Posts categorized as Science

Bruce Marshall and the volcanic vent mussel

  • Bathyxylophila excelsa holotype. North-east of Mernoo Bank, Chatham Rise; Te Papa M.075126. Te Papa image MA_I033908
  • A 19-year-old Bruce Marshall collecting fossil molluscs from the classic roadside fossil locality at Te Piki, between Whangaparaoa and Hicks Bay, in 1967. Image: Graham Spence, courtesy of Bruce Marshall, Te Papa
  • Bed of living Vulcanidas insolatus covered in bacteria, photographed in sunlight (submersible lights off ) at 140 m on the summit of the Giggenbach volcano. Image: Terry Kirby, taken during PiscesV dive P5–618 on 15 April 2005; reproduced courtesy
of Cornel de Ronde, GNS Science.
  • Scissurella marshalli holotype. Three Kings Islands, reef between Great Island & Farmer Rocks; Te Papa M.093992. Te Papa image MA_I052178

Bruce Marshall is a self-taught malacologist (shell expert) who has worked at Te Papa, and the previous National Museum, since 1976. As collection manager of molluscs, Bruce is responsible for a vast collection of several million specimens representing more than 4,700 New Zealand species. These range in size from tiny snails 0.48 mm in length… Read more »

Nancy Adams, Wendy Nelson and the Three Kings’ seaweeds

  • Nancy Adams – National Museum staff portrait, August 1976. Photograph by Trevor Ulyatt. Te Papa MA_E.000345/031
  • $1.80 ’Three Wise Men’ Christmas stamp, 2009, Wellington, by Stephen Fuller, Southern Colour Print. The New Zealand Post Museum Collection, Gift of New Zealand Post Ltd., 1992. Te Papa PH001431
  • Wendy Nelson holding the New Zealand Marine Sciences Award that she received in 2007. Photographer Alan Blacklock, reproduced courtesy NIWA
  • Curdiea balthazar W.A.Nelson et al., collected 24 November 1998, Archway Island, Princes Islands, Three Kings Islands. Te Papa herbarium sheet A029596

The three kings (or three wise men or magi) are Christian icons – but how many people are aware that they have seaweeds named after them? The connection is via the Three Kings Islands north-west of Cape Reinga. Known as Manawatahi to Māori, they are one of only two localities in New Zealand that have… Read more »

Alan Baker and Maui’s dolphin

  • Diadema palmeri at 25 metres depth, Anne's Rock, Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve, January 2016. Image: Crispin Middleton, seacologynz.com
  • Alan Baker in March 1981 (when Assistant Director of the National Museum) with the skull of a male strap-toothed whale (Mesoplodon layardii) from the Chatham Islands. Alexander Turnbull Library, Dominion Post Collection (PAColl-7327), EP/1981/1170/15
  • Maui’s dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori maui). Image: Department of Conservation and Auckland University
  • Knightaster bakeri Clark, 1972, Poor Knights Islands, Buddle landing. Te Papa EC.001151, collected by Alan Baker 19 May 1969. Te Papa image MA_I317970

Former museum director Alan Baker was a keen scuba diver with research interests in marine invertebrates (especially sea urchins and starfish), fish, whales and dolphins. Te Papa turned 150 years old on 8 December 2015. To celebrate 150 years since the opening of the Colonial Museum in Wellington, the exhibition ‘You called me WHAT?!’ is… Read more »

John Yaldwyn and the frog crab

  • Frog crab, Notosceles pepeke, named by John Yaldwyn and Elliot Dawson, 2000. The holotype was collected in 1998, between Three Kings Islands and Cape Reinga. Found at depths of 59–211 metres. Image by Richard Webber, Te Papa
  • Dr John Yaldwyn, Assistant Director of the National Museum, 1976. Photograph by Trevor Ulyatt. Te Papa (MA_E.00350/32a)
  • South Island stout-legged wren, Pachyplichas yaldwyni, 2005, by Paul Martinson, watercolour on paper. From the series ‘Extinct Birds of New Zealand’. Te Papa (2006-0010-1/2)
  • South Island stout-legged wren, Pachyplichas yaldwyni, 2005, by Paul Martinson, watercolour on paper. From the series ‘Extinct Birds of New Zealand’. Te Papa (2006-0010-1/2)
May 2006
Equipment: Cruse CS 185SL450 Synchron Light Scanner
Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CS 8.0

