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,…

When history is evolution: the seals of Banks Peninsula

Recently, I caught up with an old school friend. It seems a long time since we played aspects of the same character in the musical “I was a teenage Jekyll and Hyde” at South Otago High School. Brent has a successful career as a history teacher, publishing text books and generally…

Inky feet, rolling rocks and seedy lizards at Mt Grand

 In late autumn, our postgrads in ECOL 609 Nature Conservation went on field trip to Central Otago where they conducted several days of research on lizards. Wilhelm and Andreas (both Master of International Nature Conservation students) tell us what they did. Wilhelm Osterman : Do alpine geckos play a role in…

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,…

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…

Grab a bargain? Is hoiho conservation worth the money?

  “The world’s biodiversity is at risk and we ignore this fact at our own peril.” New medias are reporting about the sixth mass extinction and many species are endangered. The debate is heated. However, what can we do to improve the situation? Of course, deforestation and habitat destruction could…

Who is ready to move? Indicators of when Pycroft petrels are ready for translocation.

Gadfly petrels (Pterodroma species) are amazingly adapted to life at sea, having evolved almost alien-like traits. Spirally twisted upper intestines aid in the digestion of marine organisms. Glands located above the eyes remove excess salt from the bloodstream which is drained from tubular nostrils. The petrel’s keen sense of smell isn’t…

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…

Kate Bush and the mongoose: character displacement and release

When my sons look back on their childhoods they will likely remember many things. Lots of cricket. Great holidays in the Catlins full of boogie boards and board games. Our big old house that could hold as many friends as they cared to bring home. And too much Kate Bush. As…

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…