Author Archive

Conservation genomics in practice

Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

Director for Bioprotection Aotearoa, Professor Amanda Black was interviewed recently by Nature.  Amanda discusses how Māori deeply care for the environment and biodiversity of Aotearoa New Zealand, as this is how Māori define themselves and is culturally important.

“Different Māori tribes are kaitiaki, or guardians, of taonga, or treasured species. Conservation-biology- and biodiversity-oriented projects in New Zealand involve Māori. Respect for Indigenous peoples is integrated into scientific practices in fieldwork and sample handling and when using data to benchmark computational tools. Those tasks are part of conservation genomics, in which methods such as sequencing and sequence analysis are used to study the genomes of people, plants, animals and microbes.”

Amanda says it was an enjoyable experience chatting with the writer, “A journal like Nature is starting to recognise the value and experience of indigenous researchers.”  A mission for Nature, is to ensure that the results of science are rapidly disseminated to the public throughout the world, in a fashion that conveys their significance for knowledge, culture and daily life.

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Professor Amanda Black (Lincoln University) is the Director for Bioprotection Aotearoa.  She specialises in environmental soil chemistry and biochemistry, focusing on the health of soil ecosystems.

Amanda is involved in the following research projects:

  • Pou 3 | Project 3.1: How can we create healthy, disease-resistant and climate resilient soils? (Researcher)

Bringing the tūī back to town – how native birds are returning to NZ’s restored urban forests

Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

Postdoctoral Fellow Elizabeth Elliot Noe has always followed The Conversation.  Feeling brave, Elizabeth decided to pitch a story idea to them.  She submitted a 900-word article about planting more native trees in urban areas to encourage the return of native birds to urban forests.  Elizabeth says that these small actions in local neighbourhoods can make a big difference.

Elizabeth was surprised to learn that The Conversation chose to publish her article. “It was fun to see them add pictures and make it shiny and exciting.”  She was even more surprised to learn that media aggregate sites such as Stuff and the NZ Herald republished her article word for word, with no edits.

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Dr. Elizabeth Elliot Noe (Lincoln University) is a Postdoctoral Fellow for Bioprotection Aotearoa.  She specialises in biodiversity conservation in human-dominated landscapes, with an interest in the management and governance of social-ecological systems.

Elizabeth is involved with the following research projects:

  • Pou 3 | Project 3.3: Creating effective governance models that lead to resilient ecosystems (Researcher)

 

Familiar reforms part of new Government plan to adapt to a hotter world

Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

This article features comments from Professor Anita Wreford, a researcher for Bioprotection Aotearoa, who welcomes public consultation following the release of the draft National Adaptation Plan.   Anita comments on how this is a good opportunity to discuss how conflicting viewpoints would be resolved, and “rightly” decide how costs can be shared.

“For example, the preferred position of one funding body – such as the council – could be different from the communities’ viewpoint. Solutions could create new problems, Wreford noted: one community might want to build a sea wall that would impact the safety or ecology of a neighbouring locale.”

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Professor Anita Wreford (Lincoln University) is a researcher for Bioprotection Aotearoa.  She is an applied economist specialising in adaptation to climate change, with a particular focus on agriculture and the primary sector

Anita is involved with the following research projects:

  • Pou 3 | Project 3.3: Creating effective governance models that lead to resilient ecosystems (Researcher)

How Māori stepped in to save a towering tree crucial to their identity.

Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

The New York Times talks to our very own Dr. Nick Waipara and other Māori researchers about Māori led interventions to save kauri from kauri dieback.  Nick discusses the competitive system for scientific funding being directed towards the priorities of non-Māori researchers, making work on the disease “problematic, underfunded, piecemeal and ad hoc”.

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Dr. Nick Waipara (Plant & Food Research) is a researcher for Bioprotection Aotearoa.  Nick specialises in plant pathology,  microbiology, ecology and evolution.

Nick is involved with the following research projects:

  • Pou 1 | Project 1.1: Multi-scaled integrators of ecosystem health (Researcher)
  • Pou 2 | Project 2.1: The mechanisms for microbiota-mediated protection (Researcher)
  • Pou 2 | Project 2.2: Genetic and genomic approaches to pest and pathogen control (Researcher)
  • Recloaking Papatūānuku | Mānuka me te kānuka (Co-lead)

 

Fears wilding pine issue has been underestimated, expert says

Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

This article features Distinguished Professor Philip Hulme, who is a Deputy Director at Bioprotection Aotearoa.  Philip lends his expertise on an article about management efforts to eradicate wilding pines in Aotearoa.

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Distinguished professor Philip Hulme (Lincoln University) is a Deputy Director for Bioprotection Aotearoa.  Philip specialises in pest management and conservation.

Philip is involved in the following research projects:

  • Pou 3 | Project 3.2: Designing future forestry – native nurseries or invader incubators? (Project lead)

The whakapapa of soil

Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

Professor Nick Roskruge is a Deputy Director and leading researcher at Bioprotection Aotearoa.  He wrote an article for Stuff discussing the whakapapa of soil and its defining pronouncement which establishes place and purpose.

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Professor Nick Roskruge (Massey University) is a Deputy Director for Bioprotection Aotearoa.  Nick specialises in Horticulture/vegetable production, Maori Resource Studies, Maori & Pacific Agribusiness, Ethnobotany.

Nick is involved in the following research projects:

  • Recloaking Papatūānuku: Mānuka me te kānuka (Co-lead)
  • Pou 1 | Project 1.1: Multi-scale integrators of ecosystem health (Researcher)
  • Pou 3 | Project 3.1: How can we create healthy, disease-resistance and climate-resistance soils? (Researcher)

 

Aotearoa’s weed problem

Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

This article features Professor Margaret Stanley, a researcher at Bioprotection Aotearoa.  Margaret shares her science communication project on weed management.

Margaret was one of 30 scientists and illustrators who participated in a “Drawing Science” workshop in 2021.  This event was hosted by the Science Media Centre and The Spinoff.  It was inspired by the successful collaboration between Siouxsie Wiles and Toby Morris that produced the now globally famous COVID 19 illustrations and gifs.

Scientists were asked to bring a science-specific concept or result they wanted to communicate.  Margaret has been struggling with how to effectively communicate best practices on weed management (based on excellent science).

So after some science and illustrator speed dating, Margaret was paired with illustrator, Pepper Racoon and the campaign to communicate wicked weed management began!

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Professor Margaret Stanley (University of Auckland) is a researcher for Bioprotection Aotearoa.  Margaret specialises in ecology and terrestrial biodiversity and ecosystems.

Margaret is involved with the following research projects:

  • Pou 3 | Project 3.2: Designing future forestry – native nurseries or invader incubators (Researcher)

Genome: Science of Life exhibition to launch

Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

This radio interview features Professor Peter Dearden, a Deputy Director for Bioprotection Aotearoa.  Peter is also the director of Genomics Aotearoa and discusses with Wallace Chapman from RNZ the launch of a new exhibition at Tūhura Otago Museum, called Genome: Science of Life.

Since COVID arrived on our shores, genomics has become a part of the public consciousness.

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Professor Peter Dearden (University of Otago) is a Deputy Director for Bioprotection Aotearoa.  He specialises in developmental genetics and genome sequencing. 

Peter is involved in the following research projects:

  • Pou 2 | Project 2.2: Genetic and genomic approaches to pest and pathogen control (Researcher)