Will they tern up?

Courtney Hamblin is doing a Master of Science at Lincoln University. Here she tells us about her current research. We have all experienced that moment of anxiety and anticipation: you have organised an event or party and you nervously await the arrival of your first guests. You know people have…

Seal of approval: cover story

It’s very hard to explain just how satisfying it is when you finally get a paper published. Whenever a paper finally moves on out into the world and is a tangible thing for someone else to read, is the endgame of something which has usually taken several years from conception,…

Predafiles: how to solve the problem of pest mammals in NZ

Pest mammal control, in particular the use of 1080, has long been a hot topic in New Zealand. Feratox owner, Jeremy Kerr did an excellent job of reigniting the 1080 debate last year when he threatened to contaminate baby powder with the toxin. The media storm that followed highlighted the polarising nature…

Bonzer! Feratox poison controls Dama Wallaby populations in New Zealand

Since their introduction to New Zealand in 1870, Dama Wallabies (Macropus eugenii, endemic to Australia) have been responsible for the degradation of large tracts of native habitat. Concerns about the destruction of native ecosystems have become so severe that scientists working with the New Zealand Government have been working on…

Small pieces of marine species in seal faeces

It’s always intriguing discovering what people like to eat. Eating is a reasonably private process. Sure we can go out for meals with friends or grab a bite with colleagues but we are choosing from a restricted menu (and the food on offer is different to what you would have…

The costs of protecting the big blue

Our oceans are in big trouble. Worldwide declines in marine wildlife, including the collapse of several fisheries, and the deterioration of marine habitats, prompted calls at the 2012 Global Workshop of the Convention on Biological Diversity for the establishment of a global system of marine protected areas (MPAs). At this…

Pickling pork: control of feral pigs with sodium nitrate

Killing animals is certainly not what comes to mind first when you think about nature conservation. Sometimes, however, killing a certain species is necessary to conserve another. One of the species which is killed for the sake of conservation is the feral pig, Sus scrofa. Feral pigs are omnivorous which…

Identifying the killers’ next of kin: stoats, ferrets and weasels

The title of number 1 killer in New Zealand is a fairly well fought over position. There are numerous introduced species that could enter this competition. Possums, even though not especially big predators, have, through sheer weight of number, a huge impact. Cats, wild and domesticated, are super effective killers…

Fishing for possum DNA

“Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” is a reasonably  well known quote from Theodosius Dobzhansky. It makes the point that we never really understand biology until we see it through an evolutionary filter. In recent years we could play with this quote and say “Everything in biology can make…

Who ate all the pies? Density dependent foraging between rats and possums

A Christmas tale of density dependence…. We all know the scenario. Christmas Day and you pack up the kids and wife to head to the grandparents for dinner. Lincoln to Ashburton is a fast 50 minutes of straight, flat driving over the Canterbury Plains, only enlivened by the wide Rakaia…