Environment and Ecology

Are deer the new moa revisited: the MythBusters episode - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence Apr 21, 2019

In a rockshelter at the base of a giant two-storey house-sized boulder, Jamie and Janet strike pay dirt. A few centimetres under the floor of this dry overhang are the tell tale signs of a prehistoric megafaunal latrine. We’re going on a moa hunt: bones and coprolites can be found under giant boulders like this one. Photo courtesy of … Read More

New Zealand’s urban freshwater is improving, but a major report reveals huge gaps in our knowledge - Guest Work

Guest Author Apr 18, 2019

Troy Baisden, University of Waikato Environment Aotearoa 2019, a major report released today, provides the first snapshot since 2015 of New Zealand’s environment across five “domains” – air, climate, freshwater, land and ocean. This is the first synthesis report produced under environmental reporting legislation that came into effect in 2016. Here, I’ll focus on freshwater … Read More

Squid team finds high species diversity off Kermadec Islands, part of stalled marine reserve proposal - Guest Work

Guest Author Apr 10, 2019

Kat Bolstad, Auckland University of Technology and Heather Braid, Auckland University of Technology Squids and octopuses could be considered the “parrots of the ocean”. Some are smart, and many have complex behaviours. And, of course, they have strange, bird-like beaks. They are the subject of ancient myths and legends about sea monsters, but they do not … Read More

Science to resolve environmental conflicts - Politecol

- Wayne Linklater Apr 10, 2019

Conservation science is sometimes used to subjugate people’s environmental values and opinions. Some people say, for example, that they would rather that poisons, like 1080, were used less or not at all in their environment. For most people, those concerns come from genuinely held ethical and environmental values and beliefs. They place great importance in the humane treatment of … Read More

Dissecting the Insect Apocalypse - Guest Work

Guest Author Apr 09, 2019

Tom Saunders Studies on insect declines published over the last few years have thrown up some scary headlines. “The insect apocalypse is here” proclaims the New York Times, warning the pace of insect declines could spell catastrophe within decades. It’s a grim picture, but how accurate is it? In late 2017, European scientists reported a 75% decline in insects over the last … Read More

Island focus to reduce extinction - News

Guest Author Apr 04, 2019

Erin Maessen Focusing conservation efforts on 169 islands, including five in New Zealand, could help to combat the global extinction crisis. This is according to the findings of a collaborative study between forty institutions, including universities and conservation organisations, published in PLOS ONE last week. The researchers combined conservation benefit with feasibility to assess 1,279 islands worldwide, whittling … Read More

Tasman forest fires – the role of fire breaks - Guest Work

Guest Author Mar 29, 2019

Grant Pearce By New Zealand standards, the Pigeon Valley forest fire was a major wildfire. Burning under very dry conditions, it spread rapidly over several days, destroying a house, damaging other buildings and property, and causing the evacuation of more than 3000 residents. It burned 2300ha, which makes it the largest forest fire since the 1955 Balmoral Forest fire in … Read More

Looking for human-nature connections in seasonal Wikipedia searches - News

Guest Author Mar 29, 2019

Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie Recently, I was wrapping up some revisions on a phenology paper and to comply with the journal’s style for taxonomy, I needed to know the authority on a species of white violets that a Maine hunting guide had noted in his diaries in the mid-twentieth century. Obviously, I turned to Wikipedia. Ecologists who study phenology (or anything!) … Read More

Plague Skink II: Revenge of the mudslingers - So Shoot Me

Jamie Steer Mar 27, 2019

I’m recently reminded of why I’m not on Facebook. In a moment of weakness I took a look at the Sciblogs Facebook page. The first thing I came across was a commenter ruminating on a recent post of mine: ‘Oh FFS, Sciblogs! Not MORE straw-man pseudoscience from Steer?!?!?!?’ Charming. Another was more positive though, referring a friend to a … Read More