Environment and Ecology

Applying genomics to the taxonomic dilemma of threatened albatrosses - Genomics Aotearoa

Genomics Aotearoa Jun 14, 2022

By Imogen Foote (Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington) A lack of consensus among international conservation regimes regarding albatross taxonomy makes management of these ocean roaming birds tricky. My PhD research aims to generate whole genome data for some of our most threatened albatrosses in a first attempt to bring their taxonomy into the genomic era. The albatross … Read More

11,000 litres of water to make one litre of milk? New questions about the freshwater impact of NZ dairy farming - The Changing Climate

Guest Author May 30, 2022

Mike Joy, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington   Water scarcity and water pollution are increasingly critical global issues. Water scarcity is driven not only by shortages of water, but also by rendering water unusable through pollution. New Zealand is no exception to these trends. Demand for water has rapidly increased, and New Zealand now has … Read More

Don’t believe the backlash – the benefits of NZ investing more in cycling will far outweigh the costs - The Changing Climate

Guest Author May 26, 2022

Simon Kingham, University of Canterbury   The Dutch have long been recognised as leaders in cycling. Denmark is not far behind, with more bikes than cars in its capital Copenhagen. This is the result of many years of investment. Even the UK, with less of a cycling tradition, is investing and showing growth in cycling. New Zealand is starting … Read More

New Zealand must get over its obsession with big cars and go smaller or electric to cut emissions - The Changing Climate

Guest Author May 26, 2022

Jen Purdie, University of Otago If your next car is not electric, then it must be much smaller than your last one. Scientists have warned that the world needs to halve emissions every decade to keep global warming less than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. The government of Aotearoa New Zealand aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to … Read More

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