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Our Changing World

1000 EpisodesProduced by RNZWebsite

Stories about science and nature from out in the field and inside the labs across Aotearoa New Zealand.

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The complexities of soil

May 24th, 2023


This week we're digging up the dirt on the surprising complexity of soil. From top-notch compost to dung beetles to kauri dieback, join us on a fascinating tour of the world beneath our feet with presenters at the Wild …

Freshwater friends at Zealandia

May 17th, 2023


Claire Concannon meets the latest addition to the Zealandia ecosanctuary family - toitoi, or common bully. Zealandia CEO Dr Danielle Shanahan …

Head knocks in junior rugby

May 10th, 2023


What are the risks of head injury for players of contact sports such as rugby? Research is increasingly linking head knocks with neurodegenerative diseases later in life. Claire Concannon meets a research team analysing …

Special edition: Prime Minister's Science Prizes 2022

May 1st, 2023


Meet the winners of the 2022 Prime Minister's Science Prizes! We go behind the scenes with the Emerging Scientist, Science Teacher and Future Scientist winners to learn about cutting-edge research, inspiring teaching …

Blooming cyclones

April 26th, 2023


Tropical cyclones can cause rampant destruction, but sometimes, these wild weather systems can seed life at sea too. This week we meet a storm-chasing researcher in search of phytoplankton blooms like one that formed in …

Seeds of hope for seagrass meadows

April 19th, 2023


Grab your gumboots! Alison Ballance squelches out into Nelson's mudflats with a team of Cawthron Institute researchers in search of cryptic seagrass …

Kiwi return to the wilds of Wellington

April 12th, 2023


The birds are back. After a long absence, 11 kiwi have returned to the outskirts of Wellington â€" with a little help from some human friends. Veronika Meduna heads into the field to see how the work of the Capital Kiwi …

The unwelcome visitors

April 5th, 2023


The Rotopiko peat wetlands are a haven for rare and threatened wildlife. But when a flock of introduced birds numbering in the hundreds of thousands moves in â€" threatening the very nature of this special place â€" a …

What will happen to alpine plants in a warming world?

March 29th, 2023


As mountains get warmer with our changing climate, what will happen to the iconic alpine plants that live at high altitude? Claire Concannon visits the moonscape slopes of Mt Ruapehu with a team of researchers using an …

The Noises Islands – Part 2

March 22nd, 2023


This week, Claire Concannon returns to the Noises Islands in the Hauraki Gulf. While conservation action on the islands has led to thriving …

The Noises Islands: Part 1

March 15th, 2023


The Noises are a conservation success story in the Hauraki Gulf. Claire Concannon joins a team surveying the wÄ"tÄpunga, seabirds, and other flora …

Sleeping on the job

March 8th, 2023


We all get some â€" but are you getting enough? Claire Concannon investigates the science of sleep and meets a pilot-turned-sleep-researcher helping …

Bats vs cats

March 1st, 2023


New Zealand's native long-tailed bat, pekapeka-tou-roa, is going strong in Franklin, south of Auckland. But these tiny mammals are threatened by introduced predators, especially cats. Producer Liz Garton goes on a bat …

When plans change

February 22nd, 2023


Not everything goes to plan on research trips. And when the trip is to a remote island aboard a navy ship designed to help with disaster relief, and happens to overlap with one of the worst weather disasters in New …

A pair of tyrants

February 15th, 2023


This week we're travelling back in time 66 million years ago with producer William Ray, to a time when dinosaurs roamed. Join William as he meets two Tyrannosaurus rex fossils at the Auckland Museum and uncovers the …

The sex life of spiders

February 8th, 2023


They can hunt, they can fish, they build little nurseries for their babies. Oh and some of them also engage in a bit of sexual cannibalism. Claire …

Bonus: Bug of the Year 2023 causing lab tension

February 8th, 2023


With the Bug of the Year 2023 competition coming to the closing stages, it's not surprising that things are getting heated. In this breaking news story we learn how voting preferences have caused a rift in the Painting …

The secret life of sea sponges

February 1st, 2023


What do marine biologists get up to? Some Evans Bay Intermediate school students are learning all about it at the Victoria University Coastal Ecology …

Green data storage, green walls

January 25th, 2023


Claire Concannon investigates how luminescence and specialised materials could be key to our growing data storage needs, and visits a test site for …

Summer science: Two stories from the ocean

January 18th, 2023


In the final instalment of our summer science series, we bring you two stories from the ocean. First we have a story on marine noise pollution from …

Summer science: Rabbits and other pests

January 11th, 2023


We continue our summer science series with an episode from RNZ’s The Aotearoa History Show. In the first episode of season two, the show burrows into the story of rabbits and other pests introduced to New Zealand.

Summer science: The hunt for New Zealand's tenth meteorite

January 4th, 2023


As part of our summer science series we bring you an episode of The Otago Chronicles podcast, hosted by Max Balloch. In this episode, Max talks to Associate Professor James Scott from the University of Otago Department …

Summer science: Two stories about genetics

December 21st, 2022


Two stories about genetics produced by students at the University of Otago's Department of Science Communication. Amanda Konyn investigates whether …

An eye in the sky to detect methane emissions

December 14th, 2022


MethaneSAT is the first New Zealand government funded space mission. A joint project between the United States' Environmental Defense Fund and New Zealand, the project will see a methane sensing satellite launched into …

Conservation successes in the Cook Islands

December 7th, 2022


The kākerōri or Rarotongan flycatcher is a South Pacific conservation success story. Once reduced to just 29 birds, it has been rescued from the …

Planning for Aotearoa's genomic medicine future

November 30th, 2022


If the future of healthcare is personalised genomics, how can we ensure that it is used to lessen inequities, rather than strengthen them? This week, Our Changing World speaks to two of the co-leaders of the Rakieora …

Genome sequencing and the pandemic

November 23rd, 2022


Genome sequencing has become a household term during this pandemic. This week, we explore how it became an important tool in the fight against …

Sunfish secrets

November 16th, 2022


Sunfish are the world's largest bony fish species – and yet scientists know little about their lives. This week, Our Changing World meets a sunfish …

Sunshine science: the power and peril of the sun’s rays

November 9th, 2022


Summer is on its way, and this week we're exploring both the power and the peril of the sun. First, we visit the Ultrafast Laser Lab to learn about …

What feathers can tell us about the past lives of seabirds

November 2nd, 2022


Behind the scenes at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, a "menagerie" of specimens is a treasure trove for curator Dr Matt Rayner, who is researching …

Why has this river of Antarctic ice stalled?

October 27th, 2022


How do you drill through 600m of thick Antarctic ice? Using hot water, of course. In this episode from the 2020 series Voices from Antarctica, Alison …

Space sounds and jungle noises: The otherworldly song of Weddell seals

October 20th, 2022


Weddell seals have returned to breed near Scott Base in Antarctica after a decades-long absence. On land, they're blubbery lumps. But underwater, …

Deep dives and epic journeys: Return of the emperor penguins

October 13th, 2022


A team of NIWA scientists eagerly awaits the return of 19 emperor penguins carrying high-tech data loggers and video cameras. What will the data captured reveal about the penguins' secret lives at sea?

Emperor penguin secrets

October 6th, 2022


Revisit the frozen continent with us in this mini rerun of the Voices from Antarctica series. This week, Alison visits Cape Crozier to meet a colony …

The prickly prize of ongaonga

September 28th, 2022


It's spectacularly spiky and delivers a painful – or even deadly – sting. Why are a team of conservationists growing and planting up Orokonui …

A send-off for SOFIA, the flying observatory

September 21st, 2022


We're saying farewell to the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (aka SOFIA) this month. The mission, which was partially based in Christchurch, wraps up after a decade of observing comets, stars, planets, …

Future forest industry

September 14th, 2022


In a future that is free of fossil fuels, where will we source all the products that we get from the petroleum industry? Scientists at the forest …

Fascinating fungi and pesky pathogens

September 7th, 2022


In a room in the Manaaki Whenua building in Auckland are rows and rows of shelves, with cardboard boxes containing an array of weird and wonderful …

Bringing back nature to Nelson

August 31st, 2022


Alison Ballance visits the Brook Waimārama sanctuary, and discovers that the old saying “many hands make light work” is particularly true when it …

Plasma jet technology and encouraging Pacific students in science

August 24th, 2022


Claire Concannon catches up with Dr. Taniela Lolohea of Auckland University of Technology.
He is researching in the relatively new field of low …

Investigating the virosphere

August 17th, 2022


While we might have heard all we ever want to know about viruses in the last few years, the truth is, known viruses represent less than zero point one percent of the estimated total of viruses out there.
Claire Concannon …

For the love of seabirds

August 10th, 2022


Edin Whitehead inherited a love of birds from her father and became captivated by the majesty of seabirds on a trip to the Subantarctic Islands. Now a PhD student at the University of Auckland, she is trying to figure …

The Living Laboratories project

August 3rd, 2022


The Auckland University of Technology Living Laboratories project is all about investigating how best to grow back native forest. At Pourewa creek, …

Secrets of Antarctic microbes

July 27th, 2022


The most extreme places in Antarctica give rise to the toughest and weirdest types of life. From creatures living a very different chemical life to …

Why the Tongan volcano triggered a worldwide tsunami

July 20th, 2022


The eruption of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha‘apai in January triggered a tsunami of unprecedented proportions, impacting the entire Pacific. How did this …

The battling beetle

July 13th, 2022


With their antler-like mandibles, Helm's stag beetles often get stuck in to one another. But they are fighting a bigger battle too - against predators and habitat loss.
PhD student Luna Thomas is studying these little …

Machine learning for environmental data and research into needle-free injections

July 6th, 2022


The New Zealand data science programme, Taiao, aims to help researchers make sense of environmental data so they can make useful predictions to guide …

The resilience of crayfish in Tauranga Harbour

June 29th, 2022


PhD student Kiamaia Ellis describes crayfish as a ‘vulnerable tāonga species’. Local iwi in Tauranga believe the crayfish population is decreasing …

Helping seabirds return to Karioi

June 22nd, 2022


Working with the community and local schools, the Karioi Project aims to turn the tide on biodiversity loss in their area. In recent years they've …

The promises and perils of chemistry research

June 15th, 2022


Two stories about the promise and perils of chemistry research. From a team recreating Renaissance beauty recipes in the hopes of rediscovering a 'miracle ingredient', to a researcher investigating New Zealand's …

Digging into the past of sleeping giant faults

June 8th, 2022


The Nevis Fault is a sleeping giant fault, one that awakens only every 10,000 years or so. This week, a team of geologists use paleoseismic trenching …

The 2021 Prime Minister's Science Prizes

June 1st, 2022


It's Prime Minister's Science Prize time! We meet some of the people awarded the 2021 prizes for their mahi.

Biodiversity and the city

May 25th, 2022


Researchers from the University of Waikato are tackling the tricky question of how to restore native biodiversity in our urban areas.

The red seaweed of Otago Harbour

May 18th, 2022


We join Marine Science PhD student Namrata Chand on her Autumn field work collecting seaweed samples to learn more about this 'underdog of the ocean'.

Business not as usual for heart health

May 11th, 2022


Pūtahi Manawa / Healthy Hearts for Aotearoa has an ambitious goal - to close the inequity gaps in heart health. Researchers in this Centre of Research Excellence explain the gaps that exist & how they plan to …

Naturally rare and threatened

May 4th, 2022


Claire Concannon meets with some of the people working to protect Aotearoa’s naturally rare ecosytems and the endangered plants found within them.

2022 a boomer year for kākāpō

April 27th, 2022


Alison Ballance joins the kākāpō recovery team on Pukenui Anchor Island to hear how the 2021/2022 kākāpō breeding season is going.

Frozen in time

April 20th, 2022


A visit to Scott's Terra Nova hut to learn about the care given to the objects by Antarctic Heritage Trust conservators. This is an edit of the Antarctic Heritage Trust's podcast 'Frozen in Time: Scott's Antarctic …

Researching best care for the smallest of patients

April 13th, 2022


Justin Gregory finds out about a study investigating how pre-term babies are fed during their first few weeks, and whether there is a better way.

Getting ready for our warmer future

April 6th, 2022


Stories about looking our warming world in the eye, and preparing for what is coming next. Collecting data about extreme temperatures in estuaries to …

The future of cancer treatment

March 30th, 2022


At the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research a team of scientists are working on what they believe will be the future of cancer treatment in New Zealand.

The energy problem

March 23rd, 2022


Two stories on addressing our energy problem - using AI to maximise locally produced renewable energy and reducing the carbon footprint of ammonia production.

The first glance

March 16th, 2022


A story of a community taking the lead to investigate their own history. Near the small fishing village of Moeraki, whānau members are doing the work …

When good science takes time

March 9th, 2022


This sea week Our Changing World joins Dr. Kim Currie on the Munida transect time-series - a long running investigation of how the chemistry of the oceans off New Zealand is changing.

Conservation benefits

March 2nd, 2022


Creating safe spaces for wildlife to thrive means benefit for the local community too. This week, two stories on that theme.

Finding faults and eavesdropping on earthquakes

February 23rd, 2022


Alison Ballance catches up with two earthquake researchers. Geologist Carolyn Boulton is a ‘fault finder’, interested in how faults slide. And …

Multi-talented macroalgae

February 16th, 2022


Claire visits a macroalgae research facility in Tauranga to learn how and why the team there are growing large quantities of seaweed and freshwater macroalgae.

Honey fingerprints and plant powers

February 9th, 2022


Claire learns about honey fingerprinting while Katy Gosset meets a scientist studying the anti-microbial properties of some native plants.

Hunting for meteorites

February 2nd, 2022


Claire joins a meteorite hunt on the South Island’s West Coast and learns what these rocks from space can tell us about the early formation of our …

Tuning in to nature

January 26th, 2022


The story of titipounamu, New Zealand's smallest bird, on Otago Peninsula, told by Karthic SS, a wildlife film maker and podcast producer based in …

Summer Science: Voices - To spray or not to spray

January 19th, 2022


Summer science continues with a play of a science related episode from RNZ's Voices podcast. In 'To spray or not to spray' we meet Tim Vandervoet as he investigates ways to reduce insecticide use in orchards. 

Summer Science: What's in the water? All about the Pb in our H20

January 12th, 2022


Centre for Science Communication student Laura McDonald speaks to Dr. Mike Palin about lead contamination in the environment.

Summer Science: Black Sheep - Invasive: the story of Stewart Smith

January 5th, 2022


Summer science continues with a play of a science related episode from RNZ's Black Sheep podcast. Invasive tells the story of one man who released thousands of invasive fish into New Zealand's rivers, lakes and streams.

Summer Science: There's something in the water

December 29th, 2021


Centre for Science Communication student William Bowden speaks to Dr. Mike Joy & Dr. Tim Chambers about the issue of nitrates in New Zealand's waterways.

Unwelcome visitors

December 22nd, 2021


How to deal with unwelcome visitors. Katy Gosset learns about a native fungus that might help in the battle against wilding pines. And two national research programmes combine on an expedition to protect our oceans from …

Using chemistry to uncover the past

December 15th, 2021


Chemical isotope analysis is a powerful technique - Dr. Charlotte King explains to Claire how she uses it to reconstruct past lives of forgotten …

Introducing Sci Fi Sci Fact

December 9th, 2021


Sci Fi / Sci Fact is a new podcast series in which scientists from New Zealand's MacDiarmid Institute talk to RNZ host Bryan Crump about whether some …

Keeping an eye on river flow

December 8th, 2021


Two stories on keeping an eye on river flow - helping fish to migrate back upstream, and development of a national river flow forecasting tool.

Listening to the hum of the Alpine Fault

December 1st, 2021


A team of scientists are installing an array of seismic sensors along the South Island's Alpine Fault. Claire Concannon joins them to find out how …

Restoration - battling predators and planting trees

November 24th, 2021


Katy Gosset speaks to a PhD student designing new tech to catch predators and Claire Concannon meets the team who are working to restore a unique landscape on the South Island's West Coast.

100 years of radio and the spectrum of light

November 17th, 2021


On the 100th anniversary of radio in Aotearoa, Claire Concannon learns about the very first broadcast, explores how radio works, and finds out about current research into communicating using light.

Sniffing out cancer

November 10th, 2021


Claire visits the team at K9 Medical Detection Charitable Trust to learn how their dogs are being trained to detect bowel and prostate cancer.

Totara treasure hunt

November 3rd, 2021


Claire Concannon hits the Central Otago hills with Botany PhD student Ben Teele to imagine the landscape as it use to be, and to follow the clues to …

Favourite plants

October 27th, 2021


Claire Concannon hears how the the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network's favourite plant competition is shaping up, while Katy Gosset learns about research to improve the quality and growth efficiency of grapevines.

The details behind the data

October 20th, 2021


This week on Our Changing World, Aotearoa Science Agency's Damian Christie speaks to three scientists about the world of data.

The New Zealand genetic frontotemporal dementia study

October 13th, 2021


Claire Concannon hears from Dr. Brigid Ryan of the University of Auckland about the New Zealand genetic frontotemporal dementia study and speaks to …

Using bioengineering to enhance healthcare

October 6th, 2021


Stories about the potential of bioengineering to transform health care. A new tracheostomy kit design that has halved the time for emergency operations and 3D bioprinting of tissues to help healing.

Physics on ice

September 29th, 2021


Stories of physics research in Antarctica - into, under, and from within the ice. Claire finds out about measuring sea ice thickness and …

Brain stories - Parkinsons disease & perceiving masked emotions

September 22nd, 2021


Claire Concannon learns about experiments aimed at slowing Parkinson's Disease progression. Sonia Yee explores research into our perception of emotions in a mask-filled world.

The kaka's return

September 15th, 2021


The return of South Island kÄkÄ to the the ÅŒtepoti Dunedin area has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride. Claire Concannon hears about the tragedies …

Wading into mangrove research

September 8th, 2021


Native mangroves in Aotearoa are expanding, putting them in conflict with some local communities & councils. A wade into the research about the value of mangroves & how they are managed.

Caring for the forest

September 1st, 2021


Katy Gosset finds out how researchers investigate the plant penetration powers of myrtle rust. Claire Concannon speaks with the caretaker of a tropical forest and hundreds of butterflies.

Surveying the skies

August 25th, 2021


Two stories of looking to the skies. Claire Concannon joins a hunt for planets outside of our solar system. Katy Gosset reveals the results of the …

A new way to make vaccines

August 18th, 2021


This week, how information flows in the cell from DNA to proteins, and how scientists have tapped into this to enable a new way to make vaccines using messenger RNA.

Forty feathered needles in a forest haystack

August 11th, 2021


How do you find a tiny robin in a whole lot of forest? Researchers have been tracking the movements of forty North Island robins, or toutouwai, that …

Mind Games

August 4th, 2021


How do you get in the zone to achieve your very best in an activity? And does a cheering crowd help? This week, two stories about the psychology of …

Running low on energy

July 28th, 2021


Researchers from the University of Waikato talk about Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) â€" a condition in which athletes don't take in the right amount of calories to do the exercise they are doing. Katie …

The spectrum of research

July 21st, 2021


Scientific research can be thought as on a spectrum from blue sky to applied - this week, two stories that span this. Claire Concannon learns about a …

Breaking down bird song

July 14th, 2021


On this week’s Our Changing World - how songbirds learn their song, and how researchers in the Southern Hemisphere are trying to correct a long-standing male bias in the songbird world.

Crafty Mathematics

July 7th, 2021


Mathematical equations can help us get new perspectives, but sometimes can be difficult to understand. This week, one story about how maths has …

Designing a pressure sensor for the brain

June 30th, 2021


Researchers at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute are working on what they hope will be the first New Zealand designed Class 3 medical device - a pressure sensor for the brain, to help people with hydrocephalus. The …

Conservation communities

June 23rd, 2021


Two stories of Aotearoa New Zealand conservation communities who are caring for the flora and fauna in their backyards. Claire learns about the Catlins Bats on the Map project while Katy learns about saving scurvy grass.

When disease research gets personal

June 16th, 2021


Claire Concannon meets a group of researchers who are determined to do the best science they can, to try to help the people they love.

The winding paths of science

June 9th, 2021


Two stories about science pathways - Katy Gosset heads to the University of Canterbury STEM careers fair to find out what the future might be for science students, while Claire Concannon learns about the weird world of …

4: What’s in it for Us?

May 30th, 2021


In the series finale, Hope, we get a glimpse of what a predator-free Aotearoa could look like, and look at the breakthrough technologies and …

3: Predator Free 2050 & Māori

May 23rd, 2021


Community-led projects are leading the charge to halt biodiversity decline, while researchers make break-throughs in their quest to remove predators and protect borders from reinvasion.

2: Remove and Protect

May 16th, 2021


New Zealander’s have drawn a line in the sand, announcing they will rid the nation of rats, stoats and possums by 2050, but what will it take to get there?

1: Dealing with Loss

May 9th, 2021


Loss looks at the devastating effect introduced mammals have had on New Zealand's unique wildlife.

