Mānuka: defending grapevines from fungal attack

Leptospermum scoparium, known as tea tree or mānuka, is native to Australia and New Zealand. This iconic plant has been historically used across several industries, including honey production, meat seasoning, and in the pharmaceutical industry as an essential oil for medicinal use. However, there is another potential use related to…

Fighting bacteria with bacteria: a novel way of protecting kiwifruit

When people mention brown, round and hairy, kiwifruit aren’t the first thing to appear in the mind’s eye. They are more commonly associated with a vibrant green colour, deliciousness and the final touches on top of a traditional kiwi pavlova. Unfortunately, the recent establishment of a disease novel to New…

Predafiles: how to solve the problem of pest mammals in NZ

Pest mammal control, in particular the use of 1080, has long been a hot topic in New Zealand. Feratox owner, Jeremy Kerr did an excellent job of reigniting the 1080 debate last year when he threatened to contaminate baby powder with the toxin. The media storm that followed highlighted the polarising nature…

A risky business: predicting invasive species

In which we talk about identifying risk of pest species in light of climate change. Consider these events: a violent home invasion, a major earthquake, and being hit by a ball on a cricket boundary. Which of these are you most at risk from? Obviously this may depend a little…

A versatile fungus

This blog post was written by postgraduate student Jenny Brookes as part of the course, Research Methods in Ecology (Ecol 608). Jenny revisits a Lincoln University research area that look at using fungus to kill insect pests published in 2011. Writing a blog has proved more difficult than I remembered. Having a…

The rules of attraction

It’s the end of the year and, as such, I get to combine two things that I like and dislike the most. It’s cricket season with representative tournaments all over the place. I am fortunate to have three boys with good cricket ability and I have a real passion for…

Darwin down on the farm

To Darwin, agriculture was a vital source of evidence for evolution and for natural selection. One area where Wallace disagreed with Darwin was in how useful agriculture was in explaining evolution. Wallace thought that the comparison was not very close nor was it very effective whereas Darwin devoted much space…

The spirit of wine shall be green

This blog post was written by postgraduate student Juan F. Dueñas Serrano as part of the course, Research Methods in Ecology (Ecol 608). “I know the cost in pain, in sweat,And in burning sunlight on the blazing hillside,Of creating my life, of giving me a soul:I shall not be ungrateful…

Flower power and its effects on the biocontrol activity of an omnivorous insect

This blog post was written by postgraduate student Marlene Leggett as part of the course, Research Methods in Ecology (Ecol 608). Omnivorous insects are interesting and important beings, consuming both plant and animal matter. In agroecosystems they have been identified as potential biological control agents since they eat pest insects….