This file is property of Te Papa Press

Former museum director John Yaldwyn specialised in crustaceans, but he also had a keen interest in extinct New Zealand birds, archaeology, and history. Te Papa turned 150 years old on 8 December 2015. To celebrate 150 years since the opening of the Colonial Museum in Wellington, the exhibition ‘You called me WHAT?!’ is open on… Read more »

What (or which) was New Zealand’s first protected dolphin?

  • Pelorus Jack (a Risso’s dolphin, Grampus griseus) accompanies a vessel in Admiralty Bay, 1901–09. Image: James McDonald (Te Papa C.025085).
  • Children playing with Opo (a bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus), Opononi, 1956. Image: Eric Lee-Johnson (Te Papa O.007809/04).
  • Hector’s dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori) – New Zealand’s first protected dolphin – but only in the waters of Cook Strait between 26 October 1956 and 1 March 1959, and 17 March 1966 to 4 July 1968. Image: Steve Dawson, New Zealand Whale and Dolphin Trust
  • MA_I152094 resized

New Zealanders have had the privilege of enjoying the company of many dolphins that chose to interact with people or boats. Some became household names, including Pelorus Jack (1888-1912), Opo (1955-56), Horace (1978-79), Aihe (1987-93), Maui (1992-97) and Moko (2007-10). The close bond that people developed with these dolphins led to concern about their welfare… Read more »

Dick Dell and the fantastic frilled crab

  • Urchin clingfish, Dellichthys morelandi Briggs, 1955, hiding under a sea urchin, Matt's Crack, Poor Knights Islands. Image: Ian Skipworth
  • Richard ‘Dick’ Dell, Director of the National Museum, 1975. Photograph by Trevor Ulyatt. Image: Te Papa (MA_B.13190)
  • Alex Black’s Alert maurea, Maurea alertae (B. Marshall, 1995); holotype of Alertalex blacki Dell, 1956. Collected from the Chatham Rise on 10 February 1954. Found at depths of 280–861 metres. Image: Te Papa
  • Frilled crab, Trichopeltarion fantasticum Richardson & Dell, 1964. The holotype was collected in Palliser Bay in January 1956. Found at depths of 22–750 metres. Image: Te Papa

Richard (Dick) Dell specialised in the study of marine invertebrates, especially molluscs (shells). His interests and expertise also included crustaceans, and one of the more memorable names that he coined was for a spectacular deep water crab. Te Papa turned 150 years old on 8 December 2015. To celebrate 150 years since the opening of… Read more »

Pukerua Bay School Museum

A sketch (biro on cardboard) by Isaac in a faux rococo frame (hot glue on plastic).

The Pukerua Bay School Museum is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s newest museums – the brainchild of three Primary school students: Isaac and Paddy (aged 11) and Aurelia (aged 9). Te Papa Learning Innovation has asked the three founders, with the support of their kaiako (teacher) Cat Lunjevich, to write a post for our Te Papa blog all about… Read more »

How to deal with human DNA contamination of your DNA sequencing: an example from a Malawian dance garment.

Dance garment, c. 1900, Malawi (Chewa culture), Photograph by Kate Whitley. Copyright Te Papa MA_I.374711

You’ve probably seen forensic scientists on TV taking swabs and fingerprints from crime scenes. They aren’t wearing labcoats, hairnets and gloves to look cool but to prevent them contaminating their forensic evidence with their own DNA. But how do scientists deal with items that are already contaminated with unwanted human DNA? I recently encountered this… Read more »