Posts categorized as Research

Floor talk about Te Papa’s science

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Would you like to know more about the scientific research carried out by Te Papa? Our natural history research programme encompasses tiny invertebrates to plants, and spans the ocean depths to high-flying birds. For those in Wellington, Science Curator Leon Perrie will give a floor talk in the DeCLASSIFIED! exhibition space on Thursday 2nd April,… Read more »

New Flora treatments online, including hairy tree ferns and fork ferns

The fork ferns Tmesipteris tannensis (left) and Tmesipteris elongata (right) are amongst the species covered in the just-published eFloraNZ treatments. Fork ferns are often found growing on the trunks of tree ferns. Photo © Leon Perrie

New electronic Flora of New Zealand (eFloraNZ) treatments have just been published for six fern families in New Zealand.   The new treatments include the hairy tree ferns, Dicksonia, and the fork ferns, Tmesipteris. Each eFloraNZ treatment is a definitive, peer-reviewed account of a group of plants. eFloraNZ treatment for the Dicksoniaceae (the hairy tree ferns, including whekī… Read more »

The DeCLASSIFIED! citizen science projects have been running for nearly three months. These projects are an opportunity to learn spiders and ferns with Te Papa’s experts, and to help us with our research. The Ferns with Te Papa project has gathered up more than 920 observations from 59 contributors. 365 of these observations have been… Read more »

Life through a burrowscope lens (Part 5) – subterranean Takapourewa / Stephens Island

  • A sooty shearwater broods its newly-hatched chick inside its burrow on Takapourewa, as viewed through a burrowscope, January 2015. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • A fairy prion on the colony surface at night on Takapourewa. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • A tuatara inside a burrow on Takapourewa, as viewed through a burrowscope, January 2015. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • A fully-grown fairy prion inside its burrow on Takapourewa, as viewed through a burrowscope, January 2015. Image: Colin Miskelly

Te Papa vertebrate curator Dr Colin Miskelly recently led a team that visited Takapourewa / Stephens Island Nature Reserve, to select and gather up 100 fairy prion chicks to move to Mana Island near Wellington. This is the sixth (and last) in a series of blogs about the project and the wildlife of Takapourewa. As… Read more »

Last week Te Papa Botany curator Leon Perrie and I attended the Uawa BioBlitz in Tolaga Bay. Organized by the Allan Wilson Centre and Groundtruth, the BioBlitz was an intense 24 hours of species discovery. Scientists from a variety of organisations were joined by members of the local community, including kids from the Tolaga Bay… Read more »

A box of fluffy birds – the sequel. Fairy prion chicks fly from Mana Island

  • A fairy prion chick waits its turn in the feeding queue on Mana Island. Image courtesy of David Cornick
  • A fairy prion at sea. The chicks that flew from Mana Island in January-February 2015 are not expected back on land until at least 2018. Image: Les Feasey, NZ Birds Online
  • A fairy prion chick being hand-fed on Mana Island. Image courtesy of David Cornick
  • The burrow installation team hard at work, under the supervision of Helen Gummer (lower right), Mana Island, July 2014. Image courtesy of David Cornick

Fairy prions are small burrow-nesting seabirds that breed in large colonies on many islands around New Zealand. The largest colony (of about 1.8 million pairs) is on Takapourewa / Stephens Island in the western approaches to Cook Strait. As part of a project to restore the ecology of Mana Island (off the Wellington west coast),… Read more »

Antarctic blog #8 – The end of the world

  • The author reflected in the ceremonial South Pole marker. The marker is partially surrounded by the flags of the 12 original signatory nations to the Antarctic Treaty. The New Zealand flag is to my left. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, situated alongside the Geographic South Pole. US Antarctic Research Program staff gave us a brief tour of the base and described some of the research underway there. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Previous years' South Pole markers housed inside the USARP Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • The author standing beside the 2014 Geographic South Pole marker. Image: Colin Miskelly

Te Papa vertebrate curator Dr Colin Miskelly visited Antarctica during November-December 2014 as a guest lecturer for Adventure Network International (ANI). This is the final blog in a series based on his experiences in Antarctica, and particularly at the Gould Bay emperor penguin colony in the southern Weddell Sea. For many people, Antarctica and the… Read more »

A box of fluffy birds – moving fairy prions from Takapourewa / Stephens Island to Mana Island

  • An aerial view of the artificial burrows (with wooden lids, at right of image) waiting to receive the 100 chicks on Mana Island. The caravan is used as shelter while feeding the chicks, with the team of FOMI volunteer feeders staying in accommodation about a kilometre away. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Fifty boxes containing 100 fairy prion chicks fill the cargo hold of the BK helicopter. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Colin Miskelly (left) and FOMI committee member and project manager Brian Bell weigh a fairy prion chick while making the final selection of which chicks to move. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • A tuatara dropping on Takapourewa containing the webbed foot of a fairy prion chick. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Te Papa vertebrate curator Dr Colin Miskelly recently led a team that visited Takapourewa / Stephens Island Nature Reserve, to select and gather up 100 fairy prion chicks to move to Mana Island near Wellington. This is the first in a series of blogs about the project and the wildlife of Takapourewa. Over the past… Read more »

Help us make discoveries

Garden two-spined spider, Poecilopachus australasia. Auckland. rfdawn CC BY-NC

Interested in the ‘outdoors’? Want to learn more about the animals and plants around you? Want to make discoveries? Perhaps even find a new species? Want to help (1) Te Papa with its scientific research and (2) New Zealand better understand and manage its biodiversity? Sounds like the citizen science projects accompanying the DeCLASSIFIED! exhibition… Read more »

Tangle ferns untangled

The undersides of the four species of Gleichenia tangle fern accepted for New Zealand. From top: alpine tangle fern, Gleichenia alpina; tangle fern, waewae-kötuku, Gleichenia dicarpa; pitted tangle fern, Gleichenia inclusisora; carrier tangle, matua-rarauhe, Gleichenia microphylla. Scale bar = 2 cm. Composite image © Te Papa.

A focus for my research in 2014 has been preparing an account on the Gleicheniaceae fern family for the online Flora of New Zealand. More on the revolutionary online Flora of New Zealand. The Gleicheniaceae in New Zealand comprises nine species in the genera Dicranopteris (one species, restricted to central North Island thermal areas), Gleichenia… Read more »