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…

Lantana: a fuel’s paradise?

Given the sheer number of invasive species in New Zealand and the difficulties that we have with them it often feels like things couldn’t get much worse for our native ecosystems. Of course things can always get worse and there are some prominent invasive pest species in other parts of…

The web stays in the pitcher

Some of my earliest biology memories are as a 9 year old at Balclutha Primary School working through food web diagrams. The idea of the interconnectedness and interdependence of life was an extremely powerful idea and I recall the first afternoon we worked on food webs more vividly than most…

Bacteria, friend not foe in stream ecology

This article was prepared by postgraduate student Julia Bellemy as part of the ECOL 608 Research Methods in Ecology course. Determining the ecology of freshwater streams is important because it contributes to our understanding of the effects of human activities on the stream and lets us monitor remediation strategies. The…

How many? Where-abouts?

In order to estimate the total population of a species you need to know the mean size of local populations and where the populations are. Numbers and amount of sites where species are present are usually linked and this is referred to as the abundance-occupancy relationship. However, there are many…

Modelling the invasion

Although the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) is not the fourth best novelty folk group in New Zealand it is impressively ranked in the top 6 most invasive ant species in the world. In a country like New Zealand this species poses a threat to the local biodiversity by removing native…

Effluent bacteria lives and escapes….. sometimes

This blog post was written by postgraduate student Anastazia Raymond as part of the course, Research Methods in Ecology (Ecol 608). Dairy Cows have been getting a hard time in the media with catch phrases of ‘dirty dairying’ and ‘green streams’. But are scientists testing the impacts of land based…

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…