Parasites lost

One aspect that is often overlooked when thinking about biological invasions is that in addition to the invading species, be it a bird, beetle or banana, there are usually associated parasite species that come along for the ride. More intriguingly, sometimes one of the reasons why invasive species are so…

Turning up the volume on nature

Whitewash head, awash with weedsOriginally uploaded by Mollivan Jon Most environmental problems of today are caused by people super-sizing nature. Too much CO2. Too much nitrate in lakes and streams. Too many fires. Too many invasions. These things are all part of nature’s music but we’ve turned up the volume…

Questioning the drowning

One of the contentious debates in New Zealand biogeography (the science of explaining the geographical distribution of species) is about what happened at the end of the Oligocene period (24-21 million years ago). We have known for a long time that most of New Zealand’s current land area was underwater…

More ‘What did you do in your summer holidays’

Hamish Patrick, an undergraduate at Lincoln University, was awarded a summer scholarship to survey the Lepidoptera fauna of Otamahua from November 2009 to February 2010 with his supervisor Mike Bowie. Light-trapping on Otamahua involved using a powerful mercury-vapour lamp powered by a portable generator. During his nocturnal forays Hamish collected,…