Don’t dis dispersal: evolution in Utah

Long distance dispersal is on mind at the moment. This is partly because I am sitting in an airport hotel in Los Angeles after my flight from Salt Lake City was delayed. Snowbird – a great place to have a meeting The delay meant that I could not connect with my…

Of genes, genus and genitalia

Can you judge a book by its cover? Does the external appearance (or morphology) of an individual tell you something about what’s happening inside? Does knowing where an individual is physically found tell you something about what’s happening inside? We’re often told not to judge a book by its cover…

The beaten track: panning panbiogeography

 A track (but not a panbiogeography one) I am an apostate. I’ve always wanted to say that but, of course, there are only certain situations in which you can say this. How did this come about? Well…. way back in the late 80s and early 90s when hair was…

King of the rock! Founder populations on islands

One of the downsides of your children moving to the teenage phase is that you tend to miss out on the latest movies for kids. Many of these movies that I watched with younger versions of my sons have become personal favourites. Recently, I happened to see what I consider…

Understanding tree-species richness in New Zealand’s Forests

This blog post was written by postgraduate student Thomas Wabnig as part of the course, Research Methods in Ecology (Ecol 608). Thomas revisits a Lincoln University research area on the use of toxins for possum control published since the early 1990s. Looking at a picture from one of New Zealand’s…

New Zealand ghost moths: the results from a molecular phylogeny

This blog post was written by postgraduate student Hamish Patrick as part of the course, Research Methods in Ecology (Ecol 608). Hamish revisits a Lincoln University study on New Zealand moth evolution published in 1999 and assesses the progress made since then. Hepialidae commonly known as ghost moths are a…

Buoyant moas and overweight explorers

The Third Combined meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Entomological Societies Conference has just concluded here at Lincoln University. Four days of good talks and plenaries. About 200 participants, of whom about a third were postgraduate students, made for much excellent discussion. I was involved in the opening symposium…

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…

Turning up the volume on nature

Whitewash head, awash with weedsOriginally uploaded by Mollivan Jon Most environmental problems of today are caused by people super-sizing nature. Too much CO2. Too much nitrate in lakes and streams. Too many fires. Too many invasions. These things are all part of nature’s music but we’ve turned up the volume…

Questioning the drowning

One of the contentious debates in New Zealand biogeography (the science of explaining the geographical distribution of species) is about what happened at the end of the Oligocene period (24-21 million years ago). We have known for a long time that most of New Zealand’s current land area was underwater…