Ōpāwaho/Heathcote River – (Re)connecting catchment communities

The Ōpāwaho (or Heathcote River) is one of two main rivers that weaves its way through Ōtautahi (Christchurch) on its way to the Avon Heathcote Estuary (Ihutai). Once a pristine lowland waterway, and an abundant source of food and resources for Ngāi Tahu, the Ōpāwaho is currently in poor health. While the state of the river has...

What crawls beneath the surface?

Invertebrate life in New Zealand’s rivers and streams We all know about the kiwi and the kākāpō, but what iconic species are lurking beneath the surface of our rivers and streams? Freshwater invertebrates (animals without a backbone) are amazingly diverse: from taonga species such as kākahi (freshwater mussels) and kōura (crayfish), to...

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...