Alison Ballance retrospective 6: southern island sanctuary

May 6th, 2021


Alison Ballance revisits a favourite story from the archives: southern island sanctuary for rare birds.

Our Changing World for 6 May 2021

May 6th, 2021


In her final trawl through the audio archives, Alison Ballance heads to Putauhinu Island, a southern sanctuary for rare birds.

Alison Ballance retrospective 5: kauri dieback disease

April 29th, 2021


Alison Ballance revisits a 2013 feature on kauri dieback disease and talks to Nick Waipara to find out how the northern kauri forests are coping with the disease in 2021.

Our Changing World for 29 April 2021

April 29th, 2021


Alison Ballance revisits a 2013 story about kauri dieback disease and gets an update of the disease's impact in 2021.

Alison Ballance retrospective 4: ocean acidification

April 22nd, 2021


Alison Ballance's foray into the vaults finds a feature on ocean acidification, The Acid Test and adds a 2021 update.

Our Changing World for 22 April 2021

April 22nd, 2021


In this week's retrospective, Alison Ballance revisits an ocean acidification special feature called The Acid Test.

2020 Prime Minister's Science Prize winners

April 15th, 2021


There are some familiar names as well as some new faces among the winners of the 2020 Prime Minister's Science Prizes.

Our Changing World for 15 April 2021

April 15th, 2021


2020 Prime Minister's Science Prize winners talk about their research and teaching.

Alison Ballance retrospective 3: Voice of the Iceberg

April 8th, 2021


Alison Ballance digs into Our Changing World's Antarctic treasure chest and finds part 2 of Voice of the Iceberg.

Our Changing World for 8 April 2021

April 8th, 2021


Alison Ballance digs into the Our Changing World archives for an Antarctic blast from the past with Voice of the Iceberg 2: Revelation.

Alison Ballance retrospective 2: Kaikōura earthquake science

April 1st, 2021


Alsion Ballance revisits a story looking at the complexity of the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake.

Our Changing World for 1 April 2021

April 1st, 2021


In this week's retrospective, Alison Ballance looks at the 'big ones': a big earthquake in Kaikōura in 2016 and a big science effort to understand it.

Science journalist Alison Ballance hangs up her boots

March 25th, 2021


With more than a thousand conservation stories under her waterproof parka, science journalist Alison Ballance is retiring from RNZ's Our Changing World programme. 

Alison Ballance retrospective 1: shags & eagle rays

March 25th, 2021


Alison Ballance looks back at the 1,000+ stories she has made, and revisits stone-eating spotted shags and urban eagle rays

Our Changing World for 25 March 2021

March 25th, 2021


Alison Ballance plays favourites from the archives - stone-eating spotted shags and urban eagle rays.

More seabirds for Mana Island

March 18th, 2021


The story of a seabird translocation to Mana Island, involving fluffy white-faced storm petrel chicks, artificial burrows and sardine smoothies.

Our Changing World for 18 March 2021

March 18th, 2021


Seabird species are being reintroduced to Mana Island to help restore the ecology of the island.

In search of what is out there

March 11th, 2021


The Far Out Ocean Research Collective has been surveying for whales and dolphins in the seas off Northland.

Our Changing World for 11 March 2021

March 11th, 2021


Rare dolphins and whales were among the discoveries when the Far Out Ocean Research Collective surveyed the seas off Northland.

A new test for IVF embryos

March 4th, 2021


Fertility researchers are developing a new way of testing IVF embryos that have too many chromosomes.

Glaciers as barometers of climate change

March 4th, 2021


Shaun Eaves talks about glaciers in the North Island and how evidence left behind by glaciers can help reconstruct past climates.

Our Changing World for 4 March 2021

March 4th, 2021


Developing a new test for detecting IVF embryos carrying too many chromosomes, and what past and present glaciers can tell us about climate.

Mapping NZ's underground water

February 25th, 2021


Much of New Zealand's freshwater flows underground, and a team from GNS Science is in the process of mapping it.

Collaborating to move freshwater species

February 25th, 2021


University of Canterbury freshwater biologists are using a joint mātauranga Māori and western conservation science framework for their work …

Our Changing World for 25 February 2021

February 25th, 2021


Mapping the hidden reservoirs of underground water across New Zealand and a mātauranga Māori view on moving freshwater species.

Weka: a wily but wary bird

February 18th, 2021


Ornithologist and author Ralph Powlesland is intimately acquainted with the weka families on the regenerating Marlborough Sounds farm where he lives.

Disaster law

February 18th, 2021


University of Canterbury's John Hopkins and Toni Collins explain disaster law and shortcomings in NZ's legal system highlighted by the Canterbury …

Our Changing World for 18 February 2021

February 18th, 2021


The natural history of Marlborough's weka and disaster law: what it is and its role in disaster resilience.

Liquefaction: lessons from the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes

February 11th, 2021


Misko Cubrinovski is interested how the ground and the structures on - and in - it behave during an earthquake.

Fixing environmental problems one plant at a time

February 11th, 2021


Biotechnologist David Leung finds ways to make plants solve environmental issues.

Our Changing World for 11 February 2021

February 11th, 2021


Liquefaction lessons from the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, and biotechnologists doing interesting things with plants.

Engineering new ways to treat dirty water

February 4th, 2021


University of Canterbury engineers plan to 3D print the next generation of wastewater treatment filters.

How to behave better towards the environment

February 4th, 2021


Victoria University of Wellington's Wokje Abrahamse talks about environmental behaviour change, and projects to get people to save energy and use their cars less.

Our Changing World for 4 February 2021

February 4th, 2021


Designing a new kind of filter to treat wastewater and how to encourage people to behave in a more environmentally friendly way.

The value of community gardens

January 28th, 2021


Summer students from Victoria University of Wellington have been helping the Innermost community gardens in Wellington put numbers on their social and environmental values.

Growing dune plants a challenging passion

January 28th, 2021


Each year Jo Bonner and the team at Coastlands Plant Nursery in Whakatane grow 300,000 spinifex and pingao plants for dune replanting at beaches around the North Island.

Our Changing World for 28 January 2021

January 28th, 2021


Measuring the value of a community garden and the challenges of growing dune plants for restoring sand dune communities.

Talking about abortion law reform

January 17th, 2021


University of Otago student Ruby Parker says it's important to talk about abortion. She is in conversation with researcher Emma Harcourt.

Rising water, rising problems

January 10th, 2021


University of Otago student Jenny Stein is finding out how rising sea levels are a growing problem for many coastal settlements, including the …

Horsing around: ketamine and me

January 3rd, 2021


When University of Otago student Asia King got the call to take part in a study using ketamine to treat depression, she said yes - and made a podcast about the experience.

Epiphytes - high-rise plants

December 17th, 2020


Discover the hidden world of arboreal plants, which get a leg-up in the world by living on trees.

Designing low damage buildings

December 17th, 2020


Low-damage buildings don't just save lives in an earthquake - they are designed to be resilient so they can stay in use.

Our Changing World for 17 December 2020

December 17th, 2020


Epiphytes are the high rise experts of the plant world, and resilient buildings should save lives and still be useable after an earthquake.

What it takes to live a good life

December 10th, 2020


When it comes to having a 'good life', there are several key elements - strong intimate relationships and time to relax.

Preparing for the next big quake

December 10th, 2020


Information from past earthquakes can be used to prepare a more resilient society that will be better able to cope with future shakes.

Our Changing World for 10 December 2020

December 10th, 2020


An earthquake engineer talks about modelling strong ground motions in an earthquake and a psychologists talks about what it takes to have a good life.

All at sea - the surprising reach of river waters

December 3rd, 2020


Two self-driving underwater robots are making surprising discoveries about where river water ends up at sea, far from land.

Studying the causes of cancer

December 3rd, 2020


Cancer epidemiologist Brian Cox, from the University of Otago, talks about studying the causes of cancer and new research on diet and bowel cancer.

Our Changing World for 3 December 2020

December 3rd, 2020


How river water reaches out to sea and an epidemiologist talks about work into the causes of cancer.

Ozone holes & UV radiation

November 26th, 2020


NIWA's Richard Querel talks about the ozone hole, including this year's large one, and Ben Liley explains why NZ has such high UV levels.

Our Changing World for 26 November 2020

November 26th, 2020


NIWA experts explain the science behind this year's large ozone hole and New Zealand's high UV levels.

Pua o te Rēinga - return of the Flower of the Underworld

November 19th, 2020


Iwi representatives & conservationists journey to Zealandia sanctuary to plant seeds of the mysterious parasitic flowering plant Dactylanthus or flower of the underworld.

Our Changing World for 19 November 2020

November 19th, 2020


Returning the mysterious parasitic flowering plant Dactylanthus or pua o te reinga to Zealandia sanctuary, in Wellington.

Wahakura - a woven cradle to save babies' lives

November 12th, 2020


The 2020 Tahunui-A-Rangi Award goes to David Tipene Leach for the wahakura, a woven bassinet to address the problem of sudden unexpected death in infancy.

Award for using DNA to better understand plants & animals

November 12th, 2020


Geneticist Neil Gemmell has won the 2020 Hutton Medal for using DNA & new genomic technologies to better understant plants & animals.

Our Changing World for 12 November 2020

November 12th, 2020


The invention of a woven bassinet to save babies' lives & a geneticist seeking to understand plants & animals have won awards at the 2020 Research Honours Aotearoa.

'Academic superstar' wins top research award

November 5th, 2020


NZ's top research award, the Rutherford Medal, has gone to Brian Boyd, whose work spans Shakespeare to Nabokov to Popper, & weaves arts and sciences together.

Focus on political economy & Te Ao Māori a winning combination

November 5th, 2020


Maria Bargh's work on political economies and the environment is focused on Māori communities and has won her the 2020 Te Puāwaitanga Award.

Colourful plants help young researcher win award

November 5th, 2020


Unravelling how genes control colour in petunias has won Nick Albert the 2020 Hamilton Award and could help breed more nutritious fruit.

Climate change - striking a balance

November 5th, 2020


A group of Dunedin students talk about what they learned making an Otago Museum exhibition about climate change inequality.

Our Changing World for 5 November 2020

November 5th, 2020


The 2020 Research Honours go to a Nabokov expert, a Maori political economist & a colourful plant breeder, and students talk climate change.

Putting deep sea corals to the test

October 29th, 2020


Deep sea corals are being put to the test at NIWA to find out how they cope with sediment.

Our Changing World for 29 October 2020

October 29th, 2020


NIWA ecologists have been stress testing deep sea corals to find out they cope with sediment.

Grass and the science of urban CO2

October 22nd, 2020


Jocelyn Turnbull from GNS Science is measuring how much CO2 we're producing in NZ towns - and she's doing it by cutting the grass.

Our Changing World for 22 October 2020

October 22nd, 2020


GNS Science is measuring how much carbon dioxide we're producing in different towns as part of the Carbon Watch NZ project.

Carbon Watch & 50 years of CO2 measurements in NZ

October 15th, 2020


Dave Lowe on measuring CO2 in New Zealand for 50 years, and how Carbon Watch NZ is a bird's eye view on our carbon balance.

Our Changing World for 15 October 2020

October 15th, 2020


Fifty years ago Dave Lowe started measuring carbon dioxide in New Zealand's atmosphere. And Gordon Brailsford and Sara Mikaloff Fletcher talk about Carbon Watch NZ project.

Our Changing World for 8 October 2020

October 8th, 2020


A replay of a story from May 2018: a citizens' jury on euthanasia.

NZ and the Covid-19 vaccine

October 1st, 2020


When is the Covid-19 vaccine coming? Will it work? William Ray talks to NZ experts charting our path towards immunity.

Cutting the grass? Cut it out!

September 24th, 2020


Lawn owner William Ray looks at the ecological benefits of not mowing and letting your grass grow longer.

Genetic recipe book for natural products from fungi

September 17th, 2020


Emily Parker and her team at Victoria University of Wellington are identifying the genes that allow fungi to create natural medicinal compounds.

Our Changing World for 17 September 2020

September 17th, 2020


Unlocking the genetic secrets of natural compounds and the evolution of tieke calls.

What bird is that?

September 10th, 2020


An ecologist and a mathematician discover that teaching a computer to recognise bird calls from acoustic recorders is an interesting challenge.

Our Changing World for 10 September 2020

September 10th, 2020


An ecologist and a mathematician are collaborating on open source software called AviaNZ that will allow a computer to identify bird calls.

A decade of earthquakes

September 3rd, 2020


Ten years after the Darfield earthquake, three seismologists from GeoNet reflect on a decade of big earthquakes and what we've learnt from them.

Our Changing World for 3 September 2020

September 3rd, 2020


Three seismologists from GeoNet reflect on the decade of big earthquakes that began 10 years ago with the Darfield earthquake in Canterbury.

Time travelling with a climate scientist

August 27th, 2020


Dead corals cast up the shore of Aitutaki, in the Cook Islands, provide a window into the Pacific Ocean's marine climate hundreds of years ago.

Our Changing World for 27 August 2020

August 27th, 2020


A time-travelling climate scientist is using dead corals to investigate past marine climates in the Pacific.

Green chemistry - better, safer, more sustainable

August 20th, 2020


From safer solvents to make better batteries, to catalysts that can clean up wastewater, green chemists are developing better ways of making stuff.

Our Changing World for 20 August 2020

August 20th, 2020


Scientists at the Centre for Green Chemical Science at the University of Aukalnd, are developing cleaner greener processes and products.

How sound influences the taste of food

August 13th, 2020


Food scientist Nazimah Hamid from AUT says that the sound of the space we eat in can have surprising effects on the taste of food.

Our Changing World for 13 August 2020

August 13th, 2020


The sensory lab at AUT is used for food testing and tests can involve all the senses, including sound.

Covid-19 unmasked: experts discuss coronavirus

August 6th, 2020


'Covid-19 unmasked: understanding the outbreak' is a panel discussion from the 2020 New Zealand International Science Festival.

Our Changing World for 6 August 2020

August 6th, 2020


A panel of virologists from the University of Otago discuss research into covid-19.

In search of southern right whales

July 30th, 2020


Emma Carroll talks about the return of southern right whales from the edge of extinction and a project asking the public to report whale sightings.

‘The week that snowed’ – shedding new light on old weather records

July 30th, 2020


Take some old weather records. Add citizen scientists. Mix in machine learning. Result = something that might help predict future weather patterns.

Our Changing World for 30 July 2020

July 30th, 2020


In search of southern right whales and digitising old weather records to predict future climate.

Voices from Antarctica 8: Under the ice

July 16th, 2020


Tiny plants that live on the underside of sea ice form an upside-down garden that feeds krill and is the base of the Antarctic food web.

Voices from Antarctica 7: What the ice is saying

July 9th, 2020


Researchers are using hot water to drill through the Ross ice shelf, to discover what has happened to Antarctic ice during previous periods of warm climates.

Voices from Antarctica 6: Seal songs

July 2nd, 2020


Alison Ballance eavesdrops on the songs of the world's southern-most mammal, the Weddell seal, and finds out about sea ice.

‘Melting ice & rising seas’ team wins PM Science Prize

July 2nd, 2020


A team finding links between melting ice sheets in Antarctica and rising sea levels in NZ has won the 2019 Prime Minister's Science Prize.

Wheelie bin robot inventor wins science prize

July 2nd, 2020


Student Thomas James wanted to help his elderly neighbour, so he invented a wheelie bin robot to take her large recycling bin to the kerb.

Passionate maths teacher wins a PM’s Science Prize

July 2nd, 2020


Michelle Dalrymple, winner of the 2019 Prime Minister's Science Teacher's Prize, says being mathematically literate is an important life skill.

Our Changing World for 2 July 2020

July 2nd, 2020


Winners of the 2019 Prime Minister's Science Prizes include a team studying melting ice and rising seas, a maths teacher and a young inventor.

Voices from Antarctica 5: Waiting for Emperors

June 25th, 2020


Emperor penguin researchers are waiting for tagged birds to return, and an elderly radar system sheds light on a very windy part of the atmosphere.

Voices from Antarctica 4: Best journey in the world

June 18th, 2020


Alison Ballance meets a colony of Emperor penguins and their NIWA researchers, and finds out about making water on the frozen continent

Voices from Antarctica 3: Flags to physics

June 11th, 2020


Keeping Scott Base warm and well-lit no matter the weather outside, and a physics experiment that eavesdrops on messages to submarines.

Voices from Antarctica 2: Scott Base

June 4th, 2020


Alison Ballance has her first day at New Zealand's Antarctic station, Scott Base, and visits the historic Hillary's Hut.

Voices from Antarctica 1: Ice Flight

May 28th, 2020


Alison Ballance dons her extreme cold weather clothing for a trip to Antarctica - but getting to the frozen continent can take time.

Our Changing World for 21 May 2020

May 21st, 2020


Two gems from Our Changing World's Antarctic archive - restoring Shackleton's hut at Cape Royds and hunting for extremophile microbes high on Mt Erebus.

Little bit of sea-level rise = lots more coastal flooding

May 14th, 2020


Scientists warn that a small amount of sea-level rise could have big consequences for some low-lying parts of New Zealand.

Our Changing World for 14 May 2020

May 14th, 2020


Experts discuss the findings from a recent NIWA report that shows a small amount of sea-level rise will cause more coastal flooding.

Probing the hidden continent of Zealandia

May 7th, 2020


Ocean floor rock cores drilled into the sunken continent of Zealandia are revolutionising our understanding of Earth's history and how continents …

Our Changing World for 7 May 2020

May 7th, 2020


Geologists are probing the secrets of the hidden continent of Zealandia, and ants and viruses from the archives.

Aussie bushfire dust still in stratosphere

April 30th, 2020


More than four months after it formed, a large blob of sooty dust from Australia's massive bushfires is still circling the southern hemisphere.

On yer bike – how cyclists, pedestrians & cars share city streets

April 30th, 2020


There is a fine art to how pedestrians, cyclists, and cars and buses navigate the shared thoroughfares of our towns and cities.

Our Changing World for 30 April 2020

April 30th, 2020


Dust from Australia's bush fires is still circling the globe in the stratosphere, and studies into cyclists and their use of city streets.

100-year moth project – in the footsteps of George Vernon Hudson

April 23rd, 2020


Modern-day citizen scientists are following in the footsteps of a well-known Wellington naturalist, collecting moths to document a century of change.

Our Changing World for 23 April 2020

April 23rd, 2020


Wellington naturalist George Vernon Hudson collected thousands of moths and a century later a group of citizen scientists are following in his …

Maths, models & insights into the coronavirus pandemic

April 16th, 2020


Mathematician Alex James, from Te Pūnaha Matatini & the University of Canterbury, explains the art and science of modelling the coronavirus pandemic.

Our Changing World for 16 April 2020

April 16th, 2020


Alison Ballance chats with mathematician Alex James, who has been helping model the coronavirus pandemic in New Zealand.

Our immune system vs coronavirus: ‘I think of it as an orchestra'

April 9th, 2020


The human immune system is a complex system where T cells, B cells and antibodies battle invaders such as bacteria and viruses such as the one that causes COVID-19.

Our Changing World for 9 April 2020

April 9th, 2020


Immunologist Jo Kirman introduces us to our immune system and how it fights viruses such as the one that causes COVID-19.

Conservation and Covid-19

April 2nd, 2020


Is New Zealand’s environment benefiting from the lockdown?

Virus 101

April 2nd, 2020


Virus expert Kurt Krause, from the University of Otago, gives us the lowdown on viruses, and on coronaviruses in particular.

Our Changing World for 2 April 2020

April 2nd, 2020


Virus expert Kurt Krause, from the University of Otago, gives us the lowdown on viruses, and we hear about a rare plant and the viruses that are killing it.

Air pollution - the invisible killer

March 26th, 2020


GNS Science monitors levels of air pollution around New Zealand, especially small particles that can have severe health effects.

Our Changing World for 26 March 2020

March 26th, 2020


GNS Science monitors levels of air pollution around New Zealand, and why soap is the ultimate coronavirus buster.

Covid-19: the science of soap

March 22nd, 2020


When it comes to virus-busting, soap is an oldie but a goodie - because it turns out that soap is particularly effective against coronaviruses such …

Voice of the Kākāpō 8: Success

March 19th, 2020


The 2019 kākāpō chicks are becoming independent and birds sent to be scanned for aspergillosis are getting clean bills of health, in part 8 of Voice of the Kākāpō.

Voice of the Kākāpō 7: Dark days

March 17th, 2020


A deadly fungal disease strikes the kākāpō population on Whenua Hou and the Kākāpō Recovery team calls on New Zealand wildlife vets to help, in part …

Voice of the Kākāpō 6: Kākāpō chicks

March 12th, 2020


The kākāpō eggs are hatching, and chicks are being hand-reared or returned to their mother's nest ... but not every chick is thriving, in part 6 of Voice of the Kākāpō .

Voice of the Kākāpō 5: Kākāpō sperm takes to the air

March 10th, 2020


The tally of infertile eggs is climbing and the kākāpō team is using artificial insemination - and a drone - to try and counter the problem, in part 5 of Voice of the Kākāpō.

