On the beach: plant communities in dune systems

Sand dune habitats are found all around the world. Sandy coasts are ever-changing with the interactions between climate, geology and vegetation. Dune habitats have to contend with storm surges, wind and rain and human impacts. Considering how important these areas are to human activities it is surprising that so little…

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

This blog post was written by postgraduate student Ian Phillips as part of the course, Research Methods in Ecology (Ecol 608). 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…

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…

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…

The effectiveness of the gorse seed weevil and gorse pod moth

Ulex europaeusOriginally uploaded by Mollivan Jon Gorse (Ulex europaeus) is a prickly shrub that is the number one weed in New Zealand. Due to the favourable climate in New Zealand, in a short time gorse was producing a lot of seeds to store in the seed banks. To combat this…

Gorse seed production and viability

Gorse (Ulex europaeus) produces many seeds per season which can be viable for a long period, especially if the seed is buried underground. In the more temperate climate areas gorse has two reproductive periods per season. Craig Sixtus, who was studying gorse for his master’s degree, investigated gorse seed viability…

Phenology of Cydia succedana

Most people know that gorse is a major prickly problem weed. Gorse (Ulex europaeus) was introduced to New Zealand as a stock food and hedge material. However, our climate suited it and in a lot of New Zealand there were two reproductive periods. In a short period there were a…

The oceanic islands of continental New Zealand

It would seem like a no-brainer to suggest that New Zealand is made up of a group of oceanic islands. After all, New Zealand IS a group of islands set in, what can only be described as ocean; with plenty of it in all directions. However, most descriptions about the…

It helps to know the local lingo but don’t expect the natives to be friendly

native and naturalised senecios, side by sideOriginally uploaded by Mollivan Jon Charles Darwin first puzzled over whether native species would help or hinder the invasion of related exotic species. Do natives make it hard for related invading exotic species to get established? Distantly related invaders might have an advantage in…

Life on a southern beech

sooty black beech forestOriginally uploaded by Mollivan Jon The southern beeches of New Zealand (Nothofagus species) make up a major forest-type which is extensive throughout the North and South Islands. Studies in beech forests usually focus on the roles of the trees as canopy for forest-floor ecosystems. A new study…