Science Live: Expedition Snares Island – today!

Science Live: Expedition Snares Island – today!

At 2.00pm today, Tuesday 18th March, Te Papa scientists will be talking about their recent trip to the Snares Islands, and the wonderful wildlife they encountered.  

Watch Science Live: Expedition Snares Island via YouTube – and don’t forget to ask your questions!

We’ve already had some great questions from people around the country, wanting to know about mollymawks, prions and penguins. Ask the scientists your questions:

Te Papa’s scientists Colin Miskelly, Alan Tennyson, Ant Kusabs and Lara Shepherd will be talking about some of the species below. Can you spot the species during the live stream?

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  1. Kia ora!
    What was the latest talley on Sooty Shearwaters on the Snares please?

  2. Was there much on the island that shipwrecked sailors could eat to survive a winter?

    1. Hi Sarah. Thanks for your question.
      The islands are home to one species of Lepidium, otherwise known as Cook’s scurvy grass, which was harvested by Captain Cook elsewhere in New Zealand. This is apparently quite palatable and would have helped to prevent scurvy after a shipwreck. The indigenous chickweed, Stellaria decipiens is also edible, but rather sporadic.
      As Alan Tennyson discussed in the Expedition Snares Science Live segment, the islands are home to a significant number of sooty shearwaters or titi. The fattened chicks of this same species is harvested by Maori on other islands, off Stewart Island – Rakiura, New Zealand’s third largest island. Harvesting occurs during autumn before the birds migrate to the northern hemisphere. Traditionally they were preserved in there own fat. So depending on the time of being shipwrecked, the sailors could have survived on these. There has only been one suspected, but unconfirmed shipwreck on the islands.

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