Environment and Ecology

Put the brakes on ‘gene drives’ for predator control, say researchers - News

John Kerr Nov 17, 2017

New Zealand wants to get rid of predators. But some of the genetic tools under consideration for the task could have disastrous consequences if they spread beyond our shores, warn researchers. Last year New Zealand boldly announced its ambitious Predator Free 2050 goal, and just yesterday unveiled a detailed strategy for reaching the goal. Investigating the potential of new … Read More

The scientific effort to take out our biggest pests - Griffin's Gadgets

Peter Griffin Nov 16, 2017

Nearly 18 months on from the previous government announcing Predator Free 2050, an ambitious goal to eradicate our most destructive invasive pests, the research that will underpin the strategy has been unveiled. Predator Free 2050 Ltd is the company that was set up to invest in predator eradication and steer the major scientific effort that will be required to achieve … Read More

Biodiversity conservation in 2100 - Politecol

- Wayne Linklater Nov 10, 2017

This was the theme of today’s panel-public discussion in Old Government Buildings at Victoria University. It was chaired by Kathryn Ryan – host of Radio New Zealand’s Nine-to-noon. Panelists were asked to provide an opening statement that answered the above questions (text box) and described their position. Here is mine. In 2100 people will be an … Read More

Simon Upton – New Zealand science like an ‘exotic botanical garden’ - Griffin's Gadgets

Peter Griffin Nov 10, 2017

The Crown Research Institutes are 25 years old and they celebrated yesterday with a series of talks and a showcase of their science at Te Papa in Wellington yesterday. Labour’s Research, Science and Innovation Minister, Dr Megan Woods, a former Plant & Food employee herself, gave a fairly measured speech that strayed little from the science and research-related commitments made … Read More

How to solve the ‘monster’ fatberg problem - Guest Work

Guest Work Nov 09, 2017

By Alison Browne, University of Manchester and Mike Foden, Keele University.  Fatbergs – enormous solid masses of oil, grease, wet wipes and other hygiene products that congeal together to cause major blockages – are wreaking havoc on the sewers of cities around the world. A 130 tonne specimen described as a “monster” recently caused backups … Read More

2017 in top three hottest years on record, with record-breaking extreme weather - News

John Kerr Nov 07, 2017

This year will be the third hottest year on record, according to a new report released to coincide with a major climate summit in Germany. World Meteorological Organization’s provisional Statement on the State of the Climate reveals that the mean global temperature for the period January to September 2017 was approximately 1.1°C above the pre-industrial era.  As a result of … Read More

Why are talks over an East Antarctic marine park still deadlocked? - Guest Work

Guest Work Nov 05, 2017

By Cassandra Brooks, University of Colorado. Last week, representatives from 24 countries plus the European Union met in Hobart to discuss plans for a vast marine protected area (MPA) off the coast of East Antarctica. The proposed area, spanning almost 1 million square km, is crucial for a vast array of marine life. Scientists, conservationists and governments … Read More

Mosquito-borne diseases more likely to reach New Zealand - Infrequently Asked Questions

Lynley Hargreaves Nov 02, 2017

It’s a familiar New Zealand story, the havoc wrecked by all the pest species we’ve brought in. But in the case of mosquitoes, the worst might be yet to come. There were 12 mostly bird-nibbling mosquito species in pre-European times. Since our arrival, three new species have become permanently established here. We’ve stopped dozens more at our … Read More

Earth Microbiome Project: crowd-sourcing the world’s bacteria - News

John Kerr Nov 02, 2017

A genetic database of over 27,000 bacterial samples from around the world – including New Zealand – will keep researchers busy for years to come. Cataloging the bacterial diversity of the entire planet? Given that microbes are basically everywhere, this seems like an impossible task. But an international team of researchers is taking on the challenge. The Earth Microbiome … Read More