Energy or food, what would you choose?

One of the major global challenges we are currently faced with is providing enough food for our ever-growing global population. As most people are aware now, the global population is going to increase from 7.3 billion to roughly 9.7 billion by 2050. We are already facing issues with food shortages and…

Fighting bacteria with bacteria: a novel way of protecting kiwifruit

When people mention brown, round and hairy, kiwifruit aren’t the first thing to appear in the mind’s eye. They are more commonly associated with a vibrant green colour, deliciousness and the final touches on top of a traditional kiwi pavlova. Unfortunately, the recent establishment of a disease novel to New…

Kicking up a stink for the beneficial re-use of biosolids

Just 5.5% of New Zealand soils have enough natural fertility for food production. Yet here in NZ, with our trademark ‘no.8 wire can-do’ attitude, you’ll find we manage to produce a very large amount of food. When you think about it though, that’s a hefty amount of no. 8 wire…

Ready to fire: flammability traits may allow manuka to dominate

Marley Hill, Port Hills, ablaze CC-By-NC Jon Sullivan 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…

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…