Posts tagged with prions

Science Live: Whalebirds – the mystery of the storm riders. Part 4. Sinister Fairy Prions

  • Kyle Morrison on his way back from the Snares. Photo © Phil Battley.
  • A pair of fairy prions looking deceptively peaceful in a rock crevice on The Snares. Photo © Kyle Morrison.
  • Fairy Prion rests in defeat. Photo © Kyle Morrison.
  • Fairy Prions do battle over a disputed nest site. Photo © Kyle Morrison.

Here is the forth 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 please… Read more »

Science Live: Whalebirds – the mystery of the storm riders. Part 3. Prion lice

Giant body louse (male)

Here is the third 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 »

How to DNA sex birds.

Sex chromosomes in birds and mammals.

The males and females of many bird species are difficult to distinguish by their appearance (peacocks are a notable exception). There are many situations where it is useful to know the sex of birds including captive breeding programmes, behavioural studies and even species delimitation in extinct taxa. DNA sexing provides a simple and quick way… Read more »

Riders of the storm – the severely depleted next generation

  • Broad-billed prion chick, Trig Island, Codfish Island, December 2011. Photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Trig Island, off the east coast of Codfish Island. Photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa, December 2011
  • Prions killed during the July 2011 storm event. Photo: Alan Tennyson, Te Papa
  • Fluttering shearwaters killed by the Rena oil spill. Photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

2011 was a terrible year for New Zealand seabirds. The Rena oil spill in October received the most media coverage and provided dramatic images (see Rena oil spill blogs). More insidious were the impacts of the Japanese earthquake and ensuing tsunami in March. A plume of radioactive fallout from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power… Read more »

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

  • TEPAPA_n457357_v1_Prion_Fig_7
  • Fig. 7. The calm before the storm – healthy broad-billed prions on Kundy Island, off Stewart Island, March 2011. Photo: Colin Miskelly
  • TEPAPA_n457355_v1_Prion_Fig_6
  • 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 »