Urban Realities: the contribution of residential gardens to the conservation of urban forest remnants

This blog post was written by postgraduate student Elisabeth Christensen as part of the course, Research Methods in Ecology (Ecol 608). Urbanization has destroyed and fragmented natural areas, resulting in decreasing native biodiversity. Fragmented natural areas can only sustain small populations of plants and animals, and these are often vulnerable…

The long invasion

New Zealand has worried about invasion for the last 200 years. Dotted around our major harbours are gun emplacements built to repel Russian and Japanese imperial designs in the late nineteenth and mid twentieth century’s, respectively. Of course neither of these invasions eventuated but there have actually been enormous numbers…

The big pitcher

Ecologists spend a lot of time thinking about how species in communities are linked together. While we have made progress in understanding this at small scales (like your backyard) we have seldom tried to understand this at large scales (like across continents). One of the reasons for this is that…

Change under our toes

This blog post was written by postgraduate student Moritz Wenning as part of the course, Research Methods in Ecology (Ecol 608). Grazed tussocklandOriginally uploaded by pluckytree Tussock dominated grasslands are an integral part of New Zealand’s native vegetation. Ecologically, they do not only harbor a large diversity of grasses, shrubs,…

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…