Environment and Ecology

It’s a Friday night in Invercargill for eastern moa during the Ice Age - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence May 11, 2022

In the depths of winter, most people from southern New Zealand head to warmer climes for a much-needed dose of Vitamin D. Yet during the height of the last Ice Age, one species of moa did just the opposite.  I’m reminded of Bill Bailey’s En Route to Normal tour that visited Dunedin last year where he was performing one of his … Read More

Bringing the tūī back to town – how native birds are returning to NZ’s restored urban forests - The Changing Climate

Guest Author May 11, 2022

Elizabeth Elliot Noe, Lincoln University, New Zealand; Andrew D. Barnes, University of Waikato; Bruce Clarkson, University of Waikato, and John Innes, Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research   Urbanisation, and the destruction of habitat it entails, is a major threat to native bird populations. But as our new research shows, restored urban forests can return native birds to our cities … Read More

Ash samples provide vital information for volcanic eruption response - Guest Work

Guest Author Apr 21, 2022

PHOTO (cropped): Japan Meteorological Agency, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=114321094 Jenny Stein, Resilience to Nature’s Challenges National Science Challenge Following a volcanic eruption, local communities understandably have more pressing concerns than ensuring a sample of ash gets sent to a lab. But that sample will provide crucial insight into the extent and types of hazards people will be exposed to … Read More

Can birds use weapons? - Guest Work

Guest Author Apr 07, 2022

Professor Kevin Burns, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington Most of us know the sad story of New Zealand’s natural history. Having evolved for millennia in the absence of mammals, most New Zealand animals never learned how to cope with the throngs of predatory mammals that accompanied us on our journey to Aotearoa New Zealand. Thankfully, recent conservation … Read More

From the smallest of bones come the biggest of secrets - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence Apr 04, 2022

Ask any museum curator if you could destroy the only known bone of a diminutive extinct animal for genetic research, and the answer, once the curator had regained their composure…well, I’ll leave that one to your imagination. Walk into the behind-the-scenes collection at any museum in Aotearoa New Zealand and you’re immediately drawn to the big things, whether that’s … Read More

Our cities are making us fat and unhealthy – a ‘healthy location index’ can help us plan better - Guest Work

Guest Author Apr 01, 2022

Matthew Hobbs, University of Canterbury and Lukas Marek, University of Canterbury As councils and central government consider what cities of the future will look like, a new tool has been developed to map how various features of where we live influence public health. The Healthy Location Index (HLI) breaks down healthy and unhealthy elements in cities across New Zealand. Read More

The long night: how the Ice Age drove blue-eyed shag evolution - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence Mar 28, 2022

The first snow had started to settle on the bare ground. Soon the shag will have to make a choice. Should it stay to battle the elements and potentially face death during the long night, or attempt a perilous journey to find a new home? By the time sea-ice surrounds its craggy island, creeping up from the south like an … Read More

Managing New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions from aviation - Planetary Ecology

Guest Author Mar 23, 2022

By Robert McLachlan and Paul Callister New Zealand at COP26 On 10 November 2021 at COP26 in Glasgow, New Zealand along with twenty-two other countries joined the “International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition”, committing to “Preparing up-to-date state action plans detailing ambitious and concrete national action to reduce aviation emissions and submitting these plans to ICAO well in advance of the … Read More

Something old, something new: meet St Bathans newest fossil duck - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence Mar 10, 2022

“Alan, Alan, Alan, we have a big one”. And sure enough, in front of the kids and me was the brown outline of a bone that hadn’t seen the light of day for millions of years. It’s big country out here. And baking hot, even this early in the morning. Driving out of Alexandra up the Manuherikia Valley the views … Read More

IPCC report: Coastal cities are sentinels for climate change. It’s where our focus should be as we prepare for inevitable impacts - The Changing Climate

Guest Author Mar 03, 2022

Bruce Glavovic, Massey University Coastal cities and settlements are on the climate change frontline. They are our first line of defence, facing some of the highest climate risks. But they are also where transformative climate-resilient development can happen. This is one of the key findings in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report on Impacts, … Read More