Posts tagged with conservation

Riders of the storm – thousands of seabirds perish on New Zealand shores

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  • Fig. 7. The calm before the storm – healthy broad-billed prions on Kundy Island, off Stewart Island, March 2011. Photo: Colin Miskelly
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  • Fig. 5. Beach-wrecked broad-billed prions, Paekakariki (Wellington west coast), 16 July 2011. Photo: Colin Miskelly

It started as a trickle and soon developed into a flood of devastating proportions. On 11 July 2011 I received an email enquiry from a family at Waikanae seeking help with identifying an unusual seabird that they had found dead on their driveway. It was a Salvin’s prion, a not-too-unexpected discovery near the coast during… Read more »

A petrel’s day at sea

  • Westland Petrel, endemic to New Zealand on its breeding ground. Photograph by D Filippi
  • Susan Waugh looking for petrels with burrowscope. Photograph by G Waugh
  • Prime petrel habitat, rugged coastal waters of Westland near Barrytown. Photograph by S Waugh
  • Measuring and weighing a petrel before logger deployment Susan Waugh and Megan Waugh. Photograph by G Waugh

The advent of GPS in cell-phones and car navigation systems has done a lot to render this technology accessible for a variety of users, devices are now only 10-20 g in weight, and can cost as little as $100 a piece. Satellite telemetry was first used to study flying birds in 1999 when 300 g… Read more »

Flower of the underworld

A plant of Dactylanthus taylorii, sitting amongst the leaf litter. It is not an especially striking sight when not flowering. Todd saw this population flowering this time last year. Photo Leon Perrie.

I’m just back from my first sighting of the “flower of the underworld”, Dactylanthus taylorii or pua o te reinga. This was a Manawatu Botanical Society trip, led by Todd McLay of Massey University, to see a nearby, accessible population. It was exciting to be shown Dactylanthus taylorii, which is a very odd plant! It is… Read more »

Nukuwaiata / Inner Chetwode Island – 1936 and 2011 – In the footsteps of Edgar Stead (Part 2)

  • Camp Robin, January 2011. Reproduced courtesy of Colin Miskelly.
  • 1. Nukuwaiata (Inner Chetwode Island), with the outer Marlborough Sounds in the distance.
  • Left: Edgar Stead, Dot Stead and Roland Stead, possibly on Nukuwaiata in 1936 (when Roland was 13 years old). Right: Colin Miskelly, Kate McAlpine and Kieran Miskelly (age 13) on Nukuwaiata in 2011.
  • 2. The first and second forest geckos recorded from Nukuwaiata, January 2011

As part of a project to publish the wildlife diaries of Edgar Stead (see blog of 15 December 2010), I am revisiting some of the islands that Stead camped on during the period 1929-1947. The main focus is describing how the ecology of the islands has changed since Stead’s time. The visits also provide an… Read more »

DNA-fingerprinting fierce lancewood

  • The four principal genetic groups detected by microsatellite DNA-fingerprinting in fierce lancewood are indicated by different colours. The small grey circles are populations that we haven’t sampled, but which are represented by specimens in the herbarium collections of Te Papa, Auckland Museum, and Landcare Research.
  • The four principal genetic groups detected by microsatellite DNA-fingerprinting in fierce lancewood are indicated by different colours. The small grey circles are populations that we haven’t sampled, but which are represented by specimens in the herbarium collections of Te Papa, Auckland Museum, and Landcare Research.
  • The four principal genetic groups detected by microsatellite DNA-fingerprinting in fierce lancewood are indicated by different colours. The small grey circles are populations that we haven’t sampled, but which are represented by specimens in the herbarium collections of Te Papa, Auckland Museum, and Landcare Research.
  • At each different kind of microsatellite, each individual has two copies, one inherited from its mother and the other from its father. The two copies in an individual can be the same or different lengths. This is a figure of one particular kind of microsatellite for two individuals. In the upper individual, the two copies are of different lengths: length 129, which is quite uncommon, and length 135 which is common and widespread. In the lower individual, the two copies are both of length 135, which is why there is only one large peak.

Aside from ferns, my main research interest is the group of trees known as Pseudopanax, for which I collaborate with Lara Shepherd from the Allan Wilson Centre. Blog posts on ferns Blog posts on Pseudopanax Pseudopanax includes the lancewoods and five-fingers. Several of the species are popular in cultivation, including fierce lancewood (Pseudopanax ferox). This… Read more »

More rare maidenhair spleenwort.

  • These rocks are host to several plants of tetraploid maidenhair spleenwort.
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  • DNA sequence data. The highlighted position is one of several DNA sites found by Lara that differ between the tetraploid (upper two samples) and octoploid (lower two samples) maidenhair spleenworts.
  • These rocks are host to several plants of tetraploid maidenhair spleenwort.]

The rare, tetraploid maidenhair spleenwort  (Asplenium trichomanes subsp. quadrivalens) has only recently been rediscovered in New Zealand.  Several people have contacted me with possible additional sightings. As described by the Scoop website, Jack Ritchie had a maidenhair spleenwort self-sow on a rock used to construct a water feature in his nursery, Tree Guys, in Otane…. Read more »

Oh yes it can be dark here

Colin McCahon, Northland panels, 1958

In 1958 Colin McCahon spent four months on a study tour of the United States. Although the main point of the trip was to look at how museums were run — McCahon was then working as a curator at Auckland Art Gallery — he saw an awful lot of art: everything from Old Masters to… Read more »

Message from Mark in the tank

I’m the bald guy on the Squid Cam – just out of the tank for a bit! Thanks for you comments. It’s a real balancing act when you want to protect sea life but also want to find out about it. It is sad that the squid died but it’s up to us to use… Read more »