A range of different ferns

The fern is emblematic of New Zealand, appearing on most of our national sports teams and as a default for our nonofficial flag. The fern seems like a good choice to represent the people and places on our shaky islands. Ferns are unassuming, green and not flashy, getting their ecosystems…

Ski field beetles, insect museums and naming species: the third EcoLincNZ podcast

In this podcast Adrian interviews John Marris, curator of the Lincoln University Entomology Research Museum. He tells us how he got into the insect world, a brief history of the insect collection, how it weathered the Canterbury earthquakes, the strengths of the collection, how it compares to other notable New…

Barry Donovan, King of New Zealand Bees

Franziska Schmidlin, as a masters student in ENTO 612 Advanced Entomology, was tasked with interviewing working entomologists. Here is part of her report on an interview with Dr Barry Donovan who has worked on insects for 50 years. The first time I met Barry Donovan was while working on a…

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…

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…

Goblins, orcs and Uruk Hai: taxonomy and Tolkien

Tolkien knew the value of naming. More than that, he knew the value of understanding and labeling diversity. Tolkien was not satisfied with simply mentioning pipeweed, he needed to mention several varieties (Longbottom Leaf, Old Toby, Southern Star), each with its own properties. I have commented on the subspecies of hobbits that…

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,…

From A to B and feeling good: the road less travelled

I am a driver. I want to get from A to B, from one side of the city to the other, in as little time as possible, with as few traffic lights as possible, as well as seeing as much greenery as possible. I am not a cyclist, a walker,…

We are all connected: Next generation ecology salvation

We live in an era of changes, where it is easy to get caught up in the rapidly changing environments. Change is a natural process, and from the early stages of our life we encounter it. For example, communication technology, from pigeon post to the use of internet and social…

Ecology and the future of universities

Lately I have come across several examples of discussion about the future of universities (or rather the lack of a future for universities). There seems to be a couple of main themes. First, if I can do my degree by distance then wouldn’t I be better to get my degree…