Posts categorized as Biodiversity

Science Live: Whalebirds – the mystery of the storm riders. Part 8. Prion evolution

  • Fossil bones of fairy prions are abundant in some South Island West Coast caves showing that the species nested there in huge numbers before humans brought rats to New Zealand.  Photo: Te Papa collections, Alan Tennyson
  • Alan Tennyson with a South Island Giant Moa leg bone. Photo © JC Stahl
  • The evolutionary history of prions is poorly understood but prions have been riding the winds of the southern oceans for at least the last 4 million years.  Photo: Fairy Prion, Philip Griffin, NZ Birds Online
  • The blue petrel is a close relative of prions but unlike prions it has a long narrow beak and a white, rather than black tip to its tail.  Photo: South Atlantic, David Boyle, NZ Birds Online

Here is the final instalment in our series of blogs all about prion biology! This is in preparation for our upcoming Science Live event on Oct 22nd (today!) at 1:50 pm NZ time when you can accompany us into the lab via live streaming (a permanent link to the YouTube video can be found below).  For… Read more »

Science Live: Whalebirds – the mystery of the storm riders. Part 7. Storm warning

Salvin's Prion at sea.  Photo © Paul Walbridge

Here is the seventh instalment in our series of blogs all about prion biology! This is in preparation for our upcoming Science Live event on Oct 22nd (today!) at 1:50 pm NZ time when you can accompany us into the lab via live streaming  (a permanent link to the YouTube video can be found below).  For… Read more »

Science Live: Whalebirds – the mystery of the storm riders. Part 6. A bird’s-eye view

Euphausiid Nyctiphanes australis), the favourite prey of Fairy Prions from the Poor Knights and Cook Strait

Here is the sixth instalment in our series of blogs all about prions!  This is in preparation for our upcoming Science Live event on Oct 22nd at 1:50 pm NZ time when you can accompany us into the lab via live streaming  (a permanent link to the YouTube video can be found below).  For more details… Read more »

Science Live: Whalebirds – the mystery of the storm riders. Part 5. Prion foraging ecology

  • Copepod (Eucalanus tonsus), the primary prey of Broad-bill Prions around the Chathams
  • Fairy Prions
  • Barnacles (Lepas australis) are commonly eaten by Fulmar prions from the Chathams
  • Amphipod commonly fed upon by Fairy and Fulmar prions from subantarctic colonie

Here is the fifth instalment in our series of blogs all about prions!  This is in preparation for our upcoming Science Live event on Oct 22nd at 1:50 pm NZ time when you can accompany us into the lab via live streaming  (a permanent link to the YouTube video can be found below).  For more details… Read more »

Science Live: Whalebirds – the mystery of the storm riders. Part 4. Sinister Fairy Prions

  • Kyle Morrison on his way back from the Snares. Photo © Phil Battley.
  • A pair of fairy prions looking deceptively peaceful in a rock crevice on The Snares. Photo © Kyle Morrison.
  • Fairy Prion rests in defeat. Photo © Kyle Morrison.
  • Fairy Prions do battle over a disputed nest site. Photo © Kyle Morrison.

Here is the forth instalment in our series of blogs all about prions!  This is in preparation for our upcoming Science Live event on Oct 22nd at 1:50 pm NZ time when you can accompany us into the lab via live streaming (a permanent link to the YouTube video can be found below).  For more details please… Read more »

Science Live: Whalebirds – the mystery of the storm riders. Part 3. Prion lice

Giant body louse (male)

Here is the third instalment in our series of blogs all about prions!  This is in preparation for our upcoming Science Live event on Oct 22nd at 1:50 pm NZ time when you can accompany us into the lab via live streaming (a permanent link to the YouTube video can be found below).  For more details… Read more »

Science Live: Whalebirds – the mystery of the storm riders. Part 2. What’s in a name?

  • Elizabeth Crotty about to embark in a dissection.
  • Whale boat, Carnley Harbour. Te Papa object O.007069
  • Scrimshaw from Te Papa collection (GH003150/3)
  • Measuring the wing of a prion © Lizzy Crotty

Here is the second instalment in our series of blogs all about prions!  This is in preparation for our upcoming Science Live event on Oct 22nd at 1:50 pm NZ time when you can accompany us into the lab via live streaming (a permanent link to the YouTube video can be found below).  For more details… Read more »

Save Kiwi Week

Te Papa researcher Sarah Jamieson with an adult female North Island brown kiwi. Photo credit: Kyle Morrison.

This week is Save Kiwi week. Te Papa researchers have a long history of studying kiwi. Our kiwi researchers include: Sarah Jamieson, who previously worked at Massey University studying the breeding ecology and habitat preferences of North Island brown kiwi. Alan Tennyson, who led the formal description of a new kiwi species – rowi/Okarito brown kiwi (Apteryx… Read more »

Science Live: Whalebirds – the mystery of the storm riders. Part 1. Come join us!

Fairy Prion in flight. Photo © Phil Battley.

On August 13th scientists at Te Papa hosted their first Science Live event.  The public were able to accompany some of the Museum’s ichthyologists into the lab to watch them dissect and process a sunfish that was over 2m long!  Now they didn’t have crowds of people marching into the Tory Street labs (there just… Read more »

Poor Knights lily: a stunning, yet undervalued, New Zealand native plant

Poor Knight’s lilies in a garden next to the Welsh Dragon Bar, bordered by Wakefield and Kent Terraces. Photo credit: Lara Shepherd

Something spectacular is happening around Wellington – Poor Knights lilies (Raupo taranga; Xeronema callistemon) are bursting into flower! In contrast to the tiny inconspicuous white flowers typical of many New Zealand endemic plants, Poor Knights lilies have bright red flower spikes that look a little like bottlebrushes. But despite these flamboyant displays Poor Knight’s lilies… Read more »