Zombies of Zealandia? A Halloween review of the Ghosts of Gondwana

(This review was published in the New Zealand Ecological Society newsletter no. 160, July 2017, pp 22-24)   Earlier this year I was in the Southern Alps with a first year field trip where we look at the geology of the region and what it tells us about the biological…

Bookish memories and New Zealand’s toxic trends

As I turned 16 I started to record the books that I read. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe the budding scientist just collecting data?  Anyway, I have an uninterrupted record running for 34 years cataloguing each book I have read, its author, page length, day of completion and my rating. As…

Romeo and Juliweta: kissing cousins or rival families?

Romeo and Juliet. Star-crossed lovers from two feuding families. What makes this story so epic, and such a tragedy, is that the Capulet and Montague families are such bitter enemies. The star-crossed lovers have it all in front of them if they want love to triumph. They might ask themselves…

A tale of biodynamics: Do moon rhythms influence a wine’s taste?

Over recent decades, biodynamic agriculture, or biodynamics, has been promoted by some people outside of traditional agricultural as the most “earth-friendly” agricultural management system. The philosophy of biodynamics was founded by Rudolf Steiner based on a series of lectures titled “Spiritual foundations for a renewal of agriculture” given in 1924….

Is moonlight the ultimate weapon?

Being terrorised by house mice was a challenge I faced growing up through my primary school years. Forgetting to empty half eaten lunch from my school bag in the evening could result in large rat holes by the morning. This was a lesson that I had to learn the hard…

No Buzz, No Food, No Joke.

Decline of insect pollination and its economic effect on NZ crop production. Honey Bee in Apple Tree My earliest memory of wanting to become a scientist goes way back. I was only 8 years old when I imagined myself lying somewhere in the Amazon, observing the behaviour of small mammals…

About The Seal’s Latest Meals

Soon after their arrival, human settlers started to hunt the New Zealand fur seals (Arctocephalus forsteri) from the islands’ shores and in its sounds. The pinnipeds were harvested for their meat by Maori, as well as by Europeans, who in addition found them quite useful for their fur (hence their…

The Great Glacial Meltdown

If you have ever had the opportunity to travel in New Zealand, chances are high that your itinerary included a visit to the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, situated in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the South Island. Often described as one of the most iconic tourism destinations of…

What did you eat today?

For most people its a difficult and uncomfortable subject but what if I told you that I could figure out where you’ve been and what you’ve eaten based only on your poop. That’s right I said it, poop. So, yeah there may be a nicer way to say it, such…

Unhappy Feet: A Long March for the Adélies

The continent of Antarctica, the largest desert on Earth, is well known as the coldest and windiest place in the world. It is amazing to most that some plants and animals survive and thrive amidst these unforgiving conditions. Among those animals are several species of resilient penguins: the Adélies, Chinstraps,…