Playing favourites – using calls to save the kokako from extinction

Moving to a new city can be a stressful yet exciting situation. Whether you move for a job, to learn a new language or just to get a fresh new start, you are facing a life-changing experience. For wildlife, moving permanently from one location to another can be a life-saving…

Raising chicks: Why invest, when there is no test?

Although house chores are usually shared among those living together, the concept of women being responsible for a tidy house and everybody’s full tummies is still present in our societies. The same applies to raising children, as women are often, once again, expected to invest more time with their kids…

Let’s all become Ecologists

Climate change, deforestation and human development. We are living in a rapidly changing world and nature is responding to those changes. It is a crucial part of ecology, and science in general, to understand natural responses, in order to protect and conserve nature. Understanding usually involves several well-trained scientists spending…

A Deadly Seabird Stampede?

When you think of birds in New Zealand’s forests you might imagine a tui serenading you from the treetops, or perhaps the iconic kiwi scurrying through the undergrowth. What probably doesn’t spring to mind is the shrieking of hundreds of thousands of seabirds as they crash-land on the forest floor….

On triumphant penguins and tennis players

I have been a sports-fan all my life. One of my biggest passions is tennis. As a child I played tennis in a small tennis club in Germany. When I think back to this time, many special “tennis sounds” come to my mind. Tennis is a very auditory sport. Close…

For every season, tern, turn

Nothing is permanent. As an evolutionary biologist I am very used to the concept of change, especially slow change over long periods. As an animal behaviour scientist I am used to the concept for very rapid change over short periods. Some of my career has been spent in reconciling the…

Black-fronted terns, Potemkin villages and Catherine the Great

As an evolutionary biologist I am interested in the history of life and how it got to this wild, crazy biodiverse natural world. I am also interested in history in the more usual sense, how we got to this wild, crazy and diverse human world. Sometimes these interests intersect. Another…

Keeping Happy Feet: The keys to breeding success of the white-flippered penguins

Over the hill and not too far away you can find the charming seaside town of Akaroa. With its rich Maori, French and British colonial history, stunning views and relaxed atmosphere this is a popular location for locals and tourists alike. For the more relaxed visitor, there are numerous restaurants…

A Fan Tale

(Photo of fantail by Jon Sullivan, CC-BY_NC, www.flickr.com/photos/mollivan_jon/26851270492/) Jerusha Brown is in her final year of a Bachelor of Science majoring in Conservation and Ecology at Lincoln University. She spent the summer doing a research scholarship and tells us about one of her results. Fantails are one of the most common,…

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,…