Tagged: New Zealand

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

COVID-19 Helping people check locations of interest - Code for life

Grant Jacobs Aug 27, 2021

OPINION. It’s important locate as many people who have been at locations of interest as possible in New Zealand’s Delta variant outbreak. Because few people have been scanning QR codes or keeping other personal records we’re relying on people to check the Ministry of Health’s list of locations of interest. A few initiatives might help this. People who’ve been at … 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

Goldilocks and the three futures - Ariadne

Robert Hickson Jun 20, 2021

Goldilocks, the house breaker, always had a choice of three, one of which always appeared to be just right. Temporally, there’s three types of futures too. Short-term, medium-term, and long-term. Those are all relative, depending on what you are looking at. Some technologies, for example, change very quickly, so “long-term” may be less than a decade. In … Read More

Land of the chonky birds: How and why did New Zealand have so many feathered giants? - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence May 31, 2021

The eastern moa is stuck fast in the swamp, its thick legs having punched through the peat into the liquid blue clay beneath. Death is inevitable, whether from starvation or from above. Unable to move, the moa can only eat what it can reach around it, if anything. The forests that covered this area during warmer times are … Read More

COVID-19 vaccines prevent spread of the virus too - Code for life

Grant Jacobs May 13, 2021

Many people seem to be reading that our COVID-19 vaccine won’t prevent the spread of COVID-19 from one person to the next.1 If you’re worried about this, this one is for you. We now have evidence the vaccine reduces transmission, and a rough idea of by how much.2 Science is often about pulling different pieces of evidence together, in this … Read More

How crowdfunding campaigners market illness to capture the attention of potential donors - Hot off the press

Guest Author Apr 28, 2021

Tom Baker, University of Auckland; Ann E. Bartos, University of Auckland; Caitlin Neuwelt-Kearns, University of Auckland; Octavia Calder-Dawe, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington, and Susan E Wardell Liam’s* crowdfunding campaign page is direct: his “sole purpose is to survive”. Before his diagnosis with inoperable brain cancer, Liam was a “healthy, fitness and sports minded 44-year-old, [who gave] … Read More

Many New Zealand species are already at risk because of predators and habitat loss. Climate change makes things worse - Planetary Ecology

Guest Author Mar 24, 2021

Cate Macinnis-Ng, University of Auckland and Angus Mcintosh, University of Canterbury Islands are biodiversity hotspots. They are home to 20% of the world’s plants and animals yet cover only 5% of the global landmass. But island ecosystems are highly vulnerable, threatened by habitat fragmentation and introduced invasive weeds and predators. Climate change adds to all these stresses. In our … Read More

Climate refugee or hardy local? Solving a botanical mystery - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence Mar 17, 2021

I’m deep in the middle of the Kā Tiritiri o te Moana Southern Alps with Michael Knapp collecting beech leaves and ripping apart rotting logs on the hunt for giant collembola. Some 17 years later, these precious beech samples would allow Michael and I to answer one of the longest-running debates in New Zealand botany. When Polynesians arrived on … Read More