Science

How rainbow colour maps can distort data and be misleading - Guest Work

Guest Author Oct 07, 2021

Philip Heron, University of Toronto; Fabio Crameri, University of Oslo, and Grace Shephard, University of Oslo   The choice of colour to represent information in scientific images is a fundamental part of communicating findings. However, a number of colour palettes that are widely used to display critical scientific results are not only dangerously misleading, but also unreadable to a proportion … Read More

Celebrating Women in Space - Kidney Punch

John Pickering Oct 06, 2021

Beautiful, Inspiring, Mysterious!  How do you describe space?  What do you think when you look up at the stars?  The United Nations General Assembly certainly knew how beautiful, inspiring, mysterious, and important space is when they designated a week to be World Space Week.  That’s this week, and the theme for this year is Women in Space. There are numerous New Zealand women who … Read More

The earthquake that rattled Melbourne was among Australia’s biggest in half a century, but rock records reveal far mightier ones - News

Guest Author Sep 23, 2021

Mark Quigley, The University of Melbourne and Januka Attanayake, The University of Melbourne   An earthquake that struck near Melbourne today is one of the largest in Australia since instrumental seismic records began. However, the geological record of ground-breaking fault ruptures tells us much larger earthquakes have occurred across the continent. Some of these earthquakes would have been witnessed … Read More

Resolving a genetic mash-up: reconstructing an accurate evolutionary history of kākāriki - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence Sep 10, 2021

Prioritising species conservation and over-stretched government funding is built upon an accurate understanding of evolutionary relationships and taxonomy. But what if that evolutionary history is wrong? More importantly, what are the consequences for endangered biodiversity as conservation funding and resources are re-assigned? Numerous examples have come to light in recent years where genetic techniques have shown previously recognised endangered or … Read More

Out of the fire and into a mad world: How human arrival in New Zealand resulted in a flightless insect - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence Aug 22, 2021

When most people think of the consequences of humans arriving on an isolated island paradise, it wouldn’t be making an insect flightless. Most people would think about the rapid extinction of biodiversity and environmental modification that inevitably follows human arrival. In Aotearoa New Zealand this includes the sad loss of the giant megafaunal moa, pouakai Haast’s eagle, and … Read More

Weaving mātauranga Māori and science can empower Aotearoa - Mātau Taiao

Rosemary Rangitauira Jul 05, 2021

Whatungarongaro te tangata, toitū te whenua – As man disappears, the land remains. This proverb embodies Dr Daniel Hikuroa’s ambition to look after the land while he’s here and highlights his passion to weave mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) with science. Dan affiliates to Ngāti Maniapoto, Waikato-Tainui and Ngāti Whanaunga.   He specialises in many disciplines including Earth systems science, natural hazards … Read More

From Aptornis to Zosterops: What can be done about an extinction crisis 50,000 years in the making? - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence Jun 28, 2021

Conservation comes down to values. Do we only focus on the charismatic animals and the things we can see, or do we conserve the out-of-sight, out-of-mind Lilliputs? If that world collapses, you can be sure ours is next. I’m standing in the basement of our National Museum Te Papa Tongarewa surrounded by the ghostly remains of New Zealand’s bygone bird … Read More

Genomic solutions for a plant taonga: a high-quality rewarewa genome - Genomics Aotearoa

Genomics Aotearoa Jun 09, 2021

[Illustration credit: “Seven Sisters, Knightia excelsa” Jennifer Duval-Smith ] By Plant & Food Research High Quality Genomes project co-leader David Chagné The completion of the native rewarewa (Knightia excelsa) tree genome sequence is demonstrating New Zealand is now taking charge of producing genomes on its native species. These are species that are important to us, and have taonga … Read More

Whakaari tragedy: court case highlights just how complex it is to forecast a volcanic eruption - News

Guest Author Jun 04, 2021

Shane Cronin, University of Auckland and David Dempsey, University of Canterbury   While today’s pre-trial hearing over the Whakaari White Island tragedy revealed most of the 13 parties charged have yet to enter pleas, there is no disputing the basic facts. The December 9 2019 eruption struck when 47 people were on the small island; 22 people died … Read More

New Zealand relies on scientific research for good policy. It’s a pity the budget didn’t reflect this - News

Guest Author Jun 02, 2021

Nicola Gaston, University of Auckland   New Zealand’s government has been praised for listening to scientists as it continues to pursue its COVID-19 elimination strategy. But it’s difficult to find any signs of significant investment in science in the recent budget — or in fact previous budgets. It was with a sense of déjà vu I scrolled through … Read More