Archives For science

It’s been a busy winter at Shy Lake as we follow the southern Fiordland tokoeka through our first monitored breeding season.

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Our first job for the new kiwi project at Shy Lake was to get radio transmitters on enough adults that we could hope for a worthwhile sample this year in terms of survival monitoring.

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Having chosen a site that would work for our study, we need to catch some adult kiwi and attach radio transmitters to their legs.

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Working high up in the mountains, Scientific Officer Kerry Weston’s research is helping to shed new light on New Zealand’s threatened alpine species

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Laura Boren dances, runs, kayaks, makes jewellery, cooks Swahili, helps kids in East Africa and, at DOC, helps marine mammals by providing robust science advice. Come behind the scenes and into Laura’s world today on the blog.

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By Sarah Ensor, Partnerships Ranger in Rangiora

Last month 176 senior students from 23 secondary schools worked alongside 57 scientists/taxonomists, 24 university students, 26 teachers and 16 helpers to discover and document species in the Nina Valley, Lewis Pass.

The Nina Valley Ecoblitz team. Photo: Sonny Whitelaw.

Most of the team on the last day

The idea for an ‘Ecoblitz’ in the Nina Valley started almost 18 months ago with Tim Kelly, a teacher at Hurunui College. Tim approached some like-minded people and a group was formed. This group comprised representatives from Hurunui College, Lincoln University, DOC, Hurunui District Council and specialist volunteers.

Over $33,000 of sponsorship was raised to cover all the costs of the event and this meant that the event was accessible to all students, regardless of their financial circumstances.

Students conducting plant identification. Photo: Steve Attwood.

Students conducting plant identification

The weekend offered students 119 field activities and workshops, each lead by an expert scientist. Participants worked side-by-side to discover and document native species of Nina Valley in a methodological and educational manner.

Eripatus. Photo: Bryce McQuillan.

Some excellent professional photographers covered the event and photographed species for ID

The term ‘Ecoblitz’ was coined to reflect the detailed research into the ecology of the forest, shrub, grasslands and waterways around the Boyle River/Nina Valley. 17 sites in these different habitats sites were selected, based on surveys conducted previously by Lincoln University, and thus provided a baseline on which to compare data and repeat in future years.

Lincoln University is collating all the data which will be sent to students, this includes researching an unidentified sample that may even be a new species!

Students at the campsite. Photo: Steve Attwood.

Students at the campsite

You can find out more information about the event on the Nina Valley Ecoblitz website.

Today’s photo of the week is of a native fern growing next to the Blue Pools on the West Coast of the South Island.

New Zealand is home to about 200 fern species, ranging from ten-metre-high tree ferns, to filmy ferns just 20 millimetres long. About 40% of these species occur nowhere else in the world.

Native fern growing by blue pools. Photo by Daniel Pietzsch | CC BY-NC 2.0.

Te Papa Museum is holding an online Science Live event this Friday (16 May) which will take viewers into the secret world of New Zealand’s ferns.

Botany curator, Leon Perrie, will be there to talk about our native fern species. Leon will also be answering questions during the live broadcast.

The event will be streaming live from 2—2:30 pm on the Te Papa YouTube channel.

Photo by Daniel Pietzsch | CC BY-NC 2.0