Voice of the Kākāpō 4: Promise

March 5th, 2020


Most of the female kākāpō have bred and the team is carrying precious fertile eggs to the 'egg room' for incubation, in part 4 of Voice of the Kākāpō .

Voice of the Kākāpō 3: Nest checks

March 3rd, 2020


Kākāpō breeding is in full swing after an early start, and DOC's Deidre Vercoe and Andrew Digby are checking to see if eggs are fertile, in part 3 of …

Voice of the Kākāpō 2: Whenua Hou, kākāpō island

February 27th, 2020


The kākāpō team know all the signs are good for a big kākāpō breeding season - the question is exactly how big and when will it start? Part 2 of Voice of the Kākāpō.

Voice of the Kākāpō 1: Kākāpō - night parrot

February 25th, 2020


The kākāpō is a giant flightless parrot whose fortunes are tied to the rimu tree and to a dedicated team of rangers from the Department of Conservation.

What we do during an earthquake & why it matters

February 20th, 2020


Official advice in an earthquake quake is to 'drop, cover, hold.' But is this what we actually do? And what happens if we do something else?

Our Changing World for 20 February 2020

February 20th, 2020


Social scientist David Johnston investigates the way people behave during and after earthquakes, and what the consequences of their behaviour is.

Using local yeasts to make distinctive NZ beers & wine

February 13th, 2020


Yeast is one of the key ingredients in beer and wine - and local yeasts could add a distinct Kiwi flavour.

Our Changing World for 13 February 2020

February 13th, 2020


Peter Griffin and two Wellington entrepreneurs are in search of local yeasts to impart distinctive NZ flavours to craft beers, and the wine indusry is on a similar hunt.

Psychopathic traits - "everybody has them"

February 6th, 2020


Sonia Sly is in search of psychopaths. Are they born or are they made? What are the traits that a psychopath exhibits? And is everyone a psychopath to some extent?

Our Changing World for 6 February 2020

February 6th, 2020


Sonia Sly is in search of the psychopathic mind with psychology researcher Hedwig Eisenbarth, from Victoria University of Wellington.

The science of wildfires

January 30th, 2020


Bush fires are growing in severity and frequency. William Ray finds out about the latest research into how fires burn and how people react when flames threaten.

Our Changing World for 30 January 2020

January 30th, 2020


Fire researchers from Scion talk about the latest wild fire research that is giving new insights into how fires burn and how people behave when flames threaten.

Rock wren - a little bird in NZ's big mountains

January 23rd, 2020


The tiny rock wren lives year-round in the alpine zone of the South Island mountains and research shows that predator control is important for the …

Our Changing World for 23 January 2020

January 23rd, 2020


The rock wren is a little bird with several big claims to fame. It belongs to an ancient group of birds and is New Zealand's only truly alpine bird.

The significance of statistics

January 16th, 2020


What if there was a magic number that proved you right? There's no such thing, but we do have the p-value which is the probability that your scientific hypothesis is right.

Controver-seas: reservations about marine reserves

January 7th, 2020


Science communication student Amy Archer, from the University of Otago, investigates recommendations from the South-East Marine Protection Forum for marine reserves on the Otago coast.

Zirconium - shape-shifting time capsule

December 22nd, 2019


Zirconium is a shape-shifting tough cookie, that is a tale of gemstones, medical implants and nuclear reactors, says Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 96 of Elemental.

Zinc - more useful than you realise

December 19th, 2019


Zinc is a very useful metal that turns up in everything from sunscreen to paint, & galvanised metals to cereals, as well as brass instruments, …

Origins - the Big Bang, human evolution & Polynesian migrations

December 19th, 2019


Damian Christie is in search of his origins - from the beginning of the universe, to human evolution & Polynesian settlement in the Pacific.

Our Changing World for 19 December 2019

December 19th, 2019


Damian Christie is in search of origin stories - from the beginning of the universe, the earliest humans and the Polynesian settlement in the Pacific.

Yttrium - here's that village Ytterby again

December 15th, 2019


Yttrium is yet another element named after the village of Ytterby and is important in the development of high temperature superconductors, says Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 94 of Elemental.

Ytterbium - yet another element named after Ytterby

December 12th, 2019


Ytterbium is yet another lanthanoid named after the Swedish village of Ytterby, says Prof Allan Blackman in ep 93 of Elemental.

High-rise apartments in earthquake-prone Wellington

December 12th, 2019


Charlie Dreaver investigates the issues around strengthening apartment buildings to make them more resilient to earthquakes.

Our Changing World for 12 December 2019

December 12th, 2019


Charlie Dreaver investigates apartments and earthquake resilience in 'Living the high life on shaky ground' & the chemical element vanadium.

Xenon - a stranger in search of strange particles

December 10th, 2019


Xenon is a noble gas that turns up in various lights, gets used in xenon ion propulsion systems for spacecraft & plays a key role in the search …

Vanadium - Model T Fords, big batteries & sea squirts

December 8th, 2019


Vanadium makes steel stronger & lighter, is being used in what will be the world's largest battery, and sea squirts are full of it, says Prof …

Uranium - first radioactive element to be discovered

December 5th, 2019


Named after the planet Uranus & associated with Hiroshima & nuclear bombs, uranium is the highest-numbered element found naturally in significant quantities on earth, says Prof Allan Blackman in ep 90 of …

Tracking Pacific golden plovers around the world

December 5th, 2019


A satellite tracking programme is revealing, for the first time, where New Zealand's Pacific golden plovers or kuriri migrate to breed.

Our Changing World for 5 December 2019

December 5th, 2019


Miranda shorebird enthusiasts are on the trail of the elusive Pacific golden plover or kuriri.

Tungsten - highest melting point of any metal

December 1st, 2019


Tungsten's very high melting point made it an ideal filament for incandescent light bulbs, & as it is in some enzymes it is the heaviest element …

Titanium - light, strong & quite pretty

November 28th, 2019


Titanium is light, strong, corrosion resistant & is used to repair broken limbs as it is able to get integrated into the bone, says Allan Blackman from AUT speaking from personal experience in ep 88 of Elemental.

A spotlight on NZ lakes - Lakes380 part 2

November 28th, 2019


380 New Zealand lakes are in the spotlight, and Marcus Vandergoes from GNS Science explains what happens to the thousands of sediment cores that will reveal a 1000-year history for each lake.

Our Changing World for 28 November 2019

November 28th, 2019


Sediment cores from the Lakes380 project, which is building a 1000-year history for 10 percent of New Zealand's lakes, are housed at GNS's National Isotope Centre.

Tin - from whistles to organ pipes & anti-fouling paint

November 26th, 2019


The element tin turns up in all sorts of alloys, but tin cans are - mostly - not made from tin, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT, in ep 87 of Elemental.

Thulium - the most laborious of the lanthanoids

November 24th, 2019


Isolating the element thulium was a truly laborious process that took many years, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 86 of Elemental.

Thorium - potential source of cleaner nuclear energy

November 21st, 2019


Named after Thor, the Norse God of Thunder, thorium could provide a cleaner source of nuclear power in the future, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT …

Lakes380 to reveal 1000-year history of lakes - part 1

November 21st, 2019


Susie Wood from the Cawthron Institute says that sediment cores & eDNA will reveal a 1000-year history for 380 NZ lakes.

Our Changing World for 21 November 2019

November 21st, 2019


Susie Wood from the Cawthron Institute talks about Lakes 380, which will reveal a 1000-year history of 10 percent of NZ lakes, plus the element terbium.

Thallium - the poisoner's poison

November 17th, 2019


Thallium is most famous for some infamous poisoned family cases & its appearance in an Agatha Christie novel solved a medical mystery, says Allan …

Terbium - turns up in old TVs & new Euro notes

November 14th, 2019


A discovery from the chemically prolific Swedish village of Ytterby, terbium produced the green on old TV sets & adds security to Euro notes, …

Making Wellington a predator-free city

November 14th, 2019


By the end of this year Predator-Free Wellington hopes that the eastern suburbs on the Miramar Peninsula will be free from rat and stoats.

Our Changing World for 14 November 2019

November 14th, 2019


Predator-free Miramar Peninsula kicked off in the middle of the year and aims to get rid of rats and stoats. It is part of a wider to goal to make …

Tellurium - usually associated with gold

November 10th, 2019


Tellurium is a metalloid often found with gold and the US town Telluride is named after it, says Prof Allan Blackman, in ep 82 of Elemental.

Technetium - the first synthetic element

November 7th, 2019


Technetium was the first element on the periodic table to be synthesised. It is rare, radioactive and has only a few uses, says Prof Allan Blackman in ep 81 of Elemental.

Tracking inner city rats

November 7th, 2019


Victoria University researchers are radio-tracking urban rats in Wellington city suburbs to find out how large their home ranges are, to help improve predator-free trapping efforts.

Our Changing World for 7 November 2019

November 7th, 2019


Radio-tracking urban rats in Wellington city suburbs to find out how large their home ranges are, and the chemical element tantalum.

Tantalum - a tantalising chemical element

November 3rd, 2019


The metal tantalum is usually found with the element niobium, has a very high melting point but is a 'conflict mineral', says Prof Allan Blackman in ep 80 of Elemental.

Sulfur - king of bad smells

October 31st, 2019


Sulfur is responsible for some very bad smells, is the number one industrial chemical and is also an essential element, says Prof Allan Blackman in …

Kākā TV - teaching smart parrots new tricks

October 31st, 2019


Kākā and kea are well-known for being intelligent, and PhD student Daniel Donoghue is interested in how they learn new things.

Our Changing World for 31 October 2019

October 31st, 2019


PhD student Daniel Donoghue is working out whether a video clip can help kaka learn faster.

Strontium - from sensitive teeth toothpaste to nuclear fission

October 27th, 2019


Named after a Scottish town, strontium can be highly radioactive & glow-in-the-dark, but also used in toothpaste, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT, in ep 78 of Elemental.

Sodium - a salt of the earth spectator

October 24th, 2019


Sodium is vital for life & usually found in combinaton with other more interesting elements, says Prof Allan Blackman in ep 77 of Elemental.

Enemy #1 - brown marmorated stink bug

October 24th, 2019


Italy is suffering from a brown marmorated stink bug invasion. Damian Christie heads there to find out what New Zealand learn from their experiences.

Our Changing World for 24 October 2019

October 24th, 2019


Italy is experiencing an invasion of brown marmorated stink bugs that is crippling the fruit industry. What can New Zealand learn from their experience?

Silver - a popular noble metal

October 22nd, 2019


Silver is widely used in jewellery, has interesting light sensitive abilities and has antimicrobial properties, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 76 of Elemental.

Silicon - a ubiquitous part of modern life

October 20th, 2019


Silicon is a blockbuster metalloid with many uses, from glass to computer chips & bathroom sealants, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 75 of Elemental.

Selenium - good reason to eat seafood & Brazil nuts

October 17th, 2019


New Zealand soils lack the vital element selenium, which also used to be important in photocopiers and bathroom plumbing, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 74 of Elemental.

Top award for making a difference in babies' lives

October 17th, 2019


Prof Jane Harding has won New Zealand's top science award, the Rutherford Medal, for ground-breaking research that has improved the lives of countless babies and mothers.

A bridge between science & mātauranga Māori

October 17th, 2019


Dr Ocean Mercier's work bridging the worlds of science and traditional Māori knowledge has been recognised with the 2019 Callaghan Medal for science communication.

Honour a sweet reward for sugar research

October 17th, 2019


Dr Lisa Te Morenga has won the 2019 Hamilton Award for her internationally significant research on sugar and its impacts on health.

Our Changing World for 17 October 2019

October 17th, 2019


New Zealand's 2019 Research Honours winners include Lisa Te Morenga for her work on sugar, Ocean Mercier for science communication and Rutherford Medal winner Jane Harding for work with babies & mothers.

Scandium - the scandal of the scandium cricket bat

October 15th, 2019


Predicted by Mendeleev & useful for alloying with aluminium, scandium was involved in a famous cricket scandal, says AUT's Allan Blackman in ep …

Samarium - magnets for making & listening to music

October 13th, 2019


Samarium magnets are used in headphones & guitar pickups, and samarium was the first element named after a real person, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 72 of Elemental.

Ruthenium - a 'sort of' precious metal

October 10th, 2019


Ruthenium is a 'sort of' precious metal that is a useful catalyst and alloy. It is toxic and smells like ozone, says Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 71 …

Older men lose ability to recognise emotions

October 10th, 2019


University of Otago psychology professor Ted Ruffman says ageing brains means older men become less able to recognise emotions in other people.

Our Changing World for 10 October 2019

October 10th, 2019


A psychology professor talks about men getting older & why they become less able to recognise other's emotions, and the element rubidium.

Rubidium - expensive and not very useful

October 6th, 2019


Rubidium is a reactive metal with few uses, named 'deepest red' due to its beautiful red spectral lines, says Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 70 of …

Rhodium - used in cars, drugs ... and aftershave

October 3rd, 2019


Rhodium is an expensive precious metal that is used in catalytic convertors, to make the Parkinson's drug L-DOPA, create shiny jewellery and add the …

The quest to live forever

October 3rd, 2019


From cutting-edge genetic treatments to computer-brain interfaces that are still in the realm of science fiction, Silicon Valley is on a quest to let us live forever.

Our Changing World for 3 October 2019

October 3rd, 2019


Peter Griffin investigates the ethics and possibilities around achieving immortality, and Allan Blackman looks at the chemical element radium.

Rhenium - has a number of claims to chemical fame

October 1st, 2019


Named after the Rhine river, rhenium is a metal with very high boiling and melting points, and it was the last naturally occuring, non-radioactive element to be discovered, says Prof Allan Blackman in ep 68 of Elemental.

Radon - radioactive basement risk

September 29th, 2019


The radioactive gas radon can be a risk in the basements of stone houses and used to, erroneously, be touted for its health benefits, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 67 of Elemental.

Radium - famous but not very useful

September 26th, 2019


Radium was famously found by the Curies, and was once widely used in face creams, drinks and luminous watch dials, despite being highly radioactive, says Allan Blackman in ep 66 of Elemental.

Our Changing World for 26 September 2019

September 26th, 2019


As the world considers taking more action to combat climate change we revisit Antarctica with the Voice of the Iceberg podcast & hear about protactinium.

Protactinium - a very dull chemical element

September 22nd, 2019


Protactinium is a rare, radioactive element that has no uses and may be the most boring element, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 65 of Elemental.

Promethium - rare and unremarkable

September 19th, 2019


Despite its gruesome mythical name, the radioactive element promethium has no particular claim to fame, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 64 of …

Shaped by the wind

September 19th, 2019


The 20-metre long wind tunnel at the University of Auckland is used to test the aerodynamics of objects as varied as Olympic cyclists and buildings, as well as drones, ancient building designs & tiny gas turbines.

Our Changing World for 19 September 2019

September 19th, 2019


The largest wind tunnel in New Zealand is used to test everything from the effects of turbulence on drones to ancient building designs and tiny gas …

Kākāpō population hits new high of 213 birds

September 18th, 2019


The youngest kākāpō chick has passed 150 days old, bringing the number of living juveniles to 71 and the overall  kākāpō population to 213, in ep 24 …

Praseodymium - a long name but not many uses

September 15th, 2019


Praseodymium is a metal wirh the second longest name on the periodic table and not many uses, says Prof Alan Blackman from AUT in ep 63 of Elemental.

Potassium - a matter of life and death

September 12th, 2019


From levitating burnt buttocks, to excitable nerves and sure-to-rise baking, potassium is highly reactive and vital to life, says Prof Allan Blackman in ep 62 of Elemental.

Green cities of the future - what we can expect in 2050

September 12th, 2019


Better solar panels and efficient carbon capture technology will help shape the impact and look of cities in the future, say MacDiarmid Institute …

Our Changing World for 12 September 2019

September 12th, 2019


MacDiarmid Institute scientists talk about how their work improving solar panel efficiency and developing carbon capture and storage techniques might …

Polonium - few redeeming features

September 8th, 2019


Polonium will be forever linked with the names Curie and Litvinenko and has negligible desirable features, says Prof Allan Blackman in ep 61 of …

Plutonium - nuclear bombs & nuclear power

September 5th, 2019


A radioactive heavyweight associated with nuclear bombs & power, which is powering the Voyager spacecraft, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 60 of Elemental.

The science of toxic algal blooms

September 5th, 2019


Toxic algae expert Jonathan Puddick has a Marsden Grant to find out if toxic cyanobacteria share their toxins with non-toxic species.

Our Changing World for 5 September 2019

September 5th, 2019


Cyanobacteria are responsible for toxic algal blooms in lakes and rivers, and Cawthron Institute scientists are trying to better understand them.

Platinum - another pricey precious metal

September 1st, 2019


Platinum is useful in catalytic convertors, is used to treat testicular cancer and will be useful in hydrogen fuel cells, says Prof Allan Blackman …

Phosphorus - P was discovered in pee

August 29th, 2019


Phosphorus, chemical symbol P, was first isolated as an element from thousands of litres of urine. Also found in guano, aka bird poo. Allan Blackman …

No escape: separating from an abusive partner

August 29th, 2019


New Zealand has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the world, but sociology research shows life post- separation can still leave women …

Our Changing World for 29 August 2019

August 29th, 2019


Research into relationships and their break-ups, and oxygen is very friendly with other chemical elements.

Palladium - cleaning up your car's exhaust

August 25th, 2019


Palladium is a pricey precious metal most commonly used in catalytic convertors on car exhausts, says AUT's Allan Blackman in ep 57 of Elemental.

Oxygen - the friendly element

August 22nd, 2019


Oxygen is very friendly with other chemical elements & very helpful for life on Earth, says Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 56 of Elemental.

Using sound to brew better beer

August 22nd, 2019


What happens if you play a Viennese waltz or death metal to beer as it brews? Experimenting with musical ways of making better beer.

Our Changing World for 22 August 2019

August 22nd, 2019


Does playing different sounds to fermenting yeast change the taste of beer and osmium, the densest chemical element.

Osmium - heavyweight champion of the elements

August 18th, 2019


Osmium is extremely rare and expensive. It is the densest chemical element, rivals diamond as being the least compressible of all known substances & has a distinctive 'pong' according to Allan Blackman in ep 55 of …

Nitrogen - a vital powerhouse

August 15th, 2019


Most important biological molecules contain nitrogen, even though it takes lots of energy to make or break its chemical bonds, says Allan Blackman …

Risky decisions & gambling addiction

August 15th, 2019


Electronic gaming machines, or the pokies, are highly addictive. Sonia Sly investigates why problem gambling develops and how it is associated with other disorders.

Our Changing World for 15 August 2019

August 15th, 2019


Why playing pokie machines can easily lead to a gambling addiction, and the chemical element nickel is in more than just five cent coins.

Niobium - useful at high & low temperatures

August 11th, 2019


Niobium is a metal that is useful at both very high temperatures, as in jet engines, and very low temperatures as a superconductor, says Allan …

Nickel - more than just a 5 cent coin

August 8th, 2019


The chemical element nickel is named after a German word for Satan or the Devil, but nickel is now more usually thought of as a North American five cent piece, says Allan Blackman in ep 52 of Elemental.

Detector Gadget the conservation dog

August 8th, 2019


Detector Gadget is a dog with a job. She is a conservation dog trained by her handler Sandy King to sniff out rodents on predator-free islands.

Our Changing World for 8 August 2019

August 8th, 2019


Gadget is a conservation detector dog, trained to sniff out rats, and the chemical element neon is not just found in neon signs.

Kākāpō chicks growing up

August 5th, 2019


The kākāpō chicks are graduating to being juveniles and only seven birds are still sick with aspergillosis, in ep 23 of the Kākāpō Files.

Neon - the red of neon lights

August 4th, 2019


There are no known compounds of the noble gas neon, which does however produce the brilliant crimson of red - and only red - neon lights. Ep 51 of Elemental with Prof Allan Blackman from AUT.

Neodymium - the secret behind supermagnets

August 1st, 2019


Neodydmium magnets include the strongest permanent magnets known and are found in devices like speakers & headphones, says chemistry professor Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 50 of Elemental.

Challenging gender norms & the threat of female sexuality

August 1st, 2019


Professor Ciara Cremin explores the politics of cross-dressing and gender identity in both her personal and her professional life.

Our Changing World for 1 August 2019

August 1st, 2019


The politics of cross-dressing and gender identity, and the chemical element molybdenum.

Molybdenum - a catalyst at bacterial to industrial scales

July 28th, 2019


Molybdenum has an essential role as a catalyst at microbial and industrial scales and is an important element in enzymes, says Prof Allan Blackman, …

Mercury - mesmerising quicksilver

July 25th, 2019


Mercury is the only metal that is liquid at room temperature and atmospheric pressure, says Allan Blackman in ep 48 of Elemental.

