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…

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…

Did the Canterbury earthquakes harm more than we realise?

The 2010/2011 Christchurch earthquake sequence claimed many lives and damaged and destroyed infrastructure located in the central business district and in the city’s suburbs. As a result, many buildings were deemed structurally unsafe and were subsequently demolished or rebuilt. However, was that really everything the earthquake sequence shattered? What about…

Ecology by the numbers

It is probably safe to say that the job description of an ecologist in 2016 is quite different from that of an ecologist back in the 1970’s or 1980’s. Our work today involves computer programs and fancy technology, some of which make our work much easier. But some appear to make…

Don’t tell me what to do in my own backyard! Involving communities in conservation decisions

Everyone has seen adverts or read about how tropical forests are being cut down for human uses, such as furniture, fire wood or just to clear land for farming, which is significantly decreasing wildlife populations globally. One method to combat this decline is for governments to create nature reserves and restrict…

Ecological benefits of urban green areas

Rhondda.p Urban green areas have developed over several centuries to become an essential component of modern town and city planning. These green areas provide many social and ecological services such as helping to improve climate, hygiene, aesthetics, recreational opportunities, environmental protection and biodiversity. Urban green areas also help to create…

Coffee and ecology: the curious case of science funding

Science is a curious thing. There must be few professions where you train people for at least seven years, bring them to a high level of expertise, but then don’t give them reliable means to do their job or to use their skills. Science funding (finding the resources to actually do…

The survival of the fittest?

My wife recently got a glamourous pedometer that talks to her smart phone. Not only does it tell you how many steps she has made in a day, what distance she has done and when she has had high activity periods, it also allows her to keep track of what…

Carpet Die-m: chemical warfare beneath your feet

In which we control wool eating insects. I like the quote from the Australian philosopher of science Kim Sterelny “Outside the barrier surrounding an [organism], we find a war against all. The space between skins is a no-mans land, controlled by no-one; designed for no-one; littered with the detritus of…