Environment and Ecology

Why higher carbon dioxide levels aren’t good news, even if some plants grow faster - Climate: Explained

Guest Author Apr 30, 2020

Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz If carbon dioxide levels were to double, how much increase in plant growth would this cause? How much of … Read More

COVID-19 and the global climate emergency - COVID-19

Guest Author Apr 22, 2020

Associate Professor Simon Hales Living in 21st century New Zealand, it is easy to lose sight of the reality that human societies are embedded in a planetary ecosystem, upon which all life on Earth ultimately depends. Human cleverness beguiles us into believing that technology will always provide the answers to human needs. But the Covid-19 pandemic has brought … Read More

Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin - Unsorted

Otago Marine Science Mar 31, 2020

Prof Elisabeth Slooten, Prof Steve Dawson This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, we have never seen … Read More

Auckland Bike Life - Chthonic Wildlife Ramblings

Brendan Moyle Feb 11, 2020

Once again the Aotearoa Bike Challenge is on us, and once again I’m participating. In principle this is not hard because it does not represent a significant switch in behavior for me. I already bike nearly every day. The Bicycle The fascinating thing about cycling is the realisation that this is not an archaic form of transport. The bicycle is … Read More

Climate Commission is cleared for takeoff: James Renwick talks ice, snow, and climate action - Planetary Ecology

Robert McLachlan Feb 10, 2020

James Renwick is Professor of Physical Geography at Victoria University of Wellington. He studied at Canterbury and the University of Washington and has worked on diverse aspects of climate science, including global atmospheric circulation and Antarctic sea ice. In December 2019 he was appointed to the New Zealand Climate Change Commission, which will recommend carbon budgets and mitigation strategies to … Read More

Summer in the mountains – return of the kea gangs - Guest Work

Laura Young Jan 31, 2020

Peak summertime can feel like a wonderful place in the South Island mountains. This year it feels alive, almost burgeoning with young kea fledglings in some places. Twin Stream valley (near Glentanner), for instance, has had a group of at least 12 young kea through January 2020. Some of them are shown in this incredible photo (above), captured by Peter … Read More

A multitude of drops: Social tipping points in climate action - Planetary Ecology

Robert McLachlan Jan 24, 2020

If you’re here, you probably know that the climate crisis is upon us, that it’s getting steadily worse, and that attempts to address it haven’t worked yet. People are still driving and even advertising SUVs with impunity, and oil companies are exploring like crazy, even in New Zealand. Politically, socially, economically, it’s a challenging problem. In Social tipping dynamics … Read More

Tales of wombat ‘heroes’ have gone viral. Unfortunately, they’re not true - Guest Work

Guest Author Jan 16, 2020

Dale Nimmo, Charles Sturt University If you’ve been following the bushfire crisis on social media and elsewhere, you may have seen reports of benevolent wombats herding other animals to shelter into their fire-proof burrows. These stories went quickly viral – probably reflecting the appetite for good news after the horrors of the bushfire crisis. However, the accounts are not … Read More

Yes, koalas are cute – but should we bring them to NZ? Errm, no - Lately, In Science

Sarah-Jane O'Connor Jan 14, 2020

It’s been hard to miss the extreme fires raging across Australia and the tragic plight of the animals – human and otherwise – affected by the fires’ insatiable spread. I know I’ve been captivated and concerned by the tales of how Australia’s famous wildlife has been coping. Koalas approaching cyclists to beg a drink of water, kangaroos seeking … Read More

Animal response to a bushfire is astounding. These are the tricks they use to survive - Guest Work

Guest Author Jan 09, 2020

Dale Nimmo, Charles Sturt University Have you ever wondered how our native wildlife manage to stay alive when an inferno is ripping through their homes, and afterwards when there is little to eat and nowhere to hide? The answer is adaptation and old-fashioned ingenuity. Australia’s bushfire season is far from over, and the cost to wildlife has been epic. A … Read More