Restoring Fiordland's 'island lifeboats'

July 25th, 2019


The Department of Conservation and volunteer groups, including the Coal Island Trust, are hard at work removing pests such as stoats and deer from …

Our Changing World for 25 July 2019

July 25th, 2019


The Department of Conservation and groups such as the Coal Island Trust are taking pests off Fiordland islands and reintroducing rare species.

Manganese - the 'essential' essential element

July 23rd, 2019


The metal manganese is a vital part of photosynthesis and is found in aluminium drink cans, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 47 of Elemental.

Magnesium - loved by everyone and everything

July 21st, 2019


Magnesium is loved by plants, folk suffering constipation and boy-racers, as Allan Blackman reveals in ep 46 of Elemental.

Lutetium - an obscure Parisian

July 18th, 2019


After a fierce struggle for naming rights, the last lanthanoid element to be discovered was eventually named after Paris, says Allan Blackman in ep 45 of Elemental.

New way to stop unwanted biofouling

July 18th, 2019


Electroclear is a start-up company at the University of Auckland using electric fields to deter small marine organisms from settling on boats and underwater structures.

Our Changing World for 18 July 2019

July 18th, 2019


Chris Walker explains how they plan to use electricity to prevent underwater fouling, and DOC announces the results of kakapo paternity testing.

Kākāpō dads revealed

July 16th, 2019


Paternity testing has revealed who the top kākāpō dads are, as well as the success of the artificial insemination programme, in ep 22 of the Kākāpō Files.

Lithium - a mood enhancing element

July 14th, 2019


Lithium is the lightest metal, and it is used in batteries and for the treatment of bipolar disorder, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 44 of …

Lead - sweet-tasting but deadly

July 11th, 2019


Lead is the element that took down an empire, and its sweet taste belies a metal that is dangerous for human & animal health. All this and more with Prof Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 43 of Elemental.

Children's art - more than just a picture

July 11th, 2019


Prof Harlene Hayne investigates childrens' artworks: are they just a picture or do they offer insights and clues into the kid's emotional world?

Our Changing World for 11 July 2019

July 11th, 2019


What insights can children's drawings give us, and deadly tales from the chemical element lead.

Lanthanum - curious case of a 'lost' element

July 7th, 2019


Despite giving its name to a whole group on the periodic table, chemists can't agree if lanthanum even belongs in that group, says Prof Allan …

Krypton - its name means 'hidden' but it's a real thing

July 4th, 2019


In real life krypton is a noble gas which is commonly used in neon signs and laser light shows, says Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 41 of Elemental.

The science of Matariki

July 4th, 2019


Professor Rangi Mātāmua talks about the 120-year-old book which has preserved his ancestors' knowledge of Māori astronomy.

Our Changing World for 4 July 2019

July 4th, 2019


To mark Matariki, the Māori New Year, we join Dr Rangi Matamua from the University of Waikato to hear about Māori astronomy.

Iron - creator of the modern world

June 30th, 2019


Iron is formed in stars, makes up most of the Earth's core & as a result enables life as we know it to exist, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT, …

Kākāpō waiting game

June 28th, 2019


The kākāpō health crisis is stable, with no further cases of aspergillosis diagnosed, and seven hand-reared chicks have been successfully released in …

Iridium and the end of the dinosaurs

June 27th, 2019


Iridium is the second-densest element on the periodic table and the most erosion-resistant metal. A layer of iridium in rocks marks the demise of the dinosaurs, according to Allan Blackman from AUT, in ep 39 of …

Freshwater fish swim for science

June 27th, 2019


NIWA scientists are putting freshwater fish such as inanga through swimming trials, to find out how they cope with water moving at different speeds.

Our Changing World for 27 June 2019

June 27th, 2019


NIWA is putting freshwater fish through their paces in a swimming test, and the story of indium, the chemical element that is the Queen of the touchscreen.

Iodine - a vital trace element

June 23rd, 2019


A lack of iodine causes goitre, and seafood and iodised salt are good sources of this important trace element, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT, in ep 38 of Elemental.

Indium - Queen of the touchscreen

June 20th, 2019


Indium is a very soft metal, and as indium-tin-oxide it is an indispensable part of the swipeability of touchscreens, says Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 37 of Elemental.

Predator Free NZ - dream or reality?

June 20th, 2019


A panel of five experts debate what it will take to turn the idea of a predator-free New Zealand by 2050 from a dream into a reality.

Our Changing World for 20 June 2019

June 20th, 2019


A panel discussion on 'Predator Free New Zealand - dream or reality' with five experts in pest biology and large scale eradication porjects.

Hydrogen - 'number 1 in the Universe'

June 16th, 2019


Hydrogen is the first element on the periodic table. It is the oldest, lightest and most abundant element in the universe, but on earth it is usually …

Holmium - obscure, but an important surgical laser

June 13th, 2019


Holmium has interesting magnetic properties and is an important part of precise surgical lasers known as the 'Swiss Army knife' of lasers, according …

Our Changing World for 13 June 2019

June 13th, 2019


Behind-the-scenes at Auckland Zoo with sick kākāpō, and the chemical element holmium.

Behind-the-scenes of the kākāpō health crisis

June 12th, 2019


Kākāpō death toll from aspergillosis rises by one to seven, while nine birds have been given a clean bill of health. Sad and positive news from the …

Helium - rare on earth but universally abundant

June 9th, 2019


Helium is the second most abundant element in the universe and possibly the most unreactive element on the periodic table, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT, in ep 34 of Elemental.

Hafnium - helped land the first astronauts on the moon

June 6th, 2019


Hafnium is named after Copenhagen and as it has a very high melting point it was used in the thruster nozzles of the Apollo Lunar modules, according …

Tawaki bust penguin swimming records

June 6th, 2019


Twice a year tawaki or Fiordland crested penguins make migrations of many thousands of kilometres to the south to feed at the Polar Front.

Successful new seabird colony on Matiu Somes Island

June 6th, 2019


Eight years ago volunteers began translocating fluttering shearwater chicks to Wellington's Matiu Somes Island to establish what is now a growing …

Rifleman to royal albatross - a bird atlas for NZ

June 6th, 2019


The NZ bird atlas will be a 5-year project counting common & rare birds from the Kermadecs to the far south.

Our Changing World for 6 June 2019

June 6th, 2019


The NZ Bird Atlas is launched, a successful effort to create a new fluttering shearwater colony, Fiordland's tawaki penguins go for record-breaking …

Gold - a most desirable noble metal

June 2nd, 2019


Gold is highly valued for its colour as well as for being malleable and ductile, and as a noble metal it is unreactive and doesn't rust, says Allan …

Germanium - important in the first transistors

May 30th, 2019


Germanium is a metalloid that was a key element in early transistors and is now used in optical fibres and infrared night vision scopes, says Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 31 of Elemental.

The streams beneath the streets

May 30th, 2019


New research shows Wellington's underground streams are important homes and highways for freshwater fish.

Our Changing World for 30 May 2019

May 30th, 2019


Many of Wellington's streams now run in pipes under the roads, and the aspergillosis crisis in the kakapo population grows.

Kākāpō health concerns continue

May 29th, 2019


The number of cases of aspergillosis in the kākāpō population continues to rise, with 30 birds on the mainland for testing & treatment. The …

Gallium - mysterious case of the disappearing spoon

May 28th, 2019


Gallium is the second element named after France, is a key element in mobile phones & Blu-ray players & melts at body temperature, says Prof Allan Blackman in ep 30 of Elemental.

Gadolinium - plays a key role in MRI scans

May 26th, 2019


Gadolinium has interesting magnetic properties and is used as a contrast agent in MRI scans, according to AUT's Prof Allan Blackman in ep 29 of …

Francium - final naturally-occurring element to be discovered

May 23rd, 2019


Francium was the last naturally-occurring element to be discovered and has never been seen, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 28 Elemental.

The Southland accent - a rolling change

May 23rd, 2019


The Southland accent has a distinctive burr, and new research is revealing how those 'rolled Rs' have changed over time.

Our Changing World for 23 May 2019

May 23rd, 2019


Southlanders are rolling their Rs more - and less - than 100 years ago, and the chemical element fluorine.

Fluorine - the non-stick element

May 19th, 2019


Fluorine is a highly toxic green gas that is the main ingredient in non-stick teflon coatings. In ep 27 of Elemental, Prof Allan Blackman from AUT, says that fluorine has very different properties from fluoride.

Europium - putting the security in the Euro

May 16th, 2019


Europium is named after Europe and is responsible for a forgery-busting aspect of the Euro banknote, reports Prof Allan Blackman in ep 26 of Elemental.

Mystery of the longfin eel's breeding ground

May 16th, 2019


NIWA freshwater ecologists hope sophisticated satellite tags will solve the msytery of where New Zealand's longfin eels go to breed in the Pacific.

Foulden Maar - a 23-million year-old fossil treasure trove

May 16th, 2019


A 23-year million year old volcanic crater in inland Otago that is a treasure trove of exquisiute fossils is facing the threat of being mined for …

Our Changing World for 16 May 2019

May 16th, 2019


NIWA is tagging longfin eels to try and find their mysterious breeding grounds, and Foulden Maar is one of NZ's premier fossil sites.

Worrying times for kākāpō

May 15th, 2019


A spate of kākāpō chicks deaths from a fungal pneumonia caused by aspergillosis has DOC's Kākāpō Recovery Team very worried. Two further adult deaths …

Erbium - through rose-tinted glasses

May 12th, 2019


Erbium is named after a chemically famous Swedish village, and adds a rose-tinted glow to the periodic table, in ep 25 of Elemental with Allan Blackman from AUT.

Dysprosium - hard to get

May 9th, 2019


Dysprosium earned its name by being very hard to separate from other elements and has become very important in electric car motors. Join Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 24 of Elemental.

Kea get a helping hand

May 9th, 2019


The Kea Conservation Trust & the Arthur's Pass Wildlife Trust have combined forces to band kea as part of a citizen science project & are working to make the village a safer place for the curious birds.

Our Changing World for 9 May 2019

May 9th, 2019


The Kea Conservation Trust is working with South Island communities to better understand kea and find ways to keep them out of trouble.

Curium & meitnerium - in honour of two pioneering women

May 7th, 2019


There are only two chemical elements on the periodic table named after women: curium, in honour of Marie & Pierre Curie, & meitnerium after Lise Meitner. Allan Blackman from AUT introduces the women and their …

Copper - essential, in moderation

May 5th, 2019


Copper is a soft metal that is an essential element for enzymes and life, gives octopuses their blue blood and was often used to make coins. Allan Blackman from AUT has the lowdown on copper in ep 22 of Elemental.

Cobalt - goblin of the periodic table

May 2nd, 2019


Famous as the colour of blue glass and important in red blood cells, cobalt can form a permanent magnet and is vital for livestock. Allan Blackman …

Laser scanning crime scenes

May 2nd, 2019


ESR is using a laser to scan crime scenes, allowing police and juries to 'fly through' the scene long after the event.

Our Changing World for 2 May 2019

May 2nd, 2019


ESR is laser scanning crime scenes, and the kakapo breeding has been busy on Anchor Island.

Glad and sad kākāpō tidings

May 1st, 2019


The death of Hoki from a fungal infection brings the number of adult kākāpō to 146, while there are 77 chicks. Ep 17 of the Kākāpō Files includes a …

Chromium - colourful and shiny

April 28th, 2019


Chromium is a transition metal that gives colour to precious jewels, the shine to your car fender and your kitchen bench, but can also be a killer. …

Chlorine - good for health, bad for health

April 25th, 2019


Chlorine is the culprit in the 'case of the exploding trousers'. It is also well-known as a disinfectant and chloride ions are essential for life, …

Lava Lab and drilling into a volcano's magma chamber

April 25th, 2019


University of Canterbury's Lava Lab, plans to drill into a volcano's magma chamber and a Curious Mind volcano drilling game for schools.

Our Changing World for 25 April 2019

April 25th, 2019


University of Canterbury's Lava Lab, plans to drill into a volcano's magma chamber and a Curious Mind volcano drilling game for schools.

Cerium - combustible and confusing

April 21st, 2019


Cerium is the most abundant rare-earth element and pops up in self-cleaning ovens, cigarette lighter flints and spectacle glass. Find out more with Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 18 of Elemental.

Carbon - life & times of the 'king of elements'

April 18th, 2019


Carbon underpins life as we know it, fuels our world and gets its own branch of chemistry, according to AUT professor Allan Blackman, in ep 17 of Elemental.

Finding DNA in fingerprints

April 18th, 2019


A new method of finding DNA in fingerprints could take some of the guesswork out of crime scene analysis.

Our Changing World for 18 April 2019

April 18th, 2019


ESR is finding DNA from fingerprints and the latest kakapo news, brings chick tally to 75 with three still to hatch.

Longest kākāpō breeding season

April 16th, 2019


With 75 living chicks and the final three eggs due to hatch this week, the 2019 kākāpō breeding season is set to be the longest on record. All this & the sex ratio of the first 49 chicks, in ep 16 of the Kākāpō …

Calcium - strength and beauty

April 14th, 2019


Calcium creates objects that are strong and beautiful, from caves, to teeth and bones, and coral reefs. Find out more in ep 16 of Elemental, with …

Caesium - the time-keeper

April 11th, 2019


A second, the basic unit of time, is defined by caesium, which is also useful for dating things. Find out more about caesium's role as a timekeeper, …

How enzymes respond to rising temperatures

April 11th, 2019


Biology professor Vic Arcus is trying to tease out how enzymes are able to speed chemical reactions up.

Our Changing World for 11 April 2019

April 11th, 2019


Research into how enzymes are able to speed up reactions as much as they do, and the chemical element cadmium.

Cadmium - colour and quantum dots

April 7th, 2019


Cadmium has featured in red traffic lights, rechargeable batteries and now has a role in quantum dots, according to Allan Blackman, from AUT, in ep …

Bromine - the colour purple and poison gas

April 4th, 2019


The story of bromine is one of the color purple, the Dead Sea and an early poison gas used in the First World War, says Allan Blackman from AUT, in …

Science of a 'mega mast' & planning wide-scale predator control

April 4th, 2019


This summer has seen a 'mega-mast' mass seeding event in New Zealand's forests and DOC is now planning its largest-ever predator control operation to …

Our Changing World for 4 April 2019

April 4th, 2019


The science of a mega mast year: predicting mass seeding events in New Zealand's forests and how DOC is planning large-scale predator control to save …

Kākāpō chicks still hatching

April 1st, 2019


Most of the 72 kākāpō chicks are thriving in wild nests, the males are winding down their booming, and there are 7 fertile eggs still to hatch, in ep 15 of the Kākāpō Files.

Boron - made by cosmic rays, useful in the kitchen

March 31st, 2019


Made by cosmic rays and supernovae, used in ovenproof cookware, and a key ingredient in the strongest acid ever made. Allan Blackman from AUT explores boron in ep 12 of Elemental.

Bismuth - an unusual heavy metal

March 28th, 2019


Bismuth is a heavy metal that expands when frozen, and can be used to levitate trains and soothe upset guts, as Allan Blackman from AUT explains in episode 11 of Elemental.

Caves reveal past climate change

March 28th, 2019


Caves are a subterranean library of past climate change records, captured as water dripping from above creates flowstones and stalactites.

Our Changing World for 28 March 2019

March 28th, 2019


Caves hold a record of past climate change captured in flow stones, and the synthetic heavyweight elements at the bottom of the periodic table have …

Beryllium - sweet and precious, but deadly

March 24th, 2019


You'll find beryllium in precious jewels and a space telescope mirror, but just don't inhale the dust - all in episode 10 of Elemental, with AUT's Professor Allan Blackman.

Kotahitanga and kākāpō

March 22nd, 2019


Kākāpō chick numbers continue to climb. The latest tally is 64 chicks, including one named Kotahitanga, meaning unity and solidarity. Ep 14 of the …

Berkelium and the synthetic heavyweights

March 21st, 2019


The heaviest elements on the periodic table have only ever existed fleetingly in the lab, so Allan Blackman from AUT has grouped them all together in episode 9 of Elemental.

Our Changing World for 21 March 2019

March 21st, 2019


Barium is a chemical element that hates being on its own, and experts from Orana Park and Auckland Zoo are looking after hand-reared kakapo chicks.

Barium - never found on its own

March 17th, 2019


Barium is never found on its own in nature, as it loves buddying up - but a version of it is found in hospitals. Allan Blackman from AUT reveals barium's secrets in episode 8 of Elemental.

Fat happy kākāpō chicks

March 15th, 2019


Thirty four kākāpō chicks are putting on plenty of weight in wild nests as the rimu fruit ripens, and 23 chicks are also being hand-reared, in episode 13 of the Kākāpō Files.

Astatine - awfully rare

March 14th, 2019


No one has ever seen astatine, which shares the distinction of being one of the rarest naturally-occurring elements on earth. Find out more with Allan Blackman from AUT in episode 7 of Elemental.

Crime-busting software package wins PM's Science Prize

March 14th, 2019


An ESR software package that analyses complex crime scene samples containing DNA from multiple people, has won the 2018 Prime Minister's Science …

We need to talk about climate change, says science prize winner

March 14th, 2019


James Renwick loves talking about the science underlying climate change, and this willingness has won him the 2018 Prime Minister's Science Communication Prize.

Young physicist wins the PM's Future Scientist Prize

March 14th, 2019


Modelling granular materials such as corn and salt has earned Onslow College physics student Finn Messerli the school's third Prime Minister's Future …

Our Changing World for 14 March 2018

March 14th, 2019


The 2018 Prime Minister's Science prizes have gone to crime-busting software, a climate change communicator and a young physicist.

Arsenic - the well-known poison

March 10th, 2019


Arsenic is a well-known killer that was once dubbed 'succession powder'. Join Allan Blackman from AUT in episode 6 of Elemental, a journey through the periodic table.

Argon - every breath you take

March 7th, 2019


Argon is in every breath you take and its inertness is its best feature, as we discover with AUT chemistry professor Allan Blackman, in episode 5 of Elemental.

Bull kelp genes and earthquake uplift - a surprising connection

March 7th, 2019


New research shows that bull kelp along a tectonically uplifted stretch of coast south of Dunedin has a surprisingly different genetic signature to …

Our Changing World for 7 March 2019

March 7th, 2019


We've a story about bull kelp and earthquake uplift for Seaweek, and we meet some volunteer kakapo helpers.

Kākāpō helpers

March 7th, 2019


Volunteers from around the world are helping the kākāpō team, with tasks ranging from feeding birds and people, looking after the power system on …

Antimony - takes lives, saves lives

March 3rd, 2019


Antimony can be used to take lives - and to save lives. Check out episode 4 of Elemental with Professor Allan Blackman from AUT.

Kākāpō rangers

March 1st, 2019


There is a hard-working team of island rangers helping save kākāpō, working day and night, and the chick tally has reached 44, in episode 11 of the Kākāpō Files.

Our Changing World for 28 February 2019

February 28th, 2019


Professor Allan Blackman from AUT explores the chemical elements actinium and americium, and the Kakapo Files podcast catches up with the work of the island rangers.

Americium - a radioactive, domestic do-gooder

February 27th, 2019


Invented during war, radioactive americium has become a bit of a do-gooder that is in most homes. Find out more with AUT's Allan Blackman in episode 3 of Elemental.

Aluminium - light & versatile

February 24th, 2019


Aluminium is a light, well-known metal with lots of useful properties. Join AUT chemistry professor Allan Blackman for episode 2 of Elemental.

Actinium - rare & radioactive

February 21st, 2019


The first alphabetical element in the periodic table is actinium. It is a heavy radioactive element, as we discover in episode 1 of Elemental, with Professor Allan Blackman from AUT.

Plastic pollution in streams - a citizen science effort

February 21st, 2019


NIWA freshwater scientist Amanda Valois is co-opting citizen scientists to work out where plastic rubbish in streams is coming from.

Our Changing World for 21 February 2019

February 21st, 2019


A citizen science project on plastic pollution in streams and flying kākāpō sperm takes to the air.

Flying kākāpō sperm

February 21st, 2019


In a world-first for kākāpō conservation, a drone (nicknamed the 'spermcopter') has flown kākāpō sperm across Whenua Hou / Codfish Island - the Kākāpō Files was there for episode 10.

Tales from the periodic table

February 19th, 2019


In the prequel to Elemental, AUT's Allan Blackman introduces us to Dmitri Mendeleev and chemistry's periodic table of elements.

Fush 'n' chups and the Kiwi accent

February 14th, 2019


The distinctive New Zealand accent and why young women lead the way in the evolution of a uniquely Kiwi way of talking.

Our Changing World for 14 February 2019

February 14th, 2019


The evolution of the Kiwi accent, and many more kakapo eggs and chicks.

On the island

February 11th, 2019


More than 160 kākāpō eggs have been laid and the first 21 chicks have hatched, but there is also news of the first chick death, in episode 9 of the Kākāpō Files.

Archey's frogs thriving in the King Country

February 7th, 2019


The King Country population of the highly threatened Archey's frog is thriving, thanks to years of rat control.

Our Changing World for 7 February 2019

February 7th, 2019


Archey's frogs are thriving thanks to rat control, and the first kakapo chicks have hatched and their mothers are mating again.

