Ready to fire: flammability traits may allow manuka to dominate

  Some of my strongest memories are associated with fire. There is the satisfaction of splitting and stockpiling wood for the winter. The excitement of giant bonfires on Guy Fawkes Night and at parties growing up (especially the massive one we had on our farm for 6th form (Year 12) UE). The…

Thinking caps, gumboots & restoration: more questions than answers

Recently, I was fortunate enough to be on an Ecology ELLS (European Life Sciences) course run by Lincoln University. The course looks at “how restoration of plant communities can be used to resolve land degradation and contamination issues, through re-integrating biodiversity into human-modified ecosystems.” (ECOL697). This intensive two and a half…

What’s up with NZ sand dune habitats? Do a PhD and find out

Opportunity for PhD study: Quantifying ecosystem function in New Zealand sand dune habitats Understanding causes of variation in ecosystem function is critical for conserving and restoring ecosystems in the face of global change processes, such as climate change, land use change and species invasions. Key functions of sand dune ecosystems…

What’s up with alpine tussock grasslands? Do a PhD and find out!

A great deal of our ecological understanding of community patterns and processes is based on ‘snap-shot’ and short-term datasets. Research using long-term and time series data shows that community datasets collected over longer periods of time can be critical for predicting change. We are looking to recruit one or more…

Pack up you troubles: saving entire ecosystems from climate change by moving them

As the climate continues to change, entire ecosystems are becoming increasingly threatened by shifting abiotic conditions. Many communities of plants and animals that are part of these threatened ecosystems have a limited ability to disperse to more amenable habitats.  While climate change may make some sites uninhabitable for a given community, it…

The ebb and flow of soil

Loss of soil, although not recognised by many, is one of the major problems that society has to face. It provides habitat for a variety of species, influences the hydrological cycle by its water holding capacity and, therefore, affects vegetation. Soil has a large impact on agriculture because of its…

Did the Canterbury earthquakes harm more than we realise?

The 2010/2011 Christchurch earthquake sequence claimed many lives and damaged and destroyed infrastructure located in the central business district and in the city’s suburbs. As a result, many buildings were deemed structurally unsafe and were subsequently demolished or rebuilt. However, was that really everything the earthquake sequence shattered? What about…

Measuring the burn!

Fire. Even in the 21st century fire remains an important part of our lives. This week I spent several hours stacking firewood ahead of the coming winter. On some of the recent less windy days we have been surrounded by plumes of smoke as farmers burn off their cereal stubble. …

Does size matter in restoration?

Lindsay Jackman is a postgraduate student who wrote this article as part of her Euroleague for Life Sciences course work at Lincoln University. Growing up in the prairies of Canada, I had rarely heard of, let along seen in practice, the idea of conservation. Then again, the prairie ecosystem is hard…

Turning industrial agriculture into eco-agriculture: a plea for more effort

Mara Neef is a postgraduate student who wrote this article as part of her Euroleague for Life Sciences course work at Lincoln University. Biodiversity is declining in countries with industrial agriculture, such as New Zealand and the European Union member states. An increase in food production and the protection of…