A Fan Tale

(Photo of fantail by Jon Sullivan, CC-BY_NC, www.flickr.com/photos/mollivan_jon/26851270492/) Jerusha Brown is in her final year of a Bachelor of Science majoring in Conservation and Ecology at Lincoln University. She spent the summer doing a research scholarship and tells us about one of her results. Fantails are one of the most common,…

On the value of collections: pinning down the answer

All around the world, natural history collections are under a major threat. This major threat comes not from ravenous specimen eating beasties, or changes in the ethics of collecting specimens with the insidious infiltration of the idea that a mixture of DNA and photography can be as good as a…

Ecoblitzing the Southern Alps

Cor Vink introduces a spider friend Over the weekend Nina Valley played host to about 200 high school students from around the South Island, 30 or so teachers, and 50 ecologists. We were there to participate in an ecoblitz in Nina Valley and around the Boyle River area near Lewis…

A blue whale in the attic, many moa in the basement

Today I was fortunate to have a tour around the  collections at the Canterbury Museum. Backstage as it were. My former student, Cor Vink, is now a curator of natural history at the museum and I organised for some of my colleagues from the Department of Ecology to have a…

The hills are alive with the sounds of … research

 Mistletoe My first taste of real research was back in my third year at Otago. I was doing an animal behaviour course and a couple of other classmates and I were able to design and conduct an experiment, all on our own. We had access to the DSIR facility at…

New Zealanders know little about New Zealand nature

I’ve been thinking lately about the consequences of the disconnect between New Zealanders’ conservation ethic and conservation knowledge. We New Zealanders are typically supportive of conservation, especially in our national parks. In 2010, tens of thousands of people protested down Auckland’s Queen Street when the Government contemplated mining in national…

Puzzling colours

This blog post was written by postgraduate student Elleni Vendras as part of the course, Research Methods in Ecology (Ecol 608). Elleni revisits a Lincoln University research area that look at why leaves change colour in autumn published in 2002.Travelling in early autumn through the South Island of New Zealand,…

Finding the best spot on the beech

There is a moment in childhood when you relise just how large the universe is. Up until this moment your brain is happy to deal with what’s around you and leave everything else in a haze of Elsewhere. With the ‘click’ you comprehend that you are actually standing on the…

Southern Accent, Penguin descent

There is a great song by Tom Petty which I always find moving. ‘Southern Accent’ conveys the longing to be back home with kith and kin when you are living away – summed up by ‘there’s a southern accent, where I come from’. Having grown up on a sheep farm…

Field tripping coast to coast

Rifleman in matagouri at Glentanner Photo by Jon Sullivan Mid-semester break was field trip season for our undergraduate ecology classes this year. Our second year biological diversity course, Ecol202, did their annual three day biodiversity coast-to-coast between Lincoln and Punakaiki. Our third year applied ecology and conservation course, Ecol302, did…