It’s all about the birds, but what about the bugs?

Predator control by poisons is considered a must by many in New Zealand. This is a touchy subject to approach as people’s opinions tend to be polarised with arguments for and against. These are particularly focused on how humane these controls are, and the risk to non-target species, especially birds….

On the value of ecology

I often find that I have to comment on the value of ecology. One gets the sense when talking to some people that they wonder why we need to bother with ecology. Surely there are more pressing issues and more immediate uses of limited funds? This has been particularly true…

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…

Life above our heads – the invertebrate fauna of West Coast rata canopy

This blog post was written by postgraduate student Andrea Honig as part of the course, Research Methods in Ecology (Ecol 608). Kathrin Affeld did not choose an ordinary topic for her PhD thesis at Lincoln University. She and her team of scientists carried out a research project on the invertebrate…

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…

Vegetarian zombie weevils rise from down under

A Canterbury Knobbled Weevil on Aciphylla.Photo by Mike Bowie, Lincoln University(used with permission). In 2004, in an unsuspecting sleepy town in South Canterbury, zombies rose from the dead. Headlines were dedicated to spreading the news, zoologists world-wide were excited, all due to the rediscovery of a species thought to be…

More ‘What did you do in your summer holidays’

Hamish Patrick, an undergraduate at Lincoln University, was awarded a summer scholarship to survey the Lepidoptera fauna of Otamahua from November 2009 to February 2010 with his supervisor Mike Bowie. Light-trapping on Otamahua involved using a powerful mercury-vapour lamp powered by a portable generator. During his nocturnal forays Hamish collected,…

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….

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…

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…