Blue ducks (whio) live in both the North and South Island – they’re isolated by distance, but how isolated are they genetically? Physically there are visual differences – the South Island whio is larger, for example. But just how deep do those differences go? Genetic difference matters when … [Read more...] about Blue ducks – how different is ‘different’?
Kea numbers are decreasing. Nesting adult females, their eggs and chicks are highly at risk from mammal predators. But are there other, invisible risks too? Extinction risk isn’t simply a numbers game – it’s not just the population size of a species that indicates whether it’s at risk of becoming … [Read more...] about Genetic diversity – what do we know about kea?
Kiwi call counts are an important monitoring tool in kiwi recovery projects, but just how accurate are they? The time of night you choose, the weather, the season and other environmental factors can all potentially affect kiwi calling and best practice recommendations have been formulated to reflect … [Read more...] about Study investigates kiwi call count parameters
We’ve got a pretty good idea of the damage being done to our native wildlife by introduced predators, but when it comes to introduced diseases, there has been little research done on the impact those diseases might be having. Take, for example, the parasitic disease avian malaria. Like human … [Read more...] about Avian malaria – is it a threat?
As our only native land mammal, bats are both vulnerable to introduced mammal predators and potentially vulnerable to the methods used to control those predators. It is critically important therefore, that any ‘collateral’ harm done by the control method is significantly less than the damage that … [Read more...] about Long-term study reveals bat response to predator control
When planning began for Maungatautari Ecological Island Sanctuary, no-one knew that a population of New Zealand’s endemic Hochstetter’s Frog lived within the sanctuary’s planned fenceline. For once, one of our threatened species was in the right placed at the right time and it's discovery was an … [Read more...] about Serendipity helps Hochstetter’s Frogs
If you want to measure the abundance of birds in a forest you can count how many you see or record the birdsong you hear. But how do you monitor whether your predator control is increasing invertebrate diversity? As some of our larger invertebrates such as tree weta and stick insects are likely to … [Read more...] about Frass drop – finding clues from the poos
‘Raptors vs aliens’ – it sounds like the latest Hollywood blockbuster, but it’s actually the title of a paper published in the NZ Journal of Zoology at the end of last year. Written by NZ Landcare Research scientists A.S. Glen and R.P. Pech, along with two Australian authors, the research … [Read more...] about Raptors vs aliens – might it work?
Wanted Alive! The South Island kokako is a bird with a price on its head - $5000 in fact for proof of its existence. So what evidence is there that this distinctive and beautiful bird does survive – and if you wanted to rediscover it, where might you want to go looking? Back in 2014 Notornis, … [Read more...] about Wanted alive – where might SI kokako be found?
What do we know about the effects of introduced mammalian predators in the alpine environment? The short answer is probably ‘not much’. DOC scientists Colin O’Donnell, Kerry Weston and Joanne Monks review the little that we do know in the latest volume of the NZ Journal of Ecology. They identify … [Read more...] about Alpine predator impacts little understood