Round two begins

February 5th, 2019


The chicks that have hatched are off to Dunedin, the females have started mating again, and there is breeding action on Hauturu, all in episode 8 of the Kākāpō Files.

Squishy drug delivery

January 31st, 2019


An octopus squeezing through a small space and a squishy ball have inspired a new way of delivering drugs through the skin that is being developed at the University of Otago.

Our Changing World for 31 January 2019

January 31st, 2019


How to squish drugs through the skin using nanotechnology, and keeping up with the kakapo.

The chicks are hatching

January 31st, 2019


The first two chicks of the 2019 kākāpō breeding season have hatched and the exciting news keeps coming in, in episode 7 of the Kākāpō Files.

Full House

January 26th, 2019


Forty eight out of fifty kākāpō females on the southern islands have mated, nesting is well underway and the first AI has been carried out, all in episode 6 of the Kākāpō Files.

'Fish ear bones are like a diary'

January 24th, 2019


Fish ear bones are tiny treasure troves of information about a fish's life, its environment and even local weather.

Our Changing World for 24 January 2019

January 24th, 2019


Fish earbones are tiny treasure troves of information about a fish's life and where it lives, and catching up on all the kakapo breeding action in the first month of the Kakapo Files podcast.

Super-studs & hitting the reset button

January 17th, 2019


The most popular kākāpō males will get a chance to do it all over again as the females are encouraged to mate and nest for a second time, in episode …

Our relationship with urban green spaces

January 16th, 2019


Otago University science communication student Karthic Sivanandham investigates urban nature and how we relate to it.

Sounds of science - a new Our Changing World theme

January 14th, 2019


Our brand-new 2019 opening theme is made from 20 eclectic sounds of science & nature that have featured on Our Changing World, ranging from birds to robots.

Action stations

January 10th, 2019


Don't count your kākāpō chicks until they hatch, kākāpō leaky homes and lots more kākāpō sex, all in episode 4 of the Kākāpō Files.

Woof Woof the talking tui

January 9th, 2019


Woof Woof the talking tui inspired University of Otago student Joel Zwartz to find out how birds and people talk.

Busy birds

January 2nd, 2019


Kākāpō breeding action really kicked off on Christmas Eve and in episode 3 of the Kākāpō Files we discover it is in full swing.

Never ask a boy 'why?'

December 27th, 2018


Science communication student Mary Rabbidge takes a look at the brains of teenage boys, to find out why they behave the way they do.

Early birds

December 22nd, 2018


In episode 2 of the Kākāpō Files we find out that when it comes to kākāpō breeding the early birds are, well, very early.

Kākāpō - night parrot

December 21st, 2018


The kākāpō is one of the world's rarest birds, and in the first episode of the Kākāpō Files we learn about the giant flightless parrot's 'love triangle.'

Salps - a surprising jelly-like relative

December 20th, 2018


The 'jelly soup' that many New Zealanders experienced at the beach last summer was caused by blooms of salps.

NZ tree nettle ongaonga could offer pain relief for Guillain-Barré

December 20th, 2018


An accidental encounter with the tree nettle, ongaonga, and some self experimentation may lead to a new pain treatment.

Our Changing World for 20 December 2018

December 20th, 2018


Salps are a little known but important part of the ocean's plankton, and self-experimenting with the painful stinging nettle, ongaonga.

NZ falcons thriving in logged pine plantations

December 13th, 2018


Rare native New Zealand falcons are thriving in some unexpected places, including recently logged pine forests.

Our Changing World for 13 December 2018

December 13th, 2018


Rare native New Zealand falcons are thriving in some unexpected places, including recently logged pine forests.

Muscle wasting and 'skinny fat' in old age

December 6th, 2018


Our muscles lose strength and mass as we age, and old age expert Debra Waters says we should do resistance training so we won't develop sarcopenia.

Place names tell a story about lost species

December 6th, 2018


Place names turn out to be a good record of where plants and animals once occurred and where they have been lost.

Our Changing World for 6 December 2018

December 6th, 2018


Resistance training is the best way to keep muscles strong as we age, and what place names tell us about plants and animals that used to be found there.

Giant willow aphids - a sticky invasive nuisance

November 29th, 2018


Scion entomologists are trialling a parasitic wasp that they hope will control a growing nuisance: the giant willow aphid.

Eavesdropping on noisy seaweeds

November 29th, 2018


Tiny, noisy gas bubbles produced by a tropical seaweed are part of the soundscape of a coral reef.

Our Changing World for 29 November 2018

November 29th, 2018


On the hunt for a way to control giant willow aphids which are a sticky nuisance, and noisy seaweeds on coral reefs.

Our Changing World for 22 November 2018

November 22nd, 2018


The Department of Conservation celebrates 70 years since the momentous rediscovery of takahē in Fiordland with the families of the original discovery party members.

Celebrating 70 years since takahē rediscovery

November 22nd, 2018


The Department of Conservation and special guests celebrate the dramatic rediscovery of the takahē in Fiordland, 70 years ago.

Getting from A to B: research into older drivers

November 15th, 2018


New Zealand has a growing population of older drivers and an important issue is 'when do they give up driving?'

Marsden Medal won by molecular 'discoverer'

November 15th, 2018


Warren Tate has jointly won the 2018 Marsden Medal for a lifetime of molecular discoveries about proteins and the genes that code them.

Award for hands-on microbiology

November 15th, 2018


Judith Bateup has been awarded the Cranwell Medal for science communication, for running hands-on microbiology classes for school students.

Our Changing World for 15 November 2018

November 15th, 2018


Older drivers, and the 2018 winners of the Cranwell and Marsden Awards from the NZ Association of Scientists.

Biggest risk to ageing well is loneliness

November 8th, 2018


Yoram Barak says there are some simple ways of maintaining a healthy brain into old age. Good social relationships are key.

Old ice gives insights into future sea level rise

November 8th, 2018


Melting polar ice will be the biggest contributor to sea level rise in future - but will it come from Greenland or Antarctica?

Our Changing World for 8 November 2018

November 8th, 2018


An expert says loneliness is the biggest risk for brain health, and ice melting in Greenland and Antarctica.

From hills to the sea - a community thinks about freshwater

November 1st, 2018


Te Awaroa o Porirua Whaitua committee is a group of locals thinking about freshwater quality in the Porirua catchment and harbour.

Our Changing World for 1 November 2018

November 1st, 2018


Te Awaroa o Porirua Whaitua committee has been thinking about freshwater in the Porirua catchment and what could be done to improve its health.

A flower map to help NZ beekeepers

October 25th, 2018


A Honey Landscape Map for New Zealand could help beekeepers find the best flower-rich sites for their beehives.

Myrtle rust research

October 25th, 2018


Scientists are working to better understand the invasive plant disease myrtle rust, and how it might impact native plants and ecosystems.

Our Changing World for 25 October 2018

October 25th, 2018


A project to map manuka flowering and help bee keepers pick the best places for their hives, and screening native plants to find resistance to myrtle rust.

Mathematician wins top science award

October 18th, 2018


Rod Downey, a mathematics professor at Victoria University of Wellington, has won New Zealand's top science honour, the Rutherford Medal.

Snapper may be next farmed fish

October 18th, 2018


Maren Wellenreuther, from Plant and Food Research, has won the 2018 Hamilton Award for her work developing snapper as a future aquaculture species.

Using DNA to study human migrations a winner

October 18th, 2018


Lisa Matisoo-Smith, from the University of Otago, has won the 2018 Mason Durie Medal for her work using DNA to understand the migration of people to Aotearoa.

Our Changing World for 18 October 2018

October 18th, 2018


Among the 24 researchers honoured with science awards this year are mathematician Rod Downey, molecular anthropologist Lisa Matisoo-Smith and …

Banding together for banded dotterels

October 11th, 2018


George Hobson is a teenager with a passion for birds - especially the banded dotterels that nest on Eastbourne's beach.

Over-eating might be in the brain

October 11th, 2018


Mei Peng is investigating whether we each have a 'sensory fingerprint' that determines how we react to food.

Our Changing World for 11 October 2018

October 11th, 2018


The seaside community of Eastbourne has banded together to keep an eye on banded dotterels, and the reason we over-eat might be in our brains.

From poo to plastic

October 4th, 2018


Scion scientists are developing ways to safely convert human faecal waste into bioplastic.

Our Changing World for 4 October 2018

October 4th, 2018


Scientists at Scion are developing ways of treating human waste to make it safe, then using it to make bioplastic.

Seabirds at risk from fishing round the globe

September 27th, 2018


Many of New Zealand's threatened seabirds are at danger from fishing across the Pacific.

Melanie Bussey - Concussion on her mind

September 27th, 2018


Melanie Bussey studies concussion in sport, and how the human body reacts to impacts that might cause damage to the brain.

Our Changing World for 27 September 2018

September 27th, 2018


A study into whether getting concussed while playing rugby makes players more likely to get concussion in the future, and trans-Pacific efforts to stop seabirds getting killed by fishing boats.

Winner and losers - native birds in a pest-free sanctuary

September 20th, 2018


Twenty-five years of bird counts have revealed an unexpected consequence to the creation of the predator-free Zealandia Sanctuary.

Wellington's south coast gets a spring clean

September 20th, 2018


Community groups descend on Wellington's south coast each spring to pick up rubbish - including lots of plastic and cigarette butts.

Our Changing World for 20 September 2018

September 20th, 2018


For Conservation Week, the Friends of Taputeranga Marine Reserve celebrate their 10th anniversary by helping with Wellington's annual south coast clean-up, and how native bird numbers in Zealandia have changed over 20 …

History vs science vs religion

September 13th, 2018


Scientist Quentin Atkinson has looked at how the structure of Pacific societies determined how quickly they converted to Christianity - but an historian is not so sure of his conclusions.

Our Changing World for 13 September 2018

September 13th, 2018


A scientist and a historian debate the role of science in determining how quickly different Pacific societies converted to Christianity in historic …

Gaming the physio

September 6th, 2018


Wellington company Swibo is making physiotherapy exercises more interesting using video games, mobile phones and balance boards.

3D printing - the future is 4D

September 6th, 2018


3D and 4D printing could be a nimble tool for New Zealand manufacturers that also uses wood-based bioplastics.

Our Changing World for 6 September 2018

September 6th, 2018


Smart phones, video games and balance boards are making physiotherapy exercises more exciting, and 3D and 4D printing offer interesting possibilities for small manufacturers.

Urban bats: Long-tailed bats thriving in Hamilton

August 30th, 2018


Long-tailed bats are thriving in gullies and bush along the Waikato River, where it flows through central Hamilton.

Our Changing World for 30 August 2018

August 30th, 2018


Long-tailed bats are thriving in gullies and bush along the Waikato River, where it flows through central Hamilton.

Ageing muscles - use them or lose them

August 23rd, 2018


Research shows that nerves play a surprisingly important role in muscle loss, while exercise helps us maintain our strength.

Putting cardboard boxes to the test

August 23rd, 2018


Cardboard boxes are the workhorse of the economy, and Scion has a special facility to test them and better understand why they sometimes fail.

Our Changing World for 23 August 2018

August 23rd, 2018


Research into ageing muscles show that nerves play an important role and exercise is protective, and a special facility to test the strength of …

Precious field books part of enormous heritage project

August 16th, 2018


Field notebooks from some of NZ's first surveyors are among 1000s of historic documents digitised by LINZ in one of the world's largest cultural …

Our Changing World for 16 August 2018

August 16th, 2018


LINZ has almost completed one of the largest cultural heritage archiving projects in the world, of notebooks and plans that underpin property …

Can an introduced parasitic wasp control a nuisance beetle?

August 9th, 2018


After years of trials, Scion entomologists believe New Zealand could safely introduce a parasitic wasp to control the eucalyptus tortoise beetle.

Micro-fossils, filing cabinets and past climate change

August 9th, 2018


Tiny grains of fossil pollen are helping GNS Science researchers piece together the big picture of past environments.

Our Changing World for 9 August 2018

August 9th, 2018


Finding out if an introduced parasitic wasp could be a biocontrol agent for a pest of eucalpytus trees, and how fossil pollen can tell us about lost …

Mussels on the move

August 2nd, 2018


Kākahi or freshwater mussels are being moved to Zealandia sanctuary in Wellington as part of an ambitious restoration project.

Te Papa responds to scientists' concerns about collections

August 2nd, 2018


Te Papa says it will undertake an internal review of the way it manages its collections, and an international external review of its natural history …

Eco-friendly wood glue

August 2nd, 2018


Scion has developed a bio-based adhesive to make fibreboard that is environmentally friendly and even compostable.

Our Changing World for 2 August 2018

August 2nd, 2018


Kākahi or freshwater mussels on the move to Zealandia, Scion's green bio-based wood adhesive, and Te Papa announces international review of its …

DNA in fossil bone fragments reveals NZ's lost world

July 26th, 2018


Bags of bone fragments are casting a genetic spotlight on New Zealand's lost natural world, and on the impact of early Polynesians on its biota.

Scientist worried for Te Papa's biological collections

July 26th, 2018


A world-renowned fossil expert is concerned about the impact of a restructure at Te Papa on its important natural history collections.

Our Changing World for 26 July 2018

July 26th, 2018


Ancient e-DNA from bits of old bones is shedding new light on New Zealand's "lost world" and the impact of humans, and concerns about Te Papa's …

Robots - Nao and the Bristlebots

July 19th, 2018


A humanoid robot called Nao, and swarms of bio-inspired little robots that behave like social insects, wowed crowds at Dunedin's International Science Festival.

Biofuels made from sawdust

July 19th, 2018


Researchers say that liquid fuels made from sawdust from specially planted plantation trees could be a winner in New Zealand.

Our Changing World for 19 July 2018

July 19th, 2018


A humanoid robot called Nao and tiny bristlebot robots charmed kids at the International Science Festival in Dunedin, and using pyrolosis to make …

Southern right whales returning to mainland New Zealand

July 12th, 2018


A southern right whale in Wellington Harbour is a sign that the species is recovering after being hunted nearly to extinction.

Bringing the river into the lab

July 12th, 2018


In the Water Engineering Laboratory at the University of Auckland, engineers are recreating rivers, to understand how water flows, and how floods behave.

Our Changing World for 12 July 2018

July 12th, 2018


Whale expert Will Rayment tells us all about New Zealand's southern right whales, and engineers are studying the flow of rivers in the University of Auckland's Water Engineering Laboratory.

Hunt for kauri that are resistant to kauri dieback disease

July 5th, 2018


Researchers at Scion hope that thousands of tiny kauri seedlings might include some that are resistant to kauri dieback disease.

Native birds doing well in Wellington

July 5th, 2018


A renaissance in native forest bird numbers in the capital is helped by urban bush and Predator Free Wellington efforts.

Our Changing World for 5 July 2018

July 5th, 2018


Testing kauri seedlings to find individual trees that might be resistant to kauri dieback disease, and native forest birds are thriving in Wellington city parks and reserves.

Mapping the world's sea floor

June 28th, 2018


Seabed 2030 is an international collaboration to map the world's sea floor, much of which is unmapped.

Asteroids, dinosaurs and international tension

June 28th, 2018


Astronomer Duncan Steel is an expert in detecting asteroids and comets, and in defending the earth from potential impacts.

Our Changing World for 28 June 2018

June 28th, 2018


Seabed 2030 is an ambitious international collaboration to map the world's sea floor, and astronomer Duncan Steel is concerned asbout asteroids …

Antarctica's ice is melting

June 21st, 2018


Research reveals new evidence about past, present and future impacts of climate change on Antarctica's ice.

Wasp genomes revealed

June 21st, 2018


Wasps are a big problem in New Zealand, and scientists hope that knowing the genomes of common and German wasps will help them find novel ways of …

Our Changing World for 21 June 2018

June 21st, 2018


Antarctic experts discuss the latest research on how fast Antarctic ice is melting and why it matters, and sequencing the genomes of introduced common and German wasps.

Havre - the world's largest deep ocean volcanic eruption

June 14th, 2018


Geologists have discovered that the 2012 eruption of Havre volcano, on the Kermadec Arc, was the world's largest submarine volcanic eruption.

Finding new drugs from the sea

June 14th, 2018


Michele Prinsep is a 'drug hunter' - she looks for potential pharmaceuticals in marine organisms and cyanobacteria.

Our Changing World for 14 June 2018

June 14th, 2018


A chemist talks about sourcing potential new drugs from marine creatures, and understanding the largest deep-ocean volcanic eruption ever documented.

Edible bioplastic - food wrap of the future?

June 7th, 2018


University of Otago researchers are developing the ultimate heat-and-eat: an edible bioplastic food wrap, using waste from the corn and shellfish …

Exercise and a special video game boost kids' brains

June 7th, 2018


Psychologist David Moreau is working with New Zealand schools to find out if exercise combined with a computer game aimed at brain training could …

Our Changing World for 7 June 2018

June 7th, 2018


Combining high intensity exercise with a computer game-based brain training is having good results for struggling school kids, and developing an …

A citizens' jury on euthanasia

May 24th, 2018


Fifteen Dunedin citizens took part in a University of Otago citizens' jury to discuss legalising euthanasia and assisted dying.

Our Changing World for 24 May 2018

May 24th, 2018


Fifteen Dunedin citizens took part in a University of Otago citizen jury to discuss legalising euthanasia and assisted dying.

Mistletoe rescue mission

May 17th, 2018


Botanists have banded together to bring native mistletoes back to Wellington city, using seeds rescued from a plant growing on a dying tree.

Understanding New Zealand's largest fault

May 17th, 2018


New Zealand's first underwater observatories are recording the 'creaks and groans' of our largest fault to better understand slow-slip earthquakes.

Our Changing World for 17 May 2018

May 17th, 2018


A rescue mission to return mistletoe to Wellington city, and a research trip to study the Hikurangi subduction zone, home to some of New Zealand's largest earthquakes.

World-first probe into an active submarine volcano

May 10th, 2018


Geologists on board the JOIDES Resolution research ship are attempting to drill into the flanks of the submarine hydrothermal Brothers Volcano.

Book charts changing face of Otago Peninsula

May 10th, 2018


An environmental historian charts the transformation of the Otago Peninsula from rich forest to grassy pasture in the book "The Face of Nature."

Our Changing World for 10 May 2018

May 10th, 2018


The book "The Face of Nature" is an environmental history of the Otago Peninsula, and a world first attempt to drill into an active submarine volcano.

'My favourite insect is a cicada'

May 3rd, 2018


Olly Hills, aged 11, is a big fan of insects, and author of the field guide 'Cicadas of New Zealand.'

Quit or persist - it's all in the brain

May 3rd, 2018


Blake Porter is investigating what happens in our brain when we decide to quit something that is good for us or persist with something that is bad us.

Our Changing World for 3 May 2018

May 3rd, 2018


The author of the field guide 'Cicadas of New Zealand' is 11-year-old Olly Hills, and Blake Porter is investigating the brain and what makes us quit …

Caring for waterlogged waka

April 26th, 2018


Dilys Johns is an archaeologist who specialises in conserving waterlogged Māori taonga such as ancient waka and wooden gardening tools.

Wallaby vs shark: a toothy quirk of nature

April 26th, 2018


One of Australia's smallest wallabies - the nabarlek - shares an unlikely dental similarity with sharks: the ability to continually replace its teeth.

Our Changing World for 26 April 2018

April 26th, 2018


Dilys Johns specialises in conserving waterlogged archaeological items such as wooden waka and early Maori gardening tools, and the nabarlek is an …

Myrtle rust - its impact in NZ and Australia

April 19th, 2018


Myrtle rust is having a profound impact on native plants and ecosystems in Australia - what will its effect be on New Zealand forests?

Our Changing World for Thursday 19 April

April 19th, 2018


It's been a year since myrtle rust arrived in New Zealand - what impact is is having, and what we can learn from Australia and Hawaii's experiences with this invasive plant killer.

Seabird hotspot - the Poor Knights Islands

April 12th, 2018


A team of seabird experts experience the joys and challenges of counting Buller's shearwaters on the predator-free Poor Knights Islands.

Our Changing World for 12 April 2018

April 12th, 2018


The Northern New Zealand Seabird Trust is shining a spotlight on seabird diversity in the Hauraki Gulf - including Buller's shearwaters that breed on …

N=1 - an artist's microbiome

April 5th, 2018


A 46-year-old art work has revealed how the gut microbiome of artist Billy Apple has changed during his adult life.

Sea lion whiskers reveal marine secrets

April 5th, 2018


Tiny samples collected from the teeth, tissue and even whiskers of marine animals can reveal where they feed and travel.

Our Changing World for 5 April 2018

April 5th, 2018


Stable isotopes found in teeth, fur and even whiskers can show where marine animals feed, and a 46-year-old art work has revealed how the gut …

Dragonflies - masters of flight

March 29th, 2018


Dragonflies are precision flying machines, and Ruary Mackenzie Dodds says they are an indicator of clean water.

Superconductor sandwiches

March 29th, 2018


High temperature superconductor research in New Zealand includes new nano-scale superconductor sandwiches.

