Antibiotic resistance and herbicides: Together stronger, unfortunately

Most of our existing antibiotics were found in the dirt — with the help of pilots and missionaries. It started with the discovery of penicillin in 1928, streptomycin (1943) and neomycin (1948), all found from bacteria in soil samples. Those discoveries set the eyes of drug companies on searching in…

Kawakawa, the ‘holey’ herb of Aotearoa

Kawakawa – photo by Wendy Fox “… And the Lord spake, saying, ‘First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. …. Once the…

Three day old kiwi found on Ponui Island. Photo by Ruby Mackenzie

Calling all kiwi: New technology tracks an icon

Three day old North Island brown kiwi chick on Ponui Island. Photo by Ruby Mackenzie A load shrill call interrupts the night, breaking the silence of the island. It’s not unwelcome, after all its why i’m here. This call belongs to none other than that New Zealand icon, the kiwi….

Expensive fish? The cost of marine protection in New Zealand

Nugget Point Marine Reserve Many would agree that marine reserves are a beneficial tool for the protection of precious marine ecosystems in New Zealand. Rigorous scientific studies of the impacts of marine reserve establishment, and the benefits to biodiversity, are now well documented in New Zealand and internationally. There is…

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 astonishing fungus versus the super survivor thistle

Thistles are nasty weeds on farms around the world, including New Zealand farms and the Californian thistle (Cirsium arvense) is the worst of the bunch. It’s such a nuisance that, much like the month-old yogurt pottle languishing at the back of the work fridge, nobody wants to associate themselves with…

Save our bees or the consequences will sting

Save the bees! You’ve heard this before. Yet, most of us are either scared to be stung, or worse, are allergic to them. So, it can be difficult to grasp the thought that we should protect their wee bee lives. But, since we often hear about their distressing decline, they…

Guts and genes – the key to possum eradication?

If you had told 10-year-old me that I would grow up to study the best way to kill animals, I would never have believed you. I loved animals then, and I still do. However, we live in New Zealand, a country with some of the most unique and spectacular flora…

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…