Is Rangatira Island’s status as a wildlife sanctuary threatened by burrowing seabirds?

Rangatira Island, part of the Chatham Islands group situated off the east coast of New Zealand, is a conservation priority in New Zealand due to its importance as a seabird breeding colony and a haven for threatened species. This includes birds endemic to the Chatham Islands and most importantly, the…

Moscow bound!

Yes I am off to Moscow. Idaho! The annual Evolution conference is being held there this year. The conference is always a great event for members of the societies that produce the journals Systematic Biology, Evolution and American Naturalist. Usually there is a great New Zealand turn-out (indeed NZ was…

Will nature sort itself out?

“At worst, the current practice of founding new populations of endangered species with such small numbers of founders may be inducing widespread reproductive failure and hastening their extinction.” Briskie & Mackintosh 2004 Orange-fronted parakeet(Cyanoramphus malherbi),found only in New Zealand,& classified nationally critical.Photo by Frances Schmechel Will the Anthropocene era be…

Weta accommodation popular, long-drops included!

What is the plight of the Banks Peninsula tree weta, Hemideina ricta, the rarest tree weta in New Zealand? The Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust helped Lincoln University contact over 40 enthusiastic landowners keen to know if they had weta on their patch. The resulting Weta Watchers group has helped put…

BioBlitz Lincoln 2009: 1637 species in 24 hours!

On the 3–4 April 2009 hundreds of people gathered at the Liffey Stream in Lincoln to experience the chaos of exploration and discovery that is a BioBlitz. This 24 hour scientific race against time and educational event was held in conjunction with Lincoln Envirotown, Lincoln University and Landcare Research. The…

Tui are back! Returning Banks Peninsula’s lost birds

The modern Canterbury PlainsOriginally uploaded by Mollivan Jon The lowlands of Canterbury, New Zealand, have gone through about as complete an ecological transformation as can be imagined. Before Polynesian settlers arrived, around 800 years ago, the Canterbury lowlands were cloaked with diverse native forest. By the time European settlers arrived,…

Talking about the drowning

I had the unnerving experience of watching myself give a conference presentation yesterday. In February I attended the BioEd Darwin 200 conference held in Christchurch, New Zealand and gave a talk in the teaching evolution symposium entitled “Drowning Zealandia, flying moa, ancient mammals: teaching the controversies from current New Zealand…

Reining in a bolting horse, kiwi(fruit) style

wild kiwifruit Originally uploaded by Mollivan Jon There are a lot of doom and gloom stories in plant biosecurity in New Zealand. There are now more naturalised vascular plant species than native species and the invasion has yet to slow, fueled by the large diversity of ornamental garden plants. New…

Grape expectations

In most parts of the world bird foraging causes much damage in vineyards in the weeks leading up to harvest. If not protected, grape yield can be reduced to zero and bird pecks can induce molds to reduce the quality of the resulting wine. Bird control is therefore a high…

CSI: Native Forest

It had been murder pure and simple. He surveyed the scene with a professional eye. Babies taken while mum was away. Vanished. No hope of return. Who would do such a thing? Those dirty rats? The feral ferrets? Maybe the sadistic stoats? And those pesky possums were always a concern….