Five Te Papa staff recently joined Department of Conservation colleagues on a boat-based survey of islands in central and northern Fiordland. One of the species they were hoping to learn more about was the mysterious grey-backed storm petrel. Vertebrates curator Colin Miskelly explains why this tiny bird was on their radar, and what they found.Read more

A painting of a seal in the sea with small fish in front of it

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.Read more

A collection of slides of 14 gnats in one image

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.Read more

Making a collection of Myosotis glabrescens (SP108859). Feb 2020. Photo by Heidi Meudt @ Te Papa.

Botany Researcher Heidi Meudt is on a mission to find and make new research collections of all native New Zealand forget-me-nots. It can be a challenge to find some of them, particularly if we don’t know a lot about them or where they are to be found. Read more

The struggles and joys of colonial exploration in Fiordland through a pair of stereoscopes. Both are from the Burton Brothers studio, one from the Alexander Turnbull Library and one from Te Papa. Te Papa’s Curator Historical Photography Lissa Mitchell investigates.Read more

Justin and Sam collecting forget-me-nots in Westland National Park. Jan 2019. Photo by Heidi Meudt @ Te Papa.

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?Read more