News

Ice ages led to ‘explosive’ diversity in Kiwi species

John Kerr Sep 01, 2016

Ancient walls of ice separating kiwi populations have left their mark in the DNA of New Zealand’s most iconic species. A new study published this week in PNAS has revealed the enormous impact historic cold snaps had on the evolution of kiwis. Researchers based in Canada, in collaboration with Department of Conservation scientists, examined a database of kiwi DNA across the geographic … Read More

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Welly, Chch & Dunners: NZ’s most active cities

John Kerr Aug 30, 2016

It seems the weather is no excuse. New Zealand’s cold, wet and windy urban centers are also where the most people get out walking and cycling.  Source: NZTA The findings come from a new report examining levels of active transport – getting around by foot or bicycle – and overall population health in New Zealand’s six largest cities. The … Read More

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What to do about astro-junk in NZ waters?

John Kerr Aug 29, 2016

New Zealand is about join the space race with a new rocket programme, but Kiwis will need to have a think about how this is going to impact our surrounding waters. The government has just opened public consultation on new rules about how material jettisoned into the ocean from rocket launches will be dealt with under environmental legislation. NZ … Read More

Proxima b: the Earth next door?

John Kerr Aug 25, 2016

The astronomy world is abuzz following the discovery of a planet in a neighboring star system, sitting in just the right position to – theoretically – host liquid water.  It is still over four light years away, but the planet Proxima b in the Alpha Centauri system is the closest Earth-like planet we’ve found. The discovery is published today in the journal Nature. Read More

Climate impacts on southern species – where’s the data?

John Kerr Aug 23, 2016

We need to keep an eye on key species to track the impacts of climate change, but southern hemisphere countries like New Zealand and Australia are falling behind. The warning comes from South African and Australian scientists in an article published today in Austral Ecology. As the world warms, say the authors, we need long-term data to understand how plants and animals are changing … Read More

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Why use your memory when you can use your computer’s?

Julie Iles Aug 19, 2016

On every smartphone, there is probably a collection of quickly typed reminders, thoughts, grocery lists, and  titbits of information we thought we might forget. Out-sourcing our thoughts and memories like this is called ‘cognitive offloading’. The term involves everyday activities we may take for granted. From using a calculator to check finances to depending on Google Maps to get around, cognitive offloading is what we … Read More

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Ketamine & depression: NZ part of world-first clinical trial

John Kerr Aug 16, 2016

New Zealand patients will be part of the world’s largest controlled clinical trial testing the “enormous potential” of ketamine as an antidepressant medication. A vial of ketamine. Credit: Wikimedia / Psychonaught Depending on who you ask, the drug ketamine is either a powerful anesthetic, a horse tranquilizer or an illicit narcotic.  However, there is now a growing … Read More

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Olympic Rivalries: Battle of the same-sexes

Julie Iles Aug 12, 2016

This Olympic season Michael Phelps has been unmatched as the most decorated Olympian of all time, though there has still been media scrutiny surrounding his ‘glaring’ rivalry with Chad le Clos of South Africa. Professor J Benenson of Harvard University Rivalries like Phelps and le Clos’ have been making a splash at Rio, and close attention has been paid to how athletes … Read More

NZ native falcon is actually two types of bird

John Kerr Aug 10, 2016

The New Zealand falcon, or kārearea, population is actually made up of two different subspecies, scientists have decided. Researchers from Massey University declare the subspecies split in a new study analysing the physical and genetic differences between kārearea from different parts of the New Zealand. The research is published in IBIS, International Journal of Avian Science. In collecting data on bird sizes, the researchers … Read More

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