Names at light speed

A major staple of science fiction (especially tv and movies) is a device that can tell you what species of seaweed, stick insect, sun bird or slavering alien monster you are looking at. The tricorder of Star Trek is the most famous of these device. Just point and click and…

The Citizens of Mushroom City

Sky Blue Mushroom (Entoloma hochstetteri) – one of many fungi found within New Zealand This article was prepared by postgraduate student Olga Petko as part of the ECOL 608 Research Methods in Ecology course. When we hear the word “biodiversity” magnificent tigers and cute koalas, beautiful coral fish and bright…

Tangled webs in braided rivers

Humans like to put things in boxes, name them, groups similar things together, impose order on chaos and generally make the world a tidier place. This is very much the case in biology where we seek to put names to species so that we can then make sense of a…

Archaea vs bacteria: who is doing most of the work?

This article was prepared by postgraduate student Aimee Robinson as part of the ECOL 608 Research Methods in Ecology course. Nitrification is an important process in the nitrogen cycle and has the most obvious environmental implications. The end-product of nitrification is nitrate (NO3-) which can be leached into groundwater (see…

Newly discovered interaction has farmers buzzing

This article was prepared by postgraduate student Sam Read as part of the ECOL 608 Research Methods in Ecology course.Nature is full of wonderful and surprising phenomena. Organisms can often be linked directly or indirectly in amazing and unpredictable ways. It came as somewhat of a surprise when honeybees were…

It’s about time – wildlife managers rejoice over new stoat toxin

This article was prepared by postgraduate student Tim Sjoberg as part of the ECOL 608 Research Methods in Ecology course. New toxins that are effective, humane and sociably accepted are desperately needed in New Zealand for predator control. Wildlife managers have relied upon too few toxins for broad control of…

Mothbusters! The importance of forest fragments in nature conservation

This article was prepared by postgraduate student Elise Arnst as part of the ECOL 608 Research Methods in Ecology course. New Zealand has vast areas of highly modified and fragmented, disconnected landscapes. It is important for the conservation of biodiversity to understand the ecology in these modified, human-dominated landscapes. Urbanised…

Bacteria, friend not foe in stream ecology

This article was prepared by postgraduate student Julia Bellemy as part of the ECOL 608 Research Methods in Ecology course. Determining the ecology of freshwater streams is important because it contributes to our understanding of the effects of human activities on the stream and lets us monitor remediation strategies. The…

Sharing knowledge with the community – the Styx Living Laboratory Trust

This article was prepared by postgraduate student Megan Oliver as part of the ECOL 608 Research Methods in Ecology course. Communities around New Zealand are becoming more aware of the state of natural areas in their community and how they are becoming degraded from pollution. This awareness has resulted in…