Our Changing World for 29 March 2018

March 29th, 2018


Dragonflies are exquisite flying machines with an ancient history, and high temperature superconductor research that includes superconductor sandwiches.

Spy in the water - Wellington Harbour's smart buoy

March 22nd, 2018


A smart buoy in Wellington harbour is phoning in information about sea conditions and how muddy water from the Hutt River moves around the harbour.

Meet Lusius malfoyi, a parasitoid wasp

March 22nd, 2018


Tom Saunders has named a native parasitoid wasp after a Harry Potter character, in a bid to improve the reputation of these 'good' wasps.

Our Changing World for 22 March 2018

March 22nd, 2018


Among New Zealand's many species of parasitoid wasps is one named after a Harry Potter character, and information from a smart buoy in Wellington harbour is now freely available online.

Turnaround in takahē's fortunes

March 15th, 2018


An expedition into Fiordland reveals that takahē numbers are on the rise, and there will soon be a new takahē population in Northwest Nelson.

Glaciers in trouble after marine heatwave

March 15th, 2018


An aerial survey reveals this summer's marine heatwave in the Tasman Sea was bad news for glaciers in the Southern Alps.

Our Changing World for 15 March 2018

March 15th, 2018


The good news is that takahē numbers are on the rise, while a marine heatwave has been bad news for South Island glaciers.

Tipping Points and the health of estuaries

March 8th, 2018


A nationwide experiment is investigating how estuaries might suddenly 'tip' as a result of increasing nutrients and sediments.

Our Changing World for 8 March 2018

March 8th, 2018


The nationwide Tipping Points project is looking at how small changes in the amount of nutrients and sediments in estuaries could lead to big changes.

Dogs that sniff out pest fish

March 1st, 2018


Waikato University researchers are training pet dogs to sniff out pest fish such as koi carp.

Our Changing World for 1 March 2018

March 1st, 2018


Waikato University researchers are training pet dogs to sniff out pest fish that are a problem in Waikato lakes and rivers.

Beyond face value: re-shaping our thinking about diversity

February 22nd, 2018


As ethnic and cultural diversity increases in New Zealand, psychologists discuss their work and the challenges posed by this increasing diversity.

Our Changing World for 22 February 2018

February 22nd, 2018


Sonia Sly meets three psychologists investigating aspects of cultrual diversity,and discovers that we should look for commonalities rather than …

Science to solve kiwifruit crisis a winner

February 15th, 2018


A 100-strong team of researchers from Plant and Food Research have won the 2017 Prime Minister's Science Prize for using science to solve the …

Science speed dating leads to top award

February 15th, 2018


A four minute conversation led to a revolutionary tooth decay treatment using silver nanoparticles and a PM's science award for the chemist who …

Science film-maker a winner

February 15th, 2018


Film-maker Damian Christie has won the 2017 Prime Minister's Science Communication Prize to help tell science stories on film.

Our Changing World for 15 February 2018

February 15th, 2018


The 2017 Prime Minister's Science Prizes have been awarded to Plant and Food Research for their work on kiwifruit Psa, a chemist using silver nanoparticles to stop tooth decay, and a science film-maker.

Safe houses for Kaikoura's baby paua

February 8th, 2018


NIWA is testing small 'safe houses' for baby paua, with the idea of boosting the population on the earthquake-damaged  Kaikōura coast.

Using light to reveal hidden molecular information

February 8th, 2018


Michél Nieuwoudt uses light to uncover hidden information in different kinds of material, from milk to works of art.

Our Changing World for 8 February 2018

February 8th, 2018


Designing and testing concrete 'safe houses' for baby paua, and using light to detect art forgeries and the properties of milk.

Chemical camouflage - putting predators off the scent

February 1st, 2018


Could chemical camouflage save rare birds by putting predators off the scent? Ecologists are testing the idea in the Mackenzie Basin.

Discovered - the 'missing' male stick insect

February 1st, 2018


A male stick insect belonging to an all female group of New Zealand stick insects has been discovered for the first time - in the UK.

Our Changing World for 1 February 2018

February 1st, 2018


Chemical camouflage is put to the test in the Mckenzie Basin to see if it can protect nesting shore birds from predators, and the discovery of the …

Clever canines

January 25th, 2018


How do dogs think? Do they experience emotions such as jealousy? The Clever Canine Lab at the University of Auckland is investigating.

Buildings that better survive earthquakes

January 25th, 2018


Engineer Geoff Rodgers is designing a new generation of low-damage buildings that move in an earthquake and remain useable afterwards.

Our Changing World for 25 January 2018

January 25th, 2018


Testing dogs to find out how smart they are and how they think, and designing low-damage buildings that move during an earthquake and remain useable.

Te Waikoropupu Springs - what's their value?

January 16th, 2018


Science communication student Lucy Coyle, from the University of Otago, finds out about the freshwater and cultural values of Pupu Springs in Golden …

The rabbit problem

January 8th, 2018


Science communication student Berenice Mathieu, from the University of Otago, finds out about moves to introduce a more virulent strain of RHD or …

Seals- friend or foe?

January 2nd, 2018


Science communication student Lana Young, from the University of Otago, talks to fishers and a marine mammal scientist about the rising number of seals and sea lions.

What's happening with our freshwater?

December 26th, 2017


Science communication student Tegan Good, from the University of Otago, takes a look a freshwater issues in New Zealand.

What do we do? Agriculture in the age of synthetic food

December 21st, 2017


If technologies like meat grown from stem cells and milk grown in vats take off, how will the New Zealand agricultural sector respond?

Good news for Kaikōura's Hutton shearwaters

December 21st, 2017


The first ground visit to the Hutton's shearwater breeding colony since the November 2017 Kaikōura earthquake shows damage not as bad as feared.

Our Changing World for 21 December 2017

December 21st, 2017


Good news about Hutton's shearwaters in the wake of the 2017 Kaikoura earthquake, and a special feature on how New Zealand agriculture could respond …

The sobering science of drinking and driving

December 14th, 2017


Waikato University research shows that drinking socially makes it harder to tell when you're too drunk to drive - and even a low blood alcohol level …

Scientific curiosity and Koraunui School

December 14th, 2017


Scientific curiosity was the order of the day when Koraunui School, in the Hutt Valley, hosted its recent Bioblitz.

Our Changing World for 14 December 2017

December 14th, 2017


Some sobering science advice about why drinking alcohol and driving cars don't go together well, and Koraunui School gets curious about their …

Tawaki - the mysterious forest penguin

December 7th, 2017


Scientists are discovering that tawaki, or Fiordland crested penguins, living in MIlford Sound are thriving - and breaking all the penguin rules.

Our Changing World for 7 December 2017

December 7th, 2017


Penguin researchers head to Fiordland's forests to study the mysterious tawaki or Fiordland crested penguin.

Urban lizards

November 30th, 2017


A hunt for urban lizards in New Zealand involves more than a thousand buckets as well as citizen scientists.

An atlas of coronary arteries

November 30th, 2017


An atlas containing hundreds of coronary arteries mapped using MRI scans will help improve heart health.

Our Changing World for 30 November 2017

November 30th, 2017


A project to map coronary arteries in healthy and sick people, and on the hunt for lizards in city parks and gardens.

New Zealand in space

November 23rd, 2017


Kiwi scientists and entrepreneurs talk about their plans to put satellites and rockets into space, and the role of NZ radio telescopes in precision …

Our Changing World for 23 November 2017

November 23rd, 2017


Kiwi scientists and entrepreneurs talk about putting rockets and satellites into space, and using data from NZ's two radio telescopes.

Protecting nature on private land

November 16th, 2017


The Queen Elizabeth II National Trust is celebrating 40 years of helping landowners protect 4,400 pieces of land with high conservation values

The 1769 Garden

November 16th, 2017


The 1769 Garden commemorates the first encounter between Maori and the crew of the Endeavour, under the command of Captain James Cook, at Gisborne in October 1769.

Our Changing World for 16 November 2017

November 16th, 2017


Protecting nature on private land with the QEII Trust, and creating the 1769 Garden to mark the first encounter between Maori and Captain Cook.

Our Changing World for 9 November 2017

November 9th, 2017


New discoveries from New Zealand's ancient past, and mapping the gut's electrical signals.

Mapping the gut

November 9th, 2017


A flexible tool to measure electrical signals in our gut could detect serious medical conditions.

The New Zealand fossil revolution

November 9th, 2017


In the last few years there's been a revolution in our understanding of New Zealand's ancient animals - there were once crocodiles as well as small …

Big award for studying small lake critters

November 2nd, 2017


The 2017 Marsden Medal is awarded to Carolyn Burns for her internationally renowned research into New Zealand's deep southern lakes.

Using noble metals to kill cancer

November 2nd, 2017


The winner of the 2017 Hill Tinsley Medal is developing anti-cancer drugs based on noble metals such as platinum and iridium.

The physics of blood spatter

November 2nd, 2017


Engineer Mark Jermy has been helping forensics investigators understand the science behind blood spatter evidence at crime scenes.

Our Changing World for 2 November 2017

November 2nd, 2017


Engineer looks at the physics of blood splatter, chemist wins 2017 Hill Tinsley Award for new drugs made with metals, and freshwater biologist wins …

Inherited heart disease: you're not doomed by your DNA

October 26th, 2017


Anna Pilbrow says that a complex interaction of genetic factors underpin our risk of getting heart disease - and leading a healhy lifestyle lowers the risk.

Understanding our immune system

October 26th, 2017


Bruce Beutler received the 2011 Nobel Prize for discoveries about the innate immune system in mammals.

It's a microbial world

October 26th, 2017


Science writer Ed Yong investigates the complex world of microbes in his book "I Contain Multitudes."

Touchstone - a community project for Lake Wanaka

October 19th, 2017


Lake swimmers, the local primary school and neighbouring farmers have joined together to look after water quality in Lake Wanaka.

Top science award goes to a 'supervolcanologist'

October 12th, 2017


The 2017 Rutherford Prize has been awarded to Victoria University of Wellington geologist Colin Wilson for his work on supervolcanoes such as Taupo.

ECLIPSE - getting ready for a supervolcano eruption

October 12th, 2017


An $8-million research programme to better understand the Taupo supervolcano and prepare the community for an eruption has just begun.

Drug discoverer recognised with a top science honour

October 12th, 2017


The 2017 MacDiarmid Medal has been awarded to chemist Peter Tyler, for his work designing and creating new drugs to treat diseases such as cancer.

Moa footprints - a rocky tale

October 5th, 2017


After twenty years of puzzling, geologist Bruce Hayward reckons he has identified some mysterious patterns in a west Auckland roadside cutting as moa …

Designing nanoparticles to move medication around your body

October 5th, 2017


Arlene McDowell is designing nanoparticles that will hold medication and deliver it exactly to its intended destination in the body.

Celebrating the night sky on Great Barrier Island

September 28th, 2017


Great Barrier Island has become the world's third International Dark Sky Sanctuary, in recognition of its outstanding star-filled night skies.

SOFIA - a flying telescope with a unique view of space

September 21st, 2017


NASA's SOFIA observatory is a 2.5m telescope mounted in the back of a plane. It observes the birth and death of stars and the supermassive black hole …

Bacteria versus virus at Queenstown Research Week

September 14th, 2017


The arms race between the immune systems of bacteria and the viruses - bacteriophages - that attack them, was a feature of this year's Queenstown Research Week.

Bringing Kirk's tree daisy back to Wellington

September 7th, 2017


Kohurangi, or Kirk's tree daisy, is rare in the Wellington region, but botanists are taking on the challenge of bringing it back to the city.

The Science Of... Vitamin C

August 26th, 2017


What is vitamin C and why do we need it? Which foods have the most vitamin C? Should we pop pills when we think we're getting a cold, or are we just …

The Science of... Virtual Reality

August 19th, 2017


We go beyond gaming to explore how VR works, what it's being used for (from treating a fear of spiders, to training young doctors) and ask if it's yet making any compelling case to be in every home.

The Science of...

August 15th, 2017


Alison Ballance from Our Changing World and the team from This Way Up have been working on a new podcast series called The Science Of. They tell us what's in store, including details of their first episode, The Science …

The Science of... Sweat

August 12th, 2017


Simon Morton and Alison Ballance present a three-part series exploring the science of sweat, virtual reality and Vitamin C. This week, the function …

Micronutrients and their link to mental health

August 10th, 2017


Julia Rucklidge is investigating whether micronutrients can relieve stress and anxiety, help people quit smoking and treat ADHD.

Solving the mystery of the Kaikōura bubbles

August 3rd, 2017


Mysterious bubbles and warm water, known as Hope Springs, which appeared after the Kaikōura earthquake, appear to be coming from deep in the earth's crust.

The low-down on electric cars in New Zealand

August 3rd, 2017


Flip the Fleet is a citizen science project looking at the performance of electric vehicles under New Zealand conditions.

The future of robots is soft

July 27th, 2017


Trevor the caterpillar and Julie the dragonfly are soft robots that can walk and flap using electricity that powers artificial muscles, without a …

Filtering distraction - key to success

July 27th, 2017


Neuropsycholgist Paul Corballis talks about the way our brains perceive the world, how we recognise faces, and whether or not we can really …

A genetic helping hand for conservation

July 20th, 2017


Four scientists talk about genetics and how it can help in the conservation of rare birds such as little spotted kiwi.

Canine DNA and 'Darwin's Dogs'

July 13th, 2017


Kiwi canine DNA has been collected as part of a global project, called Darwin's Dogs, investigating the genes behind the personalities of dogs.

Migraines - much more than a headache

July 13th, 2017


Migraines are debilitating headaches, and Debbie Hay says that new drugs targeting the pain hormone CGRP are showing lots of promise.

The science of a water aquifer

July 6th, 2017


What is the Waiwhetu aquifer, where does its water come from, and what does it mean for the Wellington region - Alison Ballance investigates.

Southern island sanctuary for rare birds

June 29th, 2017


Putauhinu, one of the southern Tītī Islands, has become a remarkable rat-free sanctuary, gifting rare land birds to other islands.

Honey, I shrunk the lab

June 22nd, 2017


A lab-on-a-chip developed at the University of Canterbury is allowing biologists to measure the minute force generated by a single fungal thread.

Insects remarkably preserved in New Zealand amber

June 15th, 2017


Amber is beautiful to look at - and it is also an incredible window into the prehistoric past.

Will your roof withstand flying volcanic rocks?

June 15th, 2017


Geologists are using a vertical cannon to test how different roofing materials - and even hard hats - can withstand the impact of flying volcanic …

Kauri dieback and how microbes sense the world

June 8th, 2017


Microbes, such as the fungi-like kauri dieback disease, use chemicals to sense their world - and understanding this might help us to develop new treatments.

Engineering better stem cells

June 8th, 2017


Stem cells have the potential to cure many diseases, but first, we need to find the best ways of growing them in the lab - and their physical environment may be key.

The looming crisis of antimicrobial resistance

June 1st, 2017


As more microbes develop resistance to every kind of antimicrobial treatment, the threat of dying from even common infectious diseases is increasing …

Volcanic eruptions and the Ash Lab

May 25th, 2017


The Ash Lab at the University of Canterbury is where geologists test the impact of volcanic ash on all sorts of vital infrastructure.

Fructose and the diabetic heart

May 25th, 2017


Kim Mellor suspects that fructose, as well as glucose, is causing diabetic heart disease and she is looking at its effect on heart cells and heart muscle.

Noise and young ears

May 18th, 2017


Massey University acoustics researchers have been working with childcare centres that are keen to lower noise levels and protect the hearing of young children.

Proteins and their role in antibiotic resistance

May 18th, 2017


Some antibiotics are designed to target the ribosomes of bacteria and disrupt the production of proteins - so how do the bacteria evolve antibiotic …

Complexity - six months of Kaikōura earthquake science

May 11th, 2017


Six months after the destructive magnitude 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake, scientists are still unravelling what happened during this very complex seismic event.

Science meets comedy

May 11th, 2017


Tim Muller is a scientist by day and a comedian by night. He brings his one-man science-themed show to the NZ International Comedy Festival.

Shedding light on the world of moths

May 4th, 2017


Ahi Pepe | Moth Net is a Te Reo-focused citizen science project involving primary schools collecting information about moths in their neighbourhoods.

We need to talk about gene drives and gene editing

April 27th, 2017


Genetic tools will help New Zealand meets its aim of being Predator Free by 2050 - but we need to understand what they are and have a public …

The Sound Lab

April 20th, 2017


Wyatt Page is concerned that the noisy world we live in and our increasing use of loud headphones is bad for our hearing.

The clover 'dress code'

April 20th, 2017


Understanding the 'dress code' that allows clover plants to recognise friendly nitrogen-fixing bacteria could help us improve farming efficiency.

The Coastwatcher legacy

April 13th, 2017


The Coastwatchers were small groups of men posted to New Zealand's subantarctic islands during the Second World War to watch for enemy shipping. Ian Telfer visits one of their historic huts.

Better bone grafts - using silver

April 13th, 2017


A project to develop and commercialise better bone grafting material using the antibacterial properties of silver nanoparticles is underway at the University of Otago.

Rediscovered - the New Zealand storm petrel

April 6th, 2017


The Northern New Zealand Seabird Trust has been trying to solve the many mysteries of our smallest seabird, the New Zealand storm petrel, which …

Plastic and seabirds: a lethal combination

April 6th, 2017


Matthew Savoca talks about seabirds' fatal attraction to plastic, and how their incredible sense of smell is being fooled by rubbish.

Eavesdropping in Cook Strait

March 30th, 2017


Whales, dolphins, earthquakes and boats are some of the sounds that make the underwater world of Cook Strait a noisy place.

Master listeners

March 30th, 2017


In a democratic society striving to give everyone a voice, have we lost the ability to listen?

Prime Minister's Science Prize 2016 - the Dunedin Study

March 23rd, 2017


The University of Otago team behind the long-running Dunedin Study has won the 2016 Prime Minister's Science Prize.

Prime Minister's Science Communication Prize 2016 - Rebecca Priestley

March 23rd, 2017


A science writer who says that science communication is an important way of enabling democracy, has won the 2016 Prime Minister's Science Media Communication Prize.

Tracking kākāpō the smart way

March 23rd, 2017


Smart electronic transmitters are revolutionising the way Department of Conservation rangers keep track of kākāpō.

Breaking Babel

March 16th, 2017


In a city as culturally diverse as Auckland, how is the Kiwi accent changing and evolving?

Catalyst - from corn to plastic

March 16th, 2017


Chemist Sally Brooker is developing a catalyst that could be used to produce biodegradable plastic from corn.

Reading between the vines

March 9th, 2017


Drones - or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles - can get a bad rap, but they can now generate meaningful data for a range of different industries.

Proof - the physics of creating a gas droplet

March 9th, 2017


New Zealand physicists developed a theory about ultra cold gas 'droplets' that was proved in an experiment in Germany.

Haven - the story of a tropical seabird island

March 2nd, 2017


A visit to tropical Cousin Island in the Seychelles reveals that predator-free islands the world over are a haven for wildlife.

Voice of the Iceberg 1: Discovery

February 26th, 2017


Artist Joseph Michael and a team of eight film-makers head to Antarctica on a yacht, to record the sights and sounds of icebergs.

The unusual case of the 'growing' glaciers

February 23rd, 2017


Glaciers around the world are melting and shrinking, but glaciologists have been investigating why some New Zealand glaciers bucked the trend between …

Real or invisible threat?

February 23rd, 2017


Sonia Sly talks with psychologist Gwenda Willis about what drives our fears when confronted with the idea of living next door to a sex offender.

Uncovering the past

February 16th, 2017


Archaeologists have been working alongside the Milton community to excavate an old Anglican cemetery, to find 'lost burials' and restore the stories …

Predator-free in the city

February 9th, 2017


Wellington's Polhill Restoration Project volunteers are looking after rare birds such as nesting kaka and tieke that are spilling into the 'halo' …

Maximising our children's potential

February 2nd, 2017


What sorts of hopes and dreams do parents have for their children, and do all Kiwi kids have the same opportunities to maximise their potential.

Winners or losers? Antarctic starfish and climate change

January 26th, 2017


Warming temperatures and increasing ocean acidity are looming climate change threats in Antarctica - and scientists are looking at their effect on Antarctic starfish.

Quantum mechanics - do deep-sea bacteria do it?

January 26th, 2017


Quantum mechanics describes how our universe behaves at an atomic level. It involves waves and particles, and deep-sea bacteria use it to harvest …

Pharmac and its role in making drugs available

January 17th, 2017


Science communication student Garrett Chin talks with doctors and a health economist about the challenges that Pharmac faces in buying drugs, and what happens when new but expensvie drugs become available.

Museums and their role in modern society

January 16th, 2017


Emma Hanisch, a student at the University of Otago, loves museums - and she wonders what needs to be done to keep them relevant and exciting.

Did early Polynesians sail to the Americas?

