A fossil discovery in New Zealand has revealed a new species of seal that once called Australasia home. Eomonachus belegaerensis is the first monk seal, living or extinct, ever found in the Southern Hemisphere. Its presence in our region turns the evolution of southern seals on its head. Curator Vertebrates Felix Marx talks about what this discovery means.
Assistant researcher Shaun Thompson is working with Curator Julia Kasper studying the lives of fungus gnats, one of the biggest Diptera groups in New Zealand. They aim to provide updated species descriptions and distribution records which may help detect invasive exotic species present in New Zealand, prevent the loss of these gnat species and avert harm to our ecosystem.
The 14,000th image loaded on New Zealand Birds Online was of a recently-fledged banded dotterel chick, taken by Derek Templeton. The image was taken near Blenheim, where Derek is based. Here, Derek answers a few questions about how he got involved in wildlife photography, and why he started contributing images to New Zealand Birds Online.
Botany Researcher Heidi Meudt and Collection Manager Antony Kusabs made new collections of forget-me-nots and other plants at some stunning but remote South Island sites in Feb 2020. Take a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to do remote field work, and enjoy some of the rewards of their hard work!
This week David Hocking, Research Fellow at Australia’s School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, and our Curator Vertebrates Felix Marx wrote the following short article for Monash Lens, the University’s in-house journal, on the ongoing pilot whale mass stranding in Tasmania. It is reprinted here in its entirety.
Field work is a key aspect of biodiversity research to locate and collect new specimens to study. Botany Researcher Heidi Meudt took two South Island field trips in Dec 2018 and Jan 2019 with two university students in tow. Combining research and training is often a great way to get scientific research done – but was it successful this time?