Environment and Ecology

A sad and tragic end - Chthonic Wildlife Ramblings

Brendan Moyle Feb 06, 2018

I got home on Monday night and my notifications on my phone exploded. Esmond Martin was dead. Murdered in his Nairobi home. For those of us who knew him, the shock spread through the conservation community. The news was picked up by more news sources in the next 24 hours. By Tuesday morning the NZ Herald was … Read More

Microplastics causing big problems for iconic ocean giants - News

Jean Balchin Feb 06, 2018

According to a new analysis for the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution, microplastics in our oceans are posing a significant risk to filter-feeding marine animals like manta rays and whale sharks. Microplastics are small plastic pieces less than five millimetres long . If you’ve ever bought a shower scrub, or exfoliator, you’ve probably heard of microbeads too. Microbeads are a type of … Read More

Rarotonga’s little plants facing big problems - Field Work

Guest Work Feb 01, 2018

By Peter de Lange A recent survey of Rarotonga’s little plants – the liverworts and mosses – has established that all is not well in the volcanic island’s forests. The plants, often dubbed the ‘canaries in the cage’ of the plant world because of their sensitivity to ecosystem change, are drowning under an onslaught of weeds that have spread from … Read More

Why is Predator-Free 2050 advocated using the language of religion and war? - Politecol

- Wayne Linklater Feb 01, 2018

The leaders of the Predator-Free movement routinely describe their goal to eradicate rats, stoats and possums from New Zealand by 2050 with religious and militaristic phrases (see Monday’s post). Sir Rob Fenwick (a Director of Predator-Free 2050), for example, described it as a “project born in a leap of faith”, and a “call to arms” by an “ … Read More

Predator Free 2050 – more like a religious war than science-based conservation policy - Politecol

- Wayne Linklater Jan 29, 2018

One of the leaders of the Predator-Free movement, Sir Rob Fenwick (Chair of the Predator Free New Zealand Trust and a Director of Predator-Free 2050), described Predator-Free 2050 as a “project born in a leap of faith” (Dominion Post). He appears to think the predator-free goal is more like a religion than a science-based conservation project. And, his religion is … Read More

Land use regulations matter - The Dismal Science

Michael Reddell Jan 25, 2018

Most local councils don’t employ economists –  or at least not ones we hear of.  The Auckland Council does have an economics unit, and the previous incumbent did some interesting and stimulating work. But yesterday on interest.co.nz there appeared an article by two of the Auckland Council’s economists which argued, so the headline proclaimed, that “evidence from across NZ … Read More

Everything you never wanted to know about bed bugs, and more! - Guest Work

Guest Work Jan 19, 2018

Romain Garrouste, Muséum national d’histoire naturelle (MNHN) – Sorbonne Universités This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. If some insects could save the world, others do their best to seriously complicate life on Earth. Among them the prize perhaps goes to the bed bug, which after decades of absence … Read More

Scientist at work: I’ve dived in hundreds of underwater caves hunting for new forms of life - Guest Work

Guest Work Jan 16, 2018

Tom Iliffe, Texas A&M University. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Maybe when you picture a university professor doing research it involves test tubes and beakers, or perhaps poring over musty manuscripts in a dimly lit library, or maybe going out into the field to examine new crop-growing techniques or animal-breeding … Read More

Science Tank | Snake Bite - Guest Work

Guest Work Jan 10, 2018

The Russell’s viper (Daboia russelii) is a highly venomous Old World viper found throughout Asia, the Indian subcontinent and a great deal of Southeast Asia. The name derives from the Hindi word meaning “the lurker” or “that lies hid”. Other names for the Russell’s viper include Daboia, chain viper, Indian Russell’s viper, common Russell’s viper, chain snake, scissors snake and seven pacer. Read More

Predator-free is a “mirage” – John Parkes - Politecol

- Wayne Linklater Jan 08, 2018

Killing predators to reduce their impact is an important part of wildlife conservation in New Zealand. It delivers good outcomes for biodiversity, especially for our birds and reptiles. It does not logically or scientifically follow, however, that attempting to eradicate predators from ALL of New Zealand is also a good idea. Indeed, some scientists think that a national … Read More