Posts tagged with New Zealand

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 »

Science Live: Whalebirds – the mystery of the storm riders. Part 6. A bird’s-eye view

Euphausiid Nyctiphanes australis), the favourite prey of Fairy Prions from the Poor Knights and Cook Strait

Here is the sixth instalment in our series of blogs all about prions!  This is in preparation for our upcoming Science Live event on Oct 22nd 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 more details… Read more »

Science Live: Whalebirds – the mystery of the storm riders. Part 5. Prion foraging ecology

  • Copepod (Eucalanus tonsus), the primary prey of Broad-bill Prions around the Chathams
  • Fairy Prions
  • Barnacles (Lepas australis) are commonly eaten by Fulmar prions from the Chathams
  • Amphipod commonly fed upon by Fairy and Fulmar prions from subantarctic colonie

Here is the fifth instalment in our series of blogs all about prions!  This is in preparation for our upcoming Science Live event on Oct 22nd 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 more details… Read more »

Science Live: Whalebirds – the mystery of the storm riders. Part 2. What’s in a name?

  • Elizabeth Crotty about to embark in a dissection.
  • Whale boat, Carnley Harbour. Te Papa object O.007069
  • Scrimshaw from Te Papa collection (GH003150/3)
  • Measuring the wing of a prion © Lizzy Crotty

Here is the second instalment in our series of blogs all about prions!  This is in preparation for our upcoming Science Live event on Oct 22nd 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 more details… Read more »

Science Live: Whalebirds – the mystery of the storm riders. Part 1. Come join us!

Fairy Prion in flight. Photo © Phil Battley.

On August 13th scientists at Te Papa hosted their first Science Live event.  The public were able to accompany some of the Museum’s ichthyologists into the lab to watch them dissect and process a sunfish that was over 2m long!  Now they didn’t have crowds of people marching into the Tory Street labs (there just… Read more »

A Day in the Life of a Natural History Curator – the intern’s view!

  • Westland Petrel at the breeding colony near Punakaiki, Westland. Photo, Lara Shepherd.
  • This box contained the bones of a sea lion found at the Chatham Islands. Photo, Mathilde Meheut.
  • Mathilde helped to handle petrels during the deployment of GPS loggers. The logger is visible taped on to the birds back feathers with brown   sticky tape. Photo, Susan Waugh
  • A miniature GPS logger used by scientists to follow the movements of Westland Petrels at sea. Mathilde helped with note-taking and field work. Another specialist writing job for Te Papa! Photo, Susan Waugh.

I’m Mathilde Meheut, a French biology student travelling in New Zealand who had the chance to do some voluntary work at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. In this blog, I’ll tell you about some of the work I got involved in at Te Papa during a few weeks in June and July… Read more »

Re-planting New Zealand

Karo (Pittosporum crassifolium), which is native to the northern North Island, smothering the locally-native Melicytus obovatus at Titahi Bay, Wellington.  Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

In regard to Bob Brockie’s recent article in the Dominion Post (24 June 2013, page A8), here is some rationale for viewpoints about plants that some commentators have teasingly called “eco-fascism”. Instead, they are logical expressions about the conservation of New Zealand’s biota and ecosystems, including their genetic integrity. For any effort claiming to be… Read more »

New Zealand plants abroad.

  • Kohukohu (Pittosporum tenuifolium) in a front garden in Bristol, UK. Photo credit: Lara Shepherd.
  • A broadleaf (Griselinia littoralis) hedge by a row of terrace houses, Bristol, UK. Photo credit: Lara Shepherd.
  • Flaxes (Phormium tenax), hebes and kohukohu in a suburban garden in Bristol, UK. Photo credit: Lara Shepherd.
  • White flowered hebe in a town planting in the Bristol town centre. Photo credit: Lara Shepherd.

New Zealand plants have a long history of cultivation overseas. In the UK one of the most well known New Zealand plants is the ‘Torquay palm’, which we know as the cabbage tree (Cordyline australis). Cabbage trees, which botanically-speaking are not palms, were first grown in the UK in the early nineteenth century. This species… Read more »

How to learn ferns

  • Close up of the scales of Cyathea (left) and the hairs of Dicksonia (right). Photos Leon Perrie, © Te Papa.
  • Trichomanes venosum. In Trichomanes, the reproductive structures are enclosed by a tubular, often trumpet-like structure. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • Cardiomanes reniforme, kidney fern. More closely related to Hymenophyllum than Trichomanes, although the reproductive structures are at least superficially more similar to the latter. Photo Leon Perrie. © Leon Perrie.
  • Tmesipteris elongata, a fork fern. More closely related to ferns than to seed plants or lycophytes. Nevertheless, the relationship is a distant one, and it doesn’t look very fern like. There are at least five species in New Zealand, and they are usually epiphytic on tree ferns. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

Last weekend I was out with the Kapiti-Mana branch of Forest and Bird, giving them an introduction to ferns. A few weeks back, I gave a similar walking-talk at Otari-Wilton’s Bush in Wellington. Many people find ferns an appealing group to learn. Aside from their iconic status in New Zealand, good learning resources are available, and… Read more »