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Biological Sciences

Botany of the bizarre: the biology of the world’s strangest parasitic plant

Flower of Rafflesia schadenbergiana, third largest flower in the World
The strange parasitic plant genus Rafflesia faces a number of conservation challenges, including habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation. Learning more about these rare species is a crucial step in informing the conservation management of Rafflesia.

Meeting Mushrooms in the Wild: 12 NZ species

Vermilion waxcap/ Hygrocybe miniata
For most of us, mushrooms are the most familiar type of fungi, but not all fungi produce mushrooms. Of the estimated 5 million species of fungi, about 14,000 produce mushrooms. New Zealand has a fascinating mix of native, endemic and introduced fungi. With a bit of practice, patience, and a sharp eye, these species are only a foray away.

A good news story for World Ocean Day: The Ross Sea region MPA

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The Southern Ocean south of the Antarctic Polar Front is managed by an international agreement analogous to the Antarctic Treaty, the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).  This area accounts for 10% of the world’s oceans and includes some of the most pristine marine habitats on Earth. CCAMLR allows fishing but aims to balance conservation with rational...

Tiny mud heroes of New Zealand estuaries

Estuarine mudflats are usually seen as bare and fruitless wastelands, but in fact, they rank as one of the most productive habitats on Earth. They provide food for vast numbers of shorebirds and supply us with tasty shellfish. Mudflats also play a pivotal role in filtering coastal waters from various pollutants that we put there. These ecosystem services would...

Our hidden forests

Seaweed form one of the most diverse and productive ecosystems on this planet, yet, with most of its beauty hidden below the surface; its importance often slips our attention. Destruction of terrestrial forests often causes global sensation and outcries. We know about their importance as they provide a home and food sources for animals and their indispensable role for our...