Posts Tagged ‘biodiversity’

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.


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.


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)


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!


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)