Posts categorized as Science

Seaweed, seaweed everywhere and not a plant to eat

What type of crab is this?

Like many Kiwis, to me there are only three types of seaweed: Seaweed Beachus – seaweed washed up at the beach; Seaweed Sushius – seaweed used in sushi; and Seaweed Fish Linius – seaweed that your fishing line gets tangled in. But that terrible seaweed joke, aside from demonstrating my woeful ignorance of seaweed, doesn’t… Read more »

Tell our scientists which coastal creatures you’d like to know more about in Science Live: Coastal creatures. Email sciencelive@tepapa.govt.nz with your suggestions! Walking along many of the beaches in my native UK, I had my head down, ignoring the beautiful view and the pounding waves of the slate grey sea. Instead, I’d be scanning the rocks for fossils,… Read more »

Moss, liverwort, and lichen Workshop

  • Te Papa Research Fellow Patrick Brownsey collecting a moss near National Park.   The collected material is stored in an envelope folded from a sheet of A4 paper; each collection goes into a separate envelope. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • A so-called leafy liverwort, Lepidolaena.  Most liverworts, and many mosses, are usually found in damp, shaded habitats; I’ve taken this one to a sunny spot for a better photograph.  Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • A crustose lichen, semi-embedded in the surface of a rock, high on Mount Ruapehu.  The black patches at left are the moss Andreaea, an alpine specialist.  Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • Dicranoloma mosses are one of the forest-dominants in New Zealand.  They are not big (although they are quite big for a moss), but they are very common.  This is Dicranoloma menziesii.  Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

Nearly 50 people are attending this year’s John Child Bryophyte and Lichen Workshop in Ohakune.  Bryophytes include mosses and liverworts.  The Workshop is a focussed opportunity to study these small plants.  Although usually overlooked, they actually make a huge contribution to forest biomass and functioning.  Mosses and liverworts reproduce by spores, as do ferns.  Spores… Read more »

Packed full of stunning pictures, detailed information and beautiful bird calls, NZ Birds Online is an online encyclopaedia of birds created in collaboration between Te Papa, DOC and OSNZ. We’re indebted to the photographers who’ve shared their images with us – and now the world! Continuing our Meet the photographers series, we have Peter Reese, a part-time Te… Read more »

Forgotten Highway ferns

  • Umbrella fern, tapuwae kotuku, Sticherus cunninghamii.  Most species in this family have fronds that repeatedly split into two. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • Sweet fern, Pteris macilenta.  The reproductive structures are in lines along the margins of the frond segments, and the veins are obviously netted (diverging and coming back together). Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • Single crape fern, heruheru, Leptopteris hymenophylloides.  Although translucent like a filmy fern, this species grows much bigger and the spore-producing structures are scattered over the frond undersides.  Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • Hairy fern, Lastreopsis hispida.  A shield fern with its reproductive structures in circular aggregates, this species is easily recognised by the hairy bristles on its frond stalk. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

Three of Te Papa’s botanists (plant scientists) are currently at the annual John Child Bryophyte and Lichen Workshop, held this year in Ohakune.    A small group including the Te Papa team spent the week before the Workshop exploring the Forgotten Highway (State Highway 43) between Stratford and Taumarunui, for mosses and liverworts, and ferns as… Read more »

Packed full of stunning pictures, detailed information and beautiful bird calls, NZ Birds Online is an online encyclopaedia of birds created in collaboration between Te Papa, DOC and OSNZ. We’re indebted to the photographers who’ve shared their images with us – and now the world! First up in our Meet the photographers series is Glenda Rees, an avid… Read more »

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’

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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 »