my fossil-fueled car? - Planetary Ecology

Robert McLachlan Jan 09, 2020

Yes. Reducing the number of cars in your household, or switching from petrol/diesel to electric, will dramatically reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. It’s one of the easiest and highest-impact climate steps you can take. New Zealand is being flooded with cars The New Zealand vehicle fleet is increasing rapidly. In the five years 2012-2017,  1,420,000 vehicles were imported and 660,000 … Read More

The climate crisis is also a biodiversity crisis - Guest Work

Guest Author Jan 08, 2020

Dr Andrea Byrom Like many of us, the summer break has seen me transfixed with horror at the scale and magnitude of the bushfire crisis in Australia. As an ecologist, I can’t help but be appalled at the loss of some of Australia’s most beautiful ecosystems and landscapes. And as someone who experienced all 20,000 (and counting) Christchurch earthquakes, … Read More