Don’t wait for gaint eagles: Tolkien’s solution when all seems lost

Tolkien was a literature scholar and had some interesting ideas about stories and the world. One of these ideas was that of the ‘eucatastrophe’. A criticism of Tolkien’s work is that sudden unlooked for events provide happy outcomes when all seems lost. Giant eagles rescue the heroes from likely death and…

About The Seal’s Latest Meals

Soon after their arrival, human settlers started to hunt the New Zealand fur seals (Arctocephalus forsteri) from the islands’ shores and in its sounds. The pinnipeds were harvested for their meat by Maori, as well as by Europeans, who in addition found them quite useful for their fur (hence their…

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…

Love thy neighbour- dialect discrimination in the North Island Kōkako

The North Island kōkako (Callaeas wilsoni) is a charismatic songbird which as its name suggests, is endemic to the North Island of New Zealand. It is perhaps most well-known for its distinctive song, which can be heard emanating through its native forest home as day begins to break. If you’ve ever…

Why do you hunt? Find the answer with science

A few years ago, I believed that hunting was one of the worst activities humans could do. I thought hunting was only represented by killing wild animals and causing pain and suffering in free animals. However, when I started my Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management, I began to explore the…

Sitting on the Fence: Are Predator-Proof Fences a Solution to New Zealand’s Biodiversity Challenges?

Only about a third of New Zealanders are concerned about their country’s species, while most of the public believes that native animals and plants are in a good state. In a way, it does make sense to think that New Zealand’s biodiversity is doing well. The country has a rich…

Kicking up a stink for the beneficial re-use of biosolids

Just 5.5% of New Zealand soils have enough natural fertility for food production. Yet here in NZ, with our trademark ‘no.8 wire can-do’ attitude, you’ll find we manage to produce a very large amount of food. When you think about it though, that’s a hefty amount of no. 8 wire…

The Notorious Nestor notabilis: Conservation of the Clever Kea

Hiking the Edwards-Hawdon Route in Arthur’s Pass National Park a few weeks ago, I had my first encounter with the majestic, yet devious, kea (Nestor notabilis). While stopping to catch my breath, a curious kea hopped over to greet me. I was thrilled to see this beautiful bird for the first…

Caught in a trap? The surprising journey of the New Zealand trapdoor spider

Back in 2015, my supervisor (Adrian Paterson)wrote about how I used tethered beetles to collect trapdoor spiders (genus Cantuaria) without harming the beetles, spiders, or their habitat. I needed to collect those spiders for my PhD research into their biogeography (where they live), ecology (how they live), and conservation (if…

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…