Posts categorized as Science

Khandallah kids go ‘behind the scenes’ – a student’s response

Khandallah School Room 5 visiting Te Papa's Natural Sciences collection. Photographer: Scott Ogilvie © Te Papa

On Monday, I wrote a blog about Khandallah School’s visit to our bird and insect collection. It was clear to me that the students had a wonderful time – but why not let them tell you that! This post has been written by Lara from Room 5. Last Friday I was so excited, it was… Read more »

A plague of flax weevils – a conservation hyper-success story

  • Dead flax bushes as the flax weevil release site on Mana Island, Nov 2013. Image: Jeff Hall, Department of Conservation
  • Tui feeding on flax nectar. Image: Craig McKenzie, New Zealand Birds Online
  • Flax weevils on a flax flower stalk at night on Mana Island, Nov 2013. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Flax weevils browse on an immature flax flower spike at night on Mana Island, Nov 2013. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Most people think of weevils as little maggoty grubs that infest stored grain products. Which is true, but the reality is that the weevil family is the most diverse family of organisms on the planet, with more than 50,000 species. Weevils are beetles, and adults are characterised by having a long snout and antennae bent… Read more »

Khandallah kids go ‘behind the scenes’

Phil2

Readers may remember that as part of sunfish science extravaganza, a group of Khandallah School students won our competition to name the fish. Their winning name was Sunny Bill, and this morning they visited our natural history collection as part of their prize. The 28 students from room 5 arrived at the Tory St building… Read more »

Mining Denniston

Part of the area at Denniston set to be opencast-mined. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

The mining on Denniston has been given the go-ahead by the Environment Court. Radio New Zealand report on the approval of the Bathurst Escarpment mine. The mine application covers just over one square kilometre. According to a report by the Department of Conservation, there are within that area at least eight plants and animals that… Read more »

Experiments With Light

  • building light sculptures 4
  • building light sculptures 3
  • building light sculptures
  • looking through camera obscura

‘It was hands on and practical and really rather fun!’ ‘Relaxed interactive professional’  ‘I have so many ideas and am so excited’ Comments made by participants at the Experiments with Light primary teacher’s workshop at Te Papa last week. This cross-curricular workshop introduced teachers to artist Bill Culbert (currently showing in the New Zealand Pavilion… Read more »

A new species of filmy fern

The newly-described rainforest filmy fern, Hymenophyllum pluviatile. Photo Leon Perrie. Copyright Te Papa.

Te Papa’s biodiversity scientists regularly describe new species of plants and animals. Just added to this list is another New Zealand fern. This new species is a Hymenophyllum filmy fern. Hymenophyllum means thin-leaved. The fronds of most species are only one cell thick, giving them a translucent appearance. We have named the new species Hymenophyllum… Read more »

Wearable of the Week # 9

Powelliphanta Pine by Sally Spackman, 2012. World of WearableArt.

This week’s wearable is by Sally Spackman, a recent graduate from Massey University’s fashion design degree. Made from hundreds, if not thousands of coiled pine needles, the spiralled forms that make up Powelliphanta Pine are inspired by the beautiful shells of New Zealand’s powelliphanta snails – the ‘giants of the snail world’.  Powelliphanta snails, of which… 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 »