For every season, tern, turn

Nothing is permanent. As an evolutionary biologist I am very used to the concept of change, especially slow change over long periods. As an animal behaviour scientist I am used to the concept for very rapid change over short periods. Some of my career has been spent in reconciling the…

How we used the leopard’s spots

Humans love to tell stories about the things that they see around them. All cultures have creation stories about why the world is the way it is. At a personal level we like to think that there is a narrative to our lives. No one really likes the thought that…

The elephant in the room

Many things affect our lives. Only some of these things get the notice that they deserve. We tend to fixate on the big, flashy events, while other linked events, just as important, are overlooked. One big and flashy event in my life was the Canterbury Quakes. The 7.1 quake of September…

Taking pictures of cats… for science (honest!)

I’m sure, when the internet was in its infancy, that nobody thought a major use would be for sharing photos and videos of cats. Cats have covevolved with humans for thousands of years. If we ever needed an example of how much they control that interaction then this flood of…

Black-fronted terns, Potemkin villages and Catherine the Great

As an evolutionary biologist I am interested in the history of life and how it got to this wild, crazy biodiverse natural world. I am also interested in history in the more usual sense, how we got to this wild, crazy and diverse human world. Sometimes these interests intersect. Another…

The leopard, the which? and the wardrobe

There are very few lions in New Zealand. Or leopards. Or tigers. In fact, the only big cats that we have are, well, big cats. Once, when I was about 10, three circus lions escaped in the small town of Lawrence, not far from where I grew up. Or you…

Of marbled cats and wedding hats

Recently, Julie and I shared our 25th wedding anniversary. It was a startling reminder of the onrushing progress of time. Sure, plenty has happened in those 25 years, children have been born and graduated from university, pets have come and gone, hundreds of students have been taught, research has been…

Cat selfies make the world a better place!

Preparing for a significant birthday recently, I was on the hunt for photos of me as a baby. I realised fairly quickly that I didn’t have very many. Certainly fewer photos that I would now take on a single, normal, weekend day if I was with my family. That’s not…

Field work in the Southern Alps: undergraduate research on introduced pests

Veronica Price-Jones was an international exchange student that came to Lincoln University in 2017. She did the ECOL 393 Field Ecology Research course and recounts her experiences here. Admittedly, my ECOL393 experience did not get off to the most auspicious start. Thanks to a combination of cancelled, delayed and missed…

Moonshots, PredatorfreeNZ, camera traps and pest shyness: the very first Ecolincnz podcast!

Welcome to the very first Ecolincnz podcast. In this series I (Adrian Paterson) talk with New Zealand ecologists about issues of the day and the research that they are doing. Today we start with Dr James Ross who works in managing the mammalian pests running rampant in New Zealand. We…