Mossie-eating dragons, damsels causing distress

This year we are likely to develop a problem with leftovers at home. For the last few years leftovers have had a very short life in our fridge. You see we have had three teenage boys (and assorted teenage friends) around the house and it really is true about what…

Shadow chasing – When monitoring tui requires the mindset of a Ghostbuster

Vanessa Mander is a post-graduate student studying for an MSc in conservation and ecology at Lincoln University. Here she tells us about radio-tracking tui. Ever since I was a young girl I have always wanted to be a scientist, long before Lego could influence my choice of career with their ‘female’…

The things we leave behind

Sometimes I wonder what people would be able to deduce about me from looking at my office. If someone came in snooping I’m sure that they would get some understanding of me, even if I was absent, simply by looking at what I leave behind. Of course there are some…

The answer is blowing in the wind

It is springtime here in Canterbury. That means lambs are frolicking in the fields, cricketers are filling our domains, we go from 12C, three days ago, to 26C days, yesterday. Mostly, the wind has returned (although it never really goes away). Lincoln is a windy place. Our supermarket has windmills…

Winning the battle for our birds (but losing the war?): 1080, rats, possums and the NZ bush

Sometimes common sense is not actually our friend. In our society common sense is usually seen as a virtue that those so-called experts could do with more of. But common sense can fall down on the common side of things. The All Blacks have gone into every rugby world cup…

Big Biology Quiz 2014

On June 3rd we will be holding the annual Bio Biology Quiz at Lincoln University where Canterbury Schools compete to see who knows the most biological trivia. Home team Lincoln High School are the defending champions and will go up against the best and brightest Canterbury Year 12 biology students. One…

Cover story: Penguins behaving badly

After 24 years I have finally completed my PhD after starting my research on penguins and other seabirds in 1990. Oh I was awarded my PhD in 1994 but the final piece of research from that study was published this week in the journal Cladistics. Just to match the gravitas of…

On the value of collections: pinning down the answer

All around the world, natural history collections are under a major threat. This major threat comes not from ravenous specimen eating beasties, or changes in the ethics of collecting specimens with the insidious infiltration of the idea that a mixture of DNA and photography can be as good as a…

On the value of ecology

I often find that I have to comment on the value of ecology. One gets the sense when talking to some people that they wonder why we need to bother with ecology. Surely there are more pressing issues and more immediate uses of limited funds? This has been particularly true…

1080: delusion and confusion

In which we see the value of rational thinking. We all behave irrationally at times. I like to think that I am rational about most things but I do have an irrational dislike of rugby league. I am passionate about rugby union but the similar code leaves me very cold….