Indigenous knowledge: Māori responses to biosecurity threats

What is science? This is a big question that most people, including scientists, may never consider. Science is a huge part of our day to day lives and, today, is considered the most reliable and accurate system for learning about our world. But does this mean that it is the…

The real kiwi housing crisis

The cheeky little kiwi is a New Zealand icon. Whether you see a kiwi on a $1 coin or branded upon countless gift shop knickknacks, we can agree that it is probably our most iconic species of bird. I mean, an entire country full of people call themselves Kiwi (myself…

Better than Twilight? ‘Team fungi vs Team moth’.

Ask yourself this question. Do you like moths? If one was to swoop into your periphery at this very second would you be curious, ambivalent, or terrified? I am willing to bet that many of you reading this will have a particularly strong opinion of our scaly-winged compadres. I am…

Preparing for unknown unknowns: Canterbury, crises and climate

The last decade has been a fairly trying time for those of us living in and around Christchurch. We have had to live through earthquakes, wildfires, pandemics, and even the occasional Crusader’s loss. We are always being told to prepare for catastrophic events. But how easy or reasonable is that?…

Alien invasions in progress

“Globalization is a fact, because of technology, because of an integrated global supply chain, because of changes in transportation. And we are not going to be able to build a wall around that.” This quote by Barack Obama, has even more relevance today than it had ten years ago. It…

Stop the bot: grapevines, fungus and fungicides

Grapevines Photo by Christine und Hagen Graf CC BY 2.0 When it comes to grapes, people think of fresh table grapes, grape juice, jam, jelly, raisins and, of course, wine! However, these fruit products on your table take more than just a grape to make. Behind the pictures of vines dripping…

Stop rot in salads! Crop rotation stalls carrot fungus

Carrots are a staple vegetable, found in most salads and filled rolls. The crisp carrots that we see every day only get to the table after a long battle against a bunch of pathogens. Alternaria radicina is an ascomycete fungi that infect carrots. It can infect all parts of the…

A Prickly Problem: Munching Away on New Zealand’s Worst Pastoral Weed

200 years ago, there were no thistles present in New Zealand. Fast-forward to 2020 and they are just about everywhere. The worst species is Californian thistle (Cirsium arvense), which is estimated to cost almost $700 million in productivity losses per year.  A beetle, recently introduced to New Zealand to help…

A threat to our mighty atmospheric guardians

For my generation, Climate change is a deep and consistent fear of an unavoidable doom. Every day we hear reports of melting icecaps, critters going extinct and magical sea creatures washing up on shore with plastic in their stomachs. For a fledgling female scientist like myself, climate change means more…

Baiting for Phytophthora species

White-baiting is a common pastime in Canterbury waterways. Fishing for the small delicacy requires a fine meshed net and a lot of patience. Lincoln University MSc student, Ashika Prasad, is fishing for even smaller creatures, fungal-like microorganisms called Phytophthora that, like whitebait, swim in our waterways.  Phytophthora are notorious plant…