January 10th, 2017


Science communications student Ellen Rykers ponders the Polynesians and their journeys around the Pacific, wondering where they might have got to.

Hedgehogs – good or bad?

January 9th, 2017


Hedgehogs are cute - but they're also deadly killers. Science communication student Harriet Ampt is investigating.


January 4th, 2017


Science communication student Charlotte Panton discusses bioethics and forensic science, and wonders how we decide what is acceptable when it comes to using animals in science.

Medicinal cannabis

January 2nd, 2017


Medicinal marijuana, the pros and cons, is the subject of an interview between science communication student Colin Smillie and Abe Gray.

Genetic modification - a science communication podcast

December 27th, 2016


University of Otago science communication student Amy Smith discusses genetic modification with two microbiologists.

Uplifted - marine life on the Kaikōura coast after the quake

December 22nd, 2016


The Kaikōura Peninsula was uplifted 1 metre during the magnitude 7.8 earthquake - and marine life on the rocky shore was left high and dry.

Surviving life on the outside

December 15th, 2016


Sonia Sly finds out about a psychological programme to help offenders better adjust to living in the community when they are released from prison.

From wine waste to safer food packaging

December 15th, 2016


University of Auckland researchers are using tannin-rich wine waste to create safer food packaging that has antibacterial properties.

When the Kekerengu Fault ruptured

December 8th, 2016


Geologists are combing the ground in the wake of the 7.8M Kaikōura earthquake looking for clues, to understand what happened when 9 faults rupture at …

Climathon - new ideas to deal with climate change

December 8th, 2016


Take a hundred people motivated to do something about climate change, give them 24 hours to brainstorm ideas about practical solutions, do that …

Giant underwater landslide in the Kaikōura Canyon

December 1st, 2016


The magnitude 7.8 Kaikōura earthquake triggered a massive underwater landslide that swept down the offshore canyon system and was still flowing more than 300 km away.

When orchids smell like mushrooms - a tale of botanical deceit

December 1st, 2016


Spider orchids that smell like mushrooms are fooling fungus gnats into pollinating them, and Carlos Lehnebach wants to find out more about this …

Mena the penguin-detector dog

November 24th, 2016


Alastair Judkins is a penguin hunter - and his secret weapon is a 'super nose', a dog called Mena. Alison Ballance joins them on a little penguin search in Wellington.

Science winners - 2016 Research Honours

November 24th, 2016


The 2016 Research Honours have been awarded and we talk to the 2016 winners of the Rutherford, Macdiarmid and Callaghan medals.

The Science Of... Snow

November 15th, 2016


What is snow? How and where is it made? Why is it white? Alison Ballance and Katy Gosset head to Mt Ruapehu in search of the answers to all your questions about snow.

The Science Of... Meth Houses

November 8th, 2016


How safe are meth houses really? And what's it like to go inside? Katy Gosset and Alison Ballance take the plunge and ask how much meth is too much when it comes to setting a national standard?

Written in stone - the first Māori gardens

November 3rd, 2016


The Otuataua Stonefields Historic Reserve, in South Auckland, is home to New Zealand's earliest gardens and is a significant archaeological site.

Tour de Science

November 3rd, 2016


David Klein is taking his award-winning one-man science show on tour, by bicycle, around small town community halls.

1080 and science denial: an Our Changing World summit

October 27th, 2016


A new book, Protecting Paradise, investigates the science of 1080, its use in protecting native wildlife in New Zealand, and the wider issue of science denial and science reporting in the media.

Great white sharks of Australia and New Zealand

October 20th, 2016


Electronic satellite tags have revealed details of the lives of great white sharks on either side of the Tasman Sea - and shown how the different …

Marine sponges may be climate change 'winners'

October 20th, 2016


New research shows that ocean acidification may make some marine sponges more resilient in the face of climate change and warming water.

In the footsteps of dinosaurs

October 13th, 2016


Collingwood Area School students join GNS scientists in a search for dinosaur footprints on the shore of a Golden Bay estuary

Muesli and sea ice - an unexpected maths tale

October 13th, 2016


Industrial mathematician Mark McGuinness has applied maths to problems as varied as crispy cereal and the freezing of Antarctic sea ice.

Nothing but the truth: can children be reliable eyewitnesses

October 6th, 2016


Psychologist Deirdre Brown has been researching whether children are reliable eyewitnesses.

Kākāpō - what genes can tell us

October 6th, 2016


A new genetic study shows that a once abundant kākāpō population declined in numbers and genetic diversity soon after stoats were introduced in the …

When it comes to average, what does 'mean' mean?

October 6th, 2016


Statistician Thomas Lumley explains different ways of calculating an average, and the difference between median and mean.

Takahē - back from the brink

September 29th, 2016


Joan Watson was there when takahē were rediscoverd in 1948, and DOC ranger Glen Greaves says the population of the giant flightless bird has just …

Bad air is bad for health

September 22nd, 2016


Air pollution is the world's leading environmental risk factor for disease, and it causes early deaths even in clean countries such as New Zealand.

How is the air up there?

September 22nd, 2016


Households in Rangiora are being wired up, inside and out, with small devices that measure wood smoke.

Community conservation on the Kapiti Coast

September 15th, 2016


Residents on the Kapiti coast north of Wellington are working together to improve biodiversity and create thriving ecosystems in their local neighbourhoods.

The chemistry of disease

September 8th, 2016


Guy Jameson has been awarded the Beatrice Hill Tinsley Medal for his work understanding the chemical structure of proteins that are important in diseases such as Parkinson's.

Beatrice Hill Tinsley Medal

September 8th, 2016


The New Zealand Association of Scientists has renamed their Research Medal to the Beatrice Hill Tinsley Medal, the first New Zealand science award named after a woman.

Science communication - the art of listening

September 8th, 2016


Geneticist Jean Fleming has won the NZAS Science Communicator Award, and she says that good science communication is about listening as well as talking.

Copying nature to find new drugs

September 8th, 2016


Margaret Brimble has been awarded the Marsden Medal for developing new drugs from natural bioactive substances. One of her new drugs is being fast-tracked in clinical trials.

P53: the gene that causes - and cures - cancer

September 8th, 2016


P53 is a cancer gene with a Jekyll and Hyde personality. It stops cancer tumours growing, but mutant versions of the gene actually cause cancer.

Restoring the trees above and the fungi below

September 1st, 2016


Ecologists are investigating the best ways to replant native plants to restore lost forests and wetlands, and are finding out if underground fungi …

Fish-friendly city streams

September 1st, 2016


Environment Waikato is helping native fish commute up urban streams by providing aids such as ropes running through culverts and pipes.

Solving the penguin housing crisis - one home at a time

August 25th, 2016


Conservation groups are replanting native vegetation around Wellington's Miramar Peninsula to provide safe homes for little blue penguins and food …

'Dimorphism' - a poem by Janis Freegard

August 25th, 2016


Poet Janis Freegard reads 'Dimorphism', from her poetry book The Glass Rooster, comparing divaricating plants to cushion plants.

Glow in the dark - firefly squid and bioluminescence

August 25th, 2016


Miriam Sharpe and Kurt Krause are investigating the proteins that glow worms and firefly squid use to glow in the dark.

Online dating and the game of love: a psychologist’s approach

August 18th, 2016


Online dating is a popular way of meeting people, and Sonia Sly finds out some of the benefits and pitfalls of starting relationships online.

When the ground starts shaking - GeoNet turns 15

August 18th, 2016


There are about 57 earthquakes every day in New Zealand - and over 15 years GeoNet has recorded more than 314,000 of them.

Looking to the future with biologist Corey Bradshaw

August 11th, 2016


Biologist Corey Bradshaw spends his time considering the future of humanity and the natural world in the face of rapid environmental change.

Speaking out for science

August 11th, 2016


The Royal Society of NZ has released guidelines for scientists on public engagement. The NZ Association of Scientists President responds.

'Milk on a disc'

August 11th, 2016


Shining a light on milk to reveal its secrets will allow 'point of cow diagnostics' about the quality of milk and the health of individual dairy cows.

A conservation summit on Predator Free NZ 2050

August 4th, 2016


Three leading eradication experts talk about Predator Free New Zealand 2050, including the social aspects of engaging communities and the need to …

Climate Kit - when technology meets climate action

August 4th, 2016


Sara Dean and Beth Ferguson are American designers whose projects include using Twitter to help Jakarta residents know about floods, and creating …

Rogue waves

July 28th, 2016


Rogue waves are rare, massive waves and Craig Stevens explains that although 'we know one when we see one' we don't understand how they form.

Inspired by Science

July 28th, 2016


Year-6 students Ava Beens and Eilish Cassidy take part in the 2016 International Science Festival in Dunedin, and give a 2-minute speech on what inspires them about science.

Project Activate - swimming in a flume

July 28th, 2016


Project Activate involved a group of 12-year-old Pacific Island students learning about healthy living and science - and it included a swim in a …

3D printing a bionic arm

July 21st, 2016


As part of the 2016 International Science Festival in Dunedin, teenager Corey Symon was gifted a 3D-printed bionic arm by Limbitless Solutions.

Hunted to extinction - the Chatham Island sea lion

July 21st, 2016


Within 200 years of settling the Chatham Islands, Moriori had hunted the local sea lion to extinction. What lessons can we learn from that?

Changing times at Our Changing World

July 14th, 2016


As Our Changing World is about to change to a shorter format, Veronika Meduna looks back at some of her favourite stories about science and the environment.

Marine science round-up

July 14th, 2016


A medley of marine science news including the challenges facing mussel bed restoration in the Hauraki Gulf, a multi-level habitat cascade that …

Exactly where is sea level? Gravity can tell us

July 14th, 2016


After two years of measuring gravity from a plane, LINZ has just released a new vertical datum for New Zealand and its coastal seas. This allows the accurate measurement of sea level.

Taniwha - the human-powered submarine

July 7th, 2016


Team Taniwha, from the University of Auckland, has designed and built a human-powered submarine, that has borrowed ideas from leather-jacket fish, …

Rarest sea lions in the world - and the threats they face

July 7th, 2016


New Zealand sea lions are the rarest sea lion in the world. They face a number of threats, including disease, food limitation and by-catch in commercial fisheries - so which threat is most important?

Wairau Bar: How it all began

July 7th, 2016


Veronika Meduna joins Rangitane iwi members and scientists at Wairau Bar, New Zealand's most significant archaeological site, to find out about the …

World’s largest telescope to track the dawn of the cosmos

June 30th, 2016


In the middle of the Australian outback, scientists are building the world's largest radio telescope. Veronika Meduna pays a visit.

Assisted evolution of corals

June 30th, 2016


Veronika Meduna explores the controversial idea of assisted evolution, and whether it could help scientists identify coral species that could better …

Koala genome

June 30th, 2016


Veronika Meduna meets wildlife geneticist Rebecca Johnson to discuss how genomics can help with efforts to protect the koala.

Native seed bank

June 30th, 2016


The New Zealand Indigenous Flora Seed Bank is collecting and storing the seeds of native plants as a long-term insurance policy to ensure the …

The garden bird survey turns 10

June 23rd, 2016


More than a million birds have been counted in the last nine years of the garden bird survey, and sparrows and silvereyes consistently top the rankings.

Synchrotron science: from cancer drugs to sheep skin leather

June 23rd, 2016


Veronika Meduna meets Kiwi scientist Tom Caradoc-Davies to find out how he uses the Australian synchrotron to work out the 3D structure of proteins to make cancer drugs more specific.

Biocontrol - fighting bad weeds

June 23rd, 2016


Seed-eating weevils are one of the latest biocontrol agents introduced into New Zealand to control the invasive weed, Darwin's barberry.

Restoring hearing

June 23rd, 2016


Veronika Meduna visits Cochlear, a medical device company that produces bionic ears, to find out how cochlear implants could help some of the 700,000 …

DNA transfer between brain cells

June 16th, 2016


Malaghan Institute scientist Mike Berridge recently discovered a fundamentally new process of mitochondrial DNA transfer between cells. He now investigates whether this is also the case between brain cancer cells.

Gotta have skin

June 16th, 2016


A tougher artificial skin, that is quick to grow in the lab, could revolutionise the treament of burn victims and increase their chance of survival.

Big hopes for tiny wasp mite

June 16th, 2016


A tiny mite, that could transmit diseases such as viruses, is being investigated as a possible biocontrol agent for introduced social wasps.

Microbes and moods

June 16th, 2016


We are more microbe than human, and our microbiome may be affecting our brain, moods and behaviour.

Pesticide bad news for bee learning and memory

June 16th, 2016


Chemists and zoologists have teamed up to investigate the impact of the pesticide chlorpyrifos on bee learning and memory

Genome sequencing - a how-to-guide

June 9th, 2016


If you want to sequence a genome then a company like New Zealand Genomics Ltd has the equipment and expertise to produce and manage the large amounts of data.

Future of sea level rise science

June 9th, 2016


John Church, an expert on sea level rise and one of the scientists who could lose his job at CSIRO, discusses how ice sheets in Greenland and …

Diatom blooms, extinctions and climate

June 9th, 2016


Phytoplankton, which accounts for half of the planet's total biological productivity, leave a clear fossil footprint, which allows palaeontologists …

Citizen science: large brown seaweeds

June 9th, 2016


Marine scientists are calling on the public to help them get a better idea of the distribution of large brown seaweeds along the coast of New Zealand.

New search of the cosmos

June 7th, 2016


The University of Auckland is joining one of the most ambitious astronomy projects ever to scour the southern skies for extrasolar planets – while …

Smart kaka - can you teach old parrots new tricks?

June 2nd, 2016


The kaka, or forest parrot, has had its IQ tested for the first time - and in some experiments young naive birds were better problem solvers than …

Acid test for coastal seas

June 2nd, 2016


The ocean is becoming more acidic, and this change is most pronounced in coastal seas. Marine scientists have received $4.9 million to work out what is going on and how this affects marine life along the coast.

The virus hunter and the rare plant

June 2nd, 2016


Virus hunter and botanist Paul Guy has been called in to help threatened native cress plants that are being infected by three different brassica …

Tuning into whale song

June 2nd, 2016


NIWA marine ecologist Kim Goetz is setting up acoustic monitoring stations in Cook Strait to eavesdrop on whales and dolphins as they migrate through …

Healthy homes: a breath of fresh air

May 26th, 2016


Veronika Meduna joins BRANZ physicist Manfred Plagmann as he equips a home with sensors that track how heat and moisture move through the rooms.

Solar storms and electricity supply

May 26th, 2016


Craig Rodger explains how large solar storms can overwhelm the protective shield of the earth's magnetic field and disrupt national power grids.

Learning from past floods

May 26th, 2016


University of Waikato professor of environmental planning Iain White argues that our 'same again' response to flooding is hindering our ability to plan more effectively.

Birds, feather colour – and sex

May 26th, 2016


Why are some male birds brighter and showier than females of the same species, and sometimes both are bright? Sexual selection, size and living in the tropics are all part of the answer.

Fat Science

May 19th, 2016


Auckland diabetes specialist Robyn Toomath argues that society is to blame for the rise in obesity, and Massey University sociologist and runner …

Lipoprotein(a) - little known but high risk for heart disease

May 19th, 2016


Lipoprotein(a) increases the risk of heart disease in 20% of people and doesn't respond to diet or exercise, so the hunt is on to find a treatment.

Timing the Anthropocene

May 19th, 2016


Later in 2016, an international group will decide if the Holocene has given way to a new geological period marked by our impact. NIWA geochemist …

Goodie goodie - bird watching with Bill Oddie

May 19th, 2016


Use your ears and spend time on your own just listening and observing birds - good advice from one of the world's best known bird-watchers and ex-Goodie, Bill Oddie.

Dunedin's royal albatrosses and #royalcam

May 12th, 2016


There are 26 chicks in the royal albatross colony at Dunedin's Taiaroa Head this year - and the #royalcam chick is very much in the public spotlight.

Hand-rearing kākāpō chicks

May 12th, 2016


Veronika Meduna visits a veterinary facility in Invercargill where staff look after kākāpō chicks that had to be taken off their island homes to be hand-reared.

Silencing science

May 12th, 2016


Shaun Hendy, the director of the centre of research excellence The Pūnaha Matatini, discusses his latest book, Silencing Science, in which he tackles the issue of why scientists are often reluctant to speak out publicly.

The swallowing robot

May 12th, 2016


A soft, swallowing robot that mimics the human oesophagus is being developed as a tool that food technologists could use to design better food for …

Shedding light on Māori health

May 12th, 2016


Victoria University molecular geneticist Geoff Chambers is challenging the one-size-fits-all approach to healthcare, arguing that genes linked to the …

Whitebait mysteries – unravelling the lives of baby native fish

May 5th, 2016


Baby native fish are in the spotlight as freshwater biologists unravel the mysteries of where these tiny creatures go in the first weeks of their …

Tim Flannery: an atmosphere of hope

May 5th, 2016


Tim Flannery discusses his latest book, Atmosphere of Hope, and why he is hopeful that we will tackle climate change.

Genetic impacts of crop domestication

May 5th, 2016


Scientists at Te Papa Tongarewa are using some of New Zealand's endemic plants and DNA sequencing tools to track how genetic diversity changes during …

Flicking the switch for electric cars

April 28th, 2016


A switch to electric transport could go a long way towards reducing New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions. Veronika Meduna takes a road trip with …

Acting on climate change - Royal Society of NZ report

April 28th, 2016


In its latest report on climate change, the Royal Society of New Zealand lays out options for how we coudl reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Thar she goes! On the tail of the Kermadec humpback whales

April 28th, 2016


Satellite tagging has revealed that humpback whales that breed in Oceania socialise at Raoul Island in the Kermadecs and has shown where in …

Nematodes from the deep

April 28th, 2016


Sediment samples collected from 6,000 - 9,000m deep in the Kermadec Trench were teeming with tiny nematode worms – over 100 new species were …

Survivors - New Zealand's tiny native frogs

April 28th, 2016


After 35 years of counting threatened Archey's frog on the Coromandel Peninsula, Ben Bell has seen their numbers crash due to the chytrid fungal …

Points, lines and polygons - the art of making maps

April 21st, 2016


The 451 topographic maps that cover the length and breadth of New Zealand are a testament to the skills of a team of map makers at LINZ.

Marine maternity ward

April 21st, 2016


Staff at the Island Bay Marine Education Centre have played midwife to baby carpet sharks that hatched almost a year after a female shark deposited the egg cases in a tank.

Shy fish, bold fish - insights into the lives of native fish

April 21st, 2016


To understand the food webs of ponds and lakes you need to understand the personalities and lives of individual fish

Report brings climate change home

April 21st, 2016


A new report published by the Royal Society of New Zealand highlights six key climate change implications for New Zealand.

An ode to mangroves

April 14th, 2016


Mangroves have a mixed reputation, with some people thinking of them as weeds while others, including writer Kennedy Warne, value them for their ecosystem function and as a natural breakwater.

Yellow-eyed penguin numbers hit new low

April 14th, 2016


Yellow-eyed penguins have hit their lowest numbers on mainland New Zealand since the early 1990s, and it's the result of a number of issues in the …

Long live the tapeworm - why parasites are a good idea

April 14th, 2016


In a novel extension of the 'hygeine hypothesis', biologists argue we should save the parasites of endangered species for the sake of their host's …

Preventing dementia

April 14th, 2016


Dementia researchers are looking for people with mild cognitive impairment for a longitudinal study to explore how Alzheimer's Disease develops from early stages of memory loss.

Good for your joints - a smart device to improve how you walk

April 14th, 2016


Smart socks and an ankle bracelet that uses small vibration motors might help us to retrain how we walk and stave off joint surgery

Three decades on the tail of Hector’s dolphins

April 7th, 2016


After more than 30 years of studying the world's smallest dolphins Liz Slooten and Steve Dawson still enjoy getting out on the water to observe …

When a river meets the sea

April 7th, 2016


NIWA oceanographers are using Deep Cove in Doubtful Sound, where the tailrace from the Manapouri power station flows into the sea, as a natural …

E-textiles and smart fabrics

April 7th, 2016


Smart fabrics and e-textiles are a blend of fashion and technology, and can include knitted fabric that has electronic sensors woven into it.

Search for early signals of dementia with Parkinson's disease

April 7th, 2016


Brain imaging scientist Tracy Melzer is using MRI scans to look for changes in the brain that could predict if a person with Parkinson's Disease will …

The art of science advice

March 31st, 2016


New Zealand's chief science adviser, Sir Peter Gluckman, and Australia's newly-appointed chief scientist Alan Finkel discuss how their countries …

Dunnocks - and what bird sperm can tell us

March 31st, 2016


Bird sperm from native species such as robins, as well as introduced dunnocks from Dunedin, may shed light on problems with male fertility and infertile eggs.

Hands-on geology at the marae

March 31st, 2016


GNS Science scientists work together with Ngati Kahungunu to run marae-based workshops on geological hazards, natural resources and climate change.

Restoring nature at Nelson's Brook Waimarama Sanctuary

March 24th, 2016


A 14.5 kilometre-long pest proof fence will soon be keeping nature safe from invasive animals, in a nearly 700-hectare forest sanctuary on the outskirts of Nelson

Making sense of the code of life

March 24th, 2016


BBC broadcaster Adam Rutherford discusses how genomics is changing how we think about medicine, agriculture, conservation and even our relationship …

Tracking the health of kaimoana off Taranaki coast

March 24th, 2016


A local hapu, New Plymouth residents and marine scientists have set up a group to monitor the health of kaimoana on the reefs off Waitara, on the Taranaki coast.

New Zealand leads world in island conservation

March 21st, 2016


A new study shows that getting rid of invasive mammals from islands has an enormous positive benefit for rare native species.

Hairy elephants and transgenic aphids

March 17th, 2016


University of Otago geneticists Peter Dearden and Neil Gemmell continue their discussion of the gene editing tool CRISPR and its use in genomics, …

Using light and electricity to study individual brain cells

March 17th, 2016


Optogenetics uses light to target individual cells, and Peter Freestone is using it to better understand Parkinson's disease and the role of …

New Zealand's prehistoric polar forests

March 17th, 2016


A team of Australian and New Zealand fossil hunters on a National Geographic expedition spent weeks scouring sites in Marlborough and on the Chatham …

CarpN Neutral - doing good things with bad koi carp

March 17th, 2016


Introduced koi carp are a nuisance in lakes and rivers in the Waikato, and the CarpN Neutral project catches them and turns their bodies into fertiliser for use in native revegetation programmes.

Agriculture blamed for recent rise in methane

March 10th, 2016


Scientists have found that the increase of methane in the atmosphere since 2007 has been caused by agriculture rather than fossil fuel production.

The 'smarts' behind a smart motorway

March 10th, 2016


Bluetooth signals from passing cars and a world-first predictive traffic model that generates travel times and optimum driving speeds are just some …

The CRISPR dilemma

March 10th, 2016


CRISPR is the new buzzword in genetics, and University of Otago geneticists Peter Dearden and Neil Gemmell discuss the potential benefits and risks …

Truffle-like fungi: what their genes can tell us

March 10th, 2016


Truffle-like fungi are related to mushrooms but look like truffles, and geneticists around the world are studying their genomes to understand how …

Survival of the oldest

March 10th, 2016


Palaeontologists studying an ancient group of extinct marine plankton find surprising results about which species are vulnerable to extinction.

Lake Ohau reveals climate history

March 3rd, 2016


Scientists reveal the climate history hidden in the mud at the bottom of Lake Ohau, reaching back to the end of the last Ice Age some 18,000 years ago.

A new future for marine protected areas in New Zealand

March 3rd, 2016


Environment Minister Nick Smith is championing new legislation for marine protected areas, and Raewyn Peart from the Environmental Defence Society has some thoughts on its strengths and weaknesses.

Poetry and science inspired by Transit of Venus

March 3rd, 2016


A book of poetry celebrates the inspiration poets, scientists and the Uawa/Tolaga Bay community have drawn from the 2012 Transit of Venus.

Deterring sharks with electricity

March 3rd, 2016


Sunkita Howard is developing an electrical deterrent to discourage spiny dogfish from getting caught on fishing hooks used in the ling longline fishery.

Hangi stones and magnetism

February 25th, 2016


Hangi or oven stones are a record of the earth's magnetic field at the time they were heated and cooled, and they show a remarkable history of New …

Facing the reality of climate change

February 25th, 2016


Climate scientist Will Steffen, at the Australian National University, argues that to limit the impacts of climate change on island nations in the …

An albatross chick's flowerpot is its castle

February 25th, 2016


The Chatham Island Taiko Trust has made flowerpot nests for 50 Chatham Island albatross chicks that are part of a pioneering translocation from The Pyramid to the main Chatham Island.

Taiko take off

February 25th, 2016


With just 120-or-so known adult birds, 21 new chicks are a very welcome addition to the Chatham Island taiko population.

Booming kakapo numbers

February 25th, 2016


The endangered kakapo is in the middle of a bumper breeding year that looks set to be the best ever, and conservationists are looking foward to the …

Antarctica's ice sheets more sensitive to warming

February 25th, 2016


An international team of scientists found that Antarctica's land-based ice sheets are more vulnerable to rising temperatures than they previously …

Technology and learning

February 25th, 2016


Veronika Meduna joins a school group for a morning at MindLab, using fruit and vegetables to build musical instruments.

Eye of the storm - climate change in the Pacific

February 18th, 2016


Kiribati president Anote Tong calls on political leaders to help low-lying Pacific island nations to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Spotted skinks on the move

February 18th, 2016


Nearly a hundred spotted skinks were recently transferred from Matiu Somes Island to Zealandia Sanctuary in Wellington.

Cheaper, greener and bendier solar cells

February 18th, 2016


Victoria University chemist Jonathan Halpert discusses nano-scale materials he investigates for future photovoltaic cells.

Beetle versus spider

February 18th, 2016


Jackie Spencer is investigating how the introduced venomous redback spider is affecting the threatened Cromwell chafer beetle, and what role rabbits …

LIGO 'sees' gravitational waves

February 11th, 2016


Researchers at the LIGO observatory have announced the direct observation of gravitational waves, which have been predicted by Albert Einstein just over a century ago.

Could Alzheimers disease be preventable?

February 11th, 2016


Alzheimers Disease and other forms of dementia may not be an inevitable part of ageing but preventable with some simple lifestyle changes, according to Oxford University emeritus professor David Smith.


February 11th, 2016


An Ecoblitz combines measuring ecological diversity with enthusing high school students about science and their local environment

In pursuit of the yellow octopus

February 11th, 2016


NIWA fisheries scientists are surveying the prey species of the New Zealand sea lion, including the elusive yellow octopus, to find out how hard the endagered marine mammals have to work for their food.

Genome sequencing every living kakapo

February 4th, 2016


In an ambitious world-first, scientists are using crowd-funding to pay for genome sequences for all 125 living kakapo - the first time an entire …

Convicted for science

February 4th, 2016


Italian seismologist Giulio Selvaggi is visiting New Zealand to talk about his experience of being first convicted, and then acquitted, of …

Gold nuggets - formed by bacteria?

February 4th, 2016


Geologists wonder if bacteria and biological processes might play a role in the growth of gold nuggets in Central Otago rivers, as well as chemical …

Sexism in science

February 4th, 2016


Theoretical chemist Nicola Gaston discusses her book about sexism in science and why she thinks the problem is pervasive and systemic.

Booming bitterns

February 4th, 2016


Australasian bitterns are one of New Zealand's most cryptic and threatened wetland birds, and the males attract females with a deep foghorn boom.

The 'pee' in pest control - developing super lures

January 28th, 2016


A team of biologists and chemists are developing super lures, based on pheromones found in animal urine, that they hope will be more attractive and …

Alien invasions in Antarctica

January 28th, 2016


Pete Convey, a polar ecologist at the British Antarctic Survey, discusses how growing numbers of tourists and a changing climate increase the risk of …

'Physics is cool' - nanocamper

January 28th, 2016


Year 12 and 13 students join scientists at the MacDiarmid Institute for a week-long nanocamp of experimentation and learning.

Citizen science: giving ruru a helping hand

January 21st, 2016


The ruru, or morepork, is our only surviving native owl and locals living on Banks Peninsula are giving them a helping hand by providing luxury …

Defining the Anthropocene

January 21st, 2016


Geologists will decide later this year whether to add a new human created epoch - the Anthropocene - to the geological time scale

New Zealand's super diversity

January 21st, 2016


Auckland's Dalmatian community has contributed to a genetic survey of New Zealand, which shows that just about all of the world's genetic lineages are represented in New Zealand.

Lake Wanaka's grebes

January 21st, 2016


John Darby began building floating nest platforms for Lake Wanaka's grebes three years ago - and they're a resounding success

Dark skies, happy aurora watchers

January 11th, 2016


Science communication student Pam Cornes finds out what motivates Dunedin's keen band of aurora watchers and night sky enthusiasts, and hears why they are pushing for the city to be part of a Dark Sky initiative

Say a prayer for me

January 11th, 2016


Science commuication student Evan Balkcom investigates the internal effects of prayer, from the point of view of psycholgists and people who …

A possum-free Otago Peninsula

January 4th, 2016


Science communication student Guy Frederick catches up with the Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group to hear how their plan to get rid of possums on …

Urban wildlife - should we care?

January 4th, 2016


Wildlife management student Hannah Murdoch investigates the issue of urban wildlife and urban biodiversity

Living with Parkinson's disease

January 4th, 2016


Science communication student Steve Banks talks with clinical neurologist Martin Pollock about living with Parkinson's disease, and with …

Coastal erosion: people versus nature

January 4th, 2016


Science communication student Sam Fraser-Baxter investigates coastal erosion at Dunedin's famous surf beach St Clair, and talks with locals about the ongoing problems

Gearhead Granny

January 4th, 2016


Science communication student Siana Fitzjohn talks with climate activist Rosemary Penwarden about living a low carbon lifestyle and the 'electric-ute' car converted to run on electricity

The Palmy Dirty 30 challenge

December 17th, 2015


Palmy Dirty 30 is a new parent-led initiative to get children to spend more time outdoors.

Damselflies - fast blue and slow red

December 17th, 2015


PhD student Tanya Dann has been investigating the different speed lifestyles that two New Zealand damselfly species have

The legacy of Riccarton Bush

December 17th, 2015


Riccarton Bush in Christchurch contains the last remnant of a kahikatea floodplain forest in Canterbury, thanks to the Deans family's early conservation efforts.

The importance of taxonomy and biological collections

December 17th, 2015


The report on 'National Taxonomic Collections in New Zealand' recommends more secure funding and greater national coordination for the country's 29 …

A century with Einstein

December 17th, 2015


2015 marks the centenary of Albert Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, which explains how gravity works on objects, from falling apples to orbiting planets.

Stories hidden in rocks

December 10th, 2015


In this wrap of the Geoscience Society of New Zealand's annual conference, we explore what rocks tell us about our changing world.

Lichen Quartet - a poem

December 10th, 2015


Poet Janis Freegard reads 'Lichen Quartet' from her poetry book 'The Glass Rooster' (AUP 2015)

Wetland wanderings in the Whangamarino

December 10th, 2015


Alison Ballance joins freshwater fish expert Stella McQueen in one of New Zealand’s largest bogs – the Waikato’s Whangamarino wetland – in search of fernbirds, spotless crake and mudfish

Lampreys aka 'vampire fish'

December 10th, 2015


Lampreys are eel-like jawless fish, related to sharks, that spend their lives in fresh and salt water, and at sea they use their sucker-like mouths to attach to large animals to feed

Ecology in action

December 3rd, 2015


Big declines in numbers of forest birds and native moths, revelations that kiore ate moa, and the discovery of Asian as well as European house mice …

First global assessment of soil quality

December 3rd, 2015


December 5 is World Soil Day and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization is preparing for the release of the world's first report on the quality …

Protecting grape vines from leafroll virus

December 3rd, 2015


Researchers at Plant and Food Research are developing an array of visual and molecular tools to help combat leafroll virus in grape vines

Limiting nitrate leaching on dairy farms

November 26th, 2015


Massey University soil scientists are investigating how taking cows off paddocks during certain times of the year could significantly reduce the …

Life at the edge

November 26th, 2015


Light is crucial to the creatures that live on the ocean floor around Antarctica, but they have to get by without it for several weeks. NIWA marine …

Tea bag science

November 26th, 2015


Tea bags containing red and green tea leaves have been buried in the soil for three months, to give insights into tussock grassland ecosystems and how they are being affected by climate change

'This issue will define my generation'

November 26th, 2015


A group of young New Zealand is heading to Paris as part of the official Youth Delegation to observe the UN climate talks.

Antarctic glacier's past rapid retreat

November 26th, 2015


Research published today provides the first geological evidence for the potential of runaway ice loss in Antarctica.

The sound of shark skin

November 19th, 2015


The prickly dogfish is a small deepsea shark with very rough skin. Shark skin is made from 'dermal denticles' which are like teeth

Fishes of New Zealand

November 19th, 2015


The Fishes of New Zealand is the first definitive guide to all of our freshwater and marine fishes since 1872, and it includes more than 1260 species

Sir James Hector's scientific legacy

November 19th, 2015


Science historian Simon Nathan discusses his biography of Sir James Hector, New Zealand's first government scientist.

Coastal crabs - a go-to-guide

November 19th, 2015


NIWA has produced some electronic field guides to coastal creatures, including one on crabs

The good and the bad of sunshine

November 19th, 2015


Material scientist Martin Allen has developed wearable UV sensors that allow school children to monitor their exposure to the sun's ultra-violet …

Crushing mussels, crunching data

November 12th, 2015


They call it the 'mussel crusher', a machine developed by NIWA to test the strength of New Zealand mussel shells and help the local aquaculture …

'Smart' glove

November 12th, 2015


The prototype of a haptic feedback glove is being used to control a flight simulator but could have future use in physiotherapy

Smart birds net researcher PM's Emerging Scientist Prize

November 12th, 2015


Research into intelligence in New Caledonian crows has won Alex Taylor the 2015 Prime Minister's MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize

Top science prize for myth-busting bone research team

November 12th, 2015


The 2015 Prime Minister's Science Prize goes to osteoporosis researchers Ian Reid, Mark Bolland and Andrew Grey. Ian Reid also won the Rutherford …

Mars Mission: a mental journey

November 5th, 2015


As NASA considers a mission to Mars, it is investigating what happens to an astronaut's brain during long-duration space travel.

A journey through the Anthropocene

November 5th, 2015


Gaia Vince is the author of Adventures in the Anthropocene, which won the 2015 Winton Science Book Prize.

Celebrating great ideas for Nature

November 5th, 2015


The WWF Conservation Innovations awards recognise the best ideas that help conservation projects to succeed.

Healthy streams - healthy harbour

November 5th, 2015


Whaingaroa Harbour Care have planted more than 1.4 million native plants along streams around Raglan,and the harbour is much cleaner as a result

Bill Ballantine: New Zealand's pioneer of marine conservation

November 5th, 2015


A tribute to Bill Ballantine, New Zealand's tireless campaigner for the protection of our oceans, who died this week at the age of 78.

Kokopu condos and tuna townhouse

October 29th, 2015


A housing project for native fish in suburban streams is hoping to provide safe refuges for giant kokopu and long-finned eels

Eat better, think better - diet and the brain

October 29th, 2015


Psychologists and nutritionists at the University of Otago are studying how diet can have a positive impact on heart and brain health

Bending light in search for alien planets

October 29th, 2015


Light has helped astronomers to discover many of the almost 2000 planets that orbit around stars outside our own solar system, thanks to Einstein.

Saving the rarest of the rare - Endangered Species Foundation

October 29th, 2015


The newly launched Endangered Species Foundation has identified some key threatened species that need urgent conservation work

Hair of the kuri or Maori dog

October 22nd, 2015


Ecologist Cilla Wehi hopes that the hair and bones of kuri, or now extinct Maori dog, might hold clues to what they ate

On the cusp of a solar revolution

October 22nd, 2015


Next generation printable and flexible solar cells, made with new materials, are part of a clean-energy revolution

Wilding pines go up in flames in name of science

October 22nd, 2015


Scientists set fire to blocks of wilding pines to study whether chemicals used to control the weedy trees change the fire hazard.

Global census of methane-producing microbes

October 15th, 2015


A team of AgResearch scientists had analysed the rumen microbiome in different animals across the world and found similar methane-producing micro-organisms.

Ultra-fast lasers

October 15th, 2015


Ultra-fast lasers - or more properly ultra short-pulsed lasers - are very accurate, which makes them useful in industry and research

Subtidal currents in Cook Strait

October 15th, 2015


Cook Strait is known for its strong tidal currents, but NIWA oceanographers have completed comprehensive measurements of subtidal residual currents.

Kaika Energy - from food waste to fertiliser and biogas

October 15th, 2015


A group of Year 13 students from Kaikorai Valley College in Dunedin have created a biotechnology company and installed a biodigestor at school

Antarctica's contribution to sea level rise

October 14th, 2015


New research confirms that Antarctica will contribute sigificantly to future sea level rise unless greenhouse gas emissions are curbed from 2020 onwards.

Living in the age of resilience

October 8th, 2015


French experts Pierre Ducret and Lucile Schmid discuss the social impacts of climate change and the challenges in building a fair, low-carbon economy.

Wellington joins 100 Resilient Cities

October 8th, 2015


Wellington recently joined the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities programme and urban planners are now mapping out a long-term resilience plan for the capital.

Why kakariki are losing their feathers

October 8th, 2015


Tiny skin mites are causing mange and feather loss amongst red-crowned parakeets on Tiritiri Matangi Island, and a screening programme is keeping an eye on the problem

How best to invest in science

October 8th, 2015


Motu's director Adam Jaffe responds to the government's science funding strategy and discusses recent research into the efficacy of the Marsden Fund.

Science of stony soils and water

October 8th, 2015


There are a million hectares of stony soils in New Zealand - and scientists are using lysimeters to measure how water and cow urine move through them

Kermadec region becomes an open ocean sanctuary

October 1st, 2015


This week, the government announced the creation of the Kermadec ocean sanctuary, which covers 620,000 square kilometres and bans mining, prospecting and fishing.

Too much salt

October 1st, 2015


We live in a high salt world, so how feasible is it in our current shopping environment to eat a low sodium diet

Offsetting biodiversity losses

October 1st, 2015


Environmental Defence Society policy analyst Marie Brown discusses the challenge of how development projects can offset biodiversity losses.

Moving animals for conservation

October 1st, 2015


There have been hundreds of relocations of animals for conservation reasons in New Zealand and Australia - so what lessons have we learnt

Planning for a pandemic

October 1st, 2015


The Great Barrier Island community discusses the frightening prospect that they could be the sole survivors after a global flu pandemic.

Wildbase - a hospital dedicated to native wildlife

September 24th, 2015


At Wildbase, New Zealand's only dedicated wildlife hospital, vets treat more than 300 native animals each year as well as doing research on conservation issues.

Oil off a duck's back

September 24th, 2015


It takes 400 litres of freshwater to clean a seabird that has been covered in oil, but new research using ducks shows that seawater is a viable alternative

Rethinking enzyme evolution

September 24th, 2015


Proteins have evolved over many millions of years - but they can also evolve rapidly, in just years, and this offers insights into how evolution …

The worm returns

September 24th, 2015


Many farms in New Zealand are missing deep burrowing earthworms, that can help better grass growth, so Nicole Schon is relocating worms to farms in …

East Antarctica not a 'sleeping giant'

September 17th, 2015


An expedition to east Antarctica's Totten glacier returns with evidence suggesting that east Antarctica may not be as resistant to melting as once thought.

Viruses in invasive Argentine ants

September 17th, 2015


Ecologists at Victoria University have discovered that the invasive Argentine ants host a virus associated with bee deaths.

New Zealand's first national bee health survey

September 17th, 2015


Bees are in trouble and to get a better idea of might be contributing to colony loses, Landcare Research is calling on beekeepers to help with a …

Shining a light on our biological clock

September 17th, 2015


Guy Warman, at the University of Auckland, explores how anaesthesia affects the body's biological clock and whether light therapy could help reduce …

'Orchard in a box' - using GM to breed better apples

September 17th, 2015


A greenhouse that is also a strict containment facility allows scientists to experimentally add apple genes to apple trees to speed up the breeding of new varieties

Does your first language influence your trombone playing?

September 10th, 2015


Matthias Heyne is investigating whether the tongue positions we learn as part of our native language influences the way trombonists play their instruments

New Zealand's rich diversity of soils

September 10th, 2015


To mark the International Year of Soils, we look at New Zealand's rich diversity of soils

Complexity, resilience and bees

September 10th, 2015


Jason Tylianakis is an ecologist trying to understand how our complex natural world responds to change

How kiwifruit helps control blood sugar

September 10th, 2015


Food scientists are investigating breakfast cereals and combinations with kiwifruit in search of a breakfast that helps control blood sugar levels

Psychology of Climate Change

September 3rd, 2015


Victoria University psychology lecturer Marc Wilson discusses why some people remain unsure about climate change, despite the overwhelming evidence.

Theta-R - a sound and light installation

September 3rd, 2015


Among the works at the recent Lux festival in Wellington was an audiovisual kinetic sculpture called Theta-R

'Albatross' - a poem

September 3rd, 2015


Janis Freegard reads her poem 'Albatross' from The Glass Rooster, published by Auckland University Press

Human hunting and Stewart Island Shags

September 3rd, 2015


Hunting by Maori had very different effects on the Stewart Island and Otago populations of Stewart Island shags.

Junk Food: plastic pollution is a growing threat to seabirds

September 3rd, 2015


A new study says that 90% of the world's seabirds ingest plastic, and those seabirds that feed in the Tasman Sea are most at risk from plastic

Mission Complete: New Zealand's first ocean glider takes to the seas

September 3rd, 2015


NIWA oceanographers retrieve an autonomous ocean glider