Posts categorized as Disasters

Westland Petrels weathering the storm…mostly!

  • Tree fallen in the Westland Petrel colony showing a petrel burrow inspection lid (white object 1/2 buried in the ground) amongst the uprooted roots of the tree. Image Susan Waugh, Copyright Te Papa.
  • Viewed from the screen of the burrow-scope we get a clear view of the petrel chick inside the burrow. Image: Susan Waugh. Copyright Te Papa.
  • A classic sign of petrel activity in the mud-stone of Westland's Punakaiki coast. Birds climbing up the steep terrain make claw-marks in the soft substrate. This bedrock also proves a slippery base for the overlying topsoil, which has slipped off in large areas in and around the Westland Petrel colonies monitored by Te Papa researchers in 2014. Image: Susan Waugh, Copyright Te Papa.
  • A juvenile Westland petrel. We banded all young birds at the study colony, to track their survival to recruitment to the breeding population in 4-5 years time. Image: Susan Waugh, Copyright, Te Papa.

New Zealand has an amazing diversity of seabirds. Around 1/3 of the worlds 348 species are found in New Zealand waters, with a high number of endemic and threatened species among them. Te Papa has a long-term research programme on Westland Petrels, a species that nests in the coastal cliffs near Punakaiki, on the West… Read more »

Te Papa’s acknowledgement of the Canterbury earthquakes

Te Papa acknowledges that the Canterbury earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 were one of the most significant and devastating events in New Zealand’s history. As such, Te Papa is working actively to preserve the memory and evidence of these traumatic events for future generations, as well as providing direct, expert support to heritage organisations affected. As… Read more »

Science Live: Whalebirds – the mystery of the storm riders. Success!

Science Live on YouTube

On Tuesday, 22 October 2013 we, the ornithology team at Te Papa, hosted the museum’s second Science Live event- Whalebirds- the mystery of the storm riders.  We brought the public into the lab using live streaming so they could watch us on YouTube and send questions in via Twitter and Facebook.  It was very exciting… Read more »

Science Live: Whalebirds – the mystery of the storm riders. The Prequel: Influx of Prions to Wellington Zoo

  • Prion in Pool
  • Production line for crop tubing Prions medication, food and fluids. Photo © Wellington Zoo
  • Friendly Prion assisting with food preparation. He actively sought out human company and enjoyed “assisting” with preparations. Photo © Wellington Zoo
  • Lisa Argilla, Veterinary Science Manager at Wellington Zoo. Photo © Wellington Zoo

  Today’s blog is a prequel to yesterday’s Science Live event- Whalebirds- the mystery of the storm riders (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVZjED7Icyc).   It is written by Dr. Lisa Argilla.  Lisa has been the Veterinary Science Manager at Wellington Zoo since early 2011.  She has a keen interest in seabirds seeing as her Master’s thesis research was on… Read more »

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 »