Toxic Tails: What is the perfect poison?

While I was patiently waiting to catch a glimpse of Prince William during his visit to Christchurch recently, I was drawn to an aggressively written sign waving around in front of me: “1080, Worlds Most toxic pesticide”. I wonder how this guy may have felt if he had known that…

The Kauri killer and the three soil types — Looking for answers underground to stop a deadly fungus in its tracks

This past February, I saw my first kauri tree. I had just arrived in New Zealand from the United States and was moving into my office at Lincoln University. There was a small potted plant on my officemate Alexa’s shelf, which was labelled with the name tag “Eric”. Eric seemed…

Insect: Endgame

With a snap of our fingers, humans have doomed 40% of the world’s insects. Move over Thanos there is a new villain in town. A newly published international report found that 40% of the world’s insects are declining and could be extinct in a few decades! This collapse in the…

The iNatural selection? A tool for biodiversity monitoring by community-based groups in NZ

With increasing environmental change, more people are volunteering or becoming members of biodiversity community groups. These people care about the environment, such as biodiversity, pest control, nature observation and especially restoration of areas. In recent decades, many wild areas in New Zealand have benefited from some short or long-term restoration…

Can a micro-organism help replace fossil fuels with biofuels?

The world we are living in is so dynamic and vibrant. Let’s imagine for a while. What if the world suddenly runs out of coal, gas and oil. It is not hard to predict that the vehicle tanks would become dry, airplanes would be grounded, many industrial processes would be halted,…

Shock and terroir: Pinot noir from different NZ wine regions does taste different!

Pinot Noir is one of the most popular red wine varieties in New Zealand and is considered as a premium product based on the price per volume. It attracts a huge number of fans that fall in love with its a ‘little bit smoky and chocolate’ flavour, fine-grained texture, and refreshing light to…

The side effects of climate change you probably haven’t heard about

Climate change: the biggest environmental challenge of our time. It is impossible to escape the ongoing climate change debate. A quick google search of “climate change” when writing this blog generated 136 news articles from over the past 24 hours. It is clearly a very talked about issue and for…

What’s causing a stink? Identifying volatiles from stink bugs

Brown marmorated stink bugs are considered one of the top pests of concern for New Zealand’s horticultural industry. Armed with a characteristic shield-like shape, they are differentiated from other stink bugs present in New Zealand by a zebra-esque pattern on their abdomen and antennae. Roughly the same size as a…

Danger? New strain of rabbit disease released in New Zealand!

Imagine its August 1997. You’ve just been out to dinner with your family. You settle down for the night surrounded by everyone you love. You wake early in the morning for breakfast, everyone around you is still asleep. Or so they appear to be. You look closer at your mother…

Mānuka: defending grapevines from fungal attack

Leptospermum scoparium, known as tea tree or mānuka, is native to Australia and New Zealand. This iconic plant has been historically used across several industries, including honey production, meat seasoning, and in the pharmaceutical industry as an essential oil for medicinal use. However, there is another potential use related to…