Posted by the Ecology Ngātahi team @AklEcol
We’re turning 1! Image source: freelargeimages.com
Everybody loves a birthday! It’s a chance to reflect on the year that’s been and make plans for the year to come. Hopefully we are all a little bit wiser too!
In the spirit of reflection, we wanted to revisit some of the highlights on the Ecology Ngātahi blog from our first year. Undoubtedly, the stars of the show have been the postgraduate students and their research. The first student post involved Josie Galbraith bringing together urban birds and teenage mutant ninja turtles. Animated characters were a common theme with Ant-Man and Batman also featuring in posts by Anna Probert and Ellery McNaughton.
Another popular theme was fieldwork. Sam Lincoln, Sam Heggie-Grace and Julia Kaplick shared their experiences as field ecologists. Other experiences shared were Jamie Stavert’s piece on his time in Europe and Carolina Lara’s piece on her experiences as an international student in NZ. Also, Anna Probert learnt all about ants and had fun doing it on her ant course. These three posts make interesting reading for anyone planning on spending time overseas. Something else any ecologist can relate to is frustrations with R and Jessica Devitt suggested some valuable resources she has discovered.
Other more quirky posts included Lloyd Stringer on NZ as a source of invasive species and Rebecca Lehrke’s experiences monitoring swan activity near the airport. Jamie Stavert wrote a fabulous post on the joy of creativity and Alice Baranyovits made a call for citizen scientists to get involved with her kereru project.
The most popular post by far was Jacqueline’s piece on kākāpō. It seems everyone loves a good news story! Cate’s tips for scoring a postdoc were widely shared on twitter. Margaret’s blog on the importance of urban ecology was another popular read and Mick explained the strange case of high genetic diversity in NZ stoat population.
So, it’s been a fascinating and wide-ranging year. I don’t think we expected to cover so many different topics when we started out last year. We have exciting plans for 2016. We welcome Darren Ward onto the Ecology Ngātahi team and we have a great bunch of new students and great projects. We’ll be continuing with weekly posts to highlight student research and topical issues in Ecology. We have recently launched our youtube channel so do look out for more clips about our research and don’t miss Josie’s animation on the impacts of feeding birds. Another new addition is our publications in a nutshell page where we will be posting brief summaries of new publications.
Thanks to you, our readers and followers for engaging with our work. We have had hits from over 110 countries with over 6000 unique visitors (hello world!). We appreciate you taking the time to have a look at the blog and share our stories on twitter and facebook.
Tau Hou hari! Happy new year!
Centre for Biodiversity and Biosecurity Seminar
Wednesday, 1st April 12.30pm
Landcare Research, 231 Morrin Road
Speaker: Peter Johnston
Landcare ResearchThese are exciting times to be a mycologist. Molecular technologies are revolutionising our understanding of fungal distribution, biology, and origins. For the first time it is possible to develop phylogenies that might be accurate, to verify whether species are exotic or indigenous, and to track the distribution of fungi across landscapes. For the past 300 years, until about 10 years ago, fungal names and classifications were based on morphological characters. Today, fungal taxonomy is driven by phylogenies constructed using DNA sequences. Many user groups rely on DNA sequencing for fungal identification – plant pathologists, ecologists, mycorrhizal researchers. However, the traditional, morphologically- based fungal taxa are often not supported genetically. Therefore, access to the accumulated knowledge on an organism, linked to its morphologically based name, requires reconciliation between the traditional taxa and classifications and molecular phylogenies. High throughput sequencing technologies will be used in the Bioheritage National Science Challenge real time biodiversity assessment projects to measure changes in biological diversity across New Zealand. Analysis of the NSC fungal data will rely on the phylogeny- based classifications currently being developed, while interpretation of its significance will rely on the knowledge attached to the old names. This talk will use the Leotiomycetes (disc fungi) to illustrate some of the taxonomic issues involved with the development of these new classifications and their implications for the use of fungal names.
Posted by Jacqueline Beggs
Prof Harold Corke speaking next week at University of Auckland. Case study on the development of Amaranthus as a grain crop in China.Jacqueline Beggs is an Associate Professor in the Centre for Biodiversity and Biosecurity, University of Auckland.
The Auckland Kereru Project: Following the movements and diets of urban kererū (NZ pigeon) in Auckland.
Joint Graduate School in Biodiversity and Biosecurity PhD candidate Alice Baranyovits is investigating how kererū move around fragmented landscapes and more specifically how they utilise the urban environment. In particular she is interested in their diet, particularly where and when they are eating introduced plants. In order to do this she needs your help!
There are two ways to contribute as a one-off; by recording your garden plants and/or by recording urban kererū sightings (although you can enter as many kererū sightings as you like).
If you would prefer to have a more continual involvement you can register to take part in the phenology study (recording when your plants fruit) or the quarterly kererū count or both!
To sign up, please visit the Auckland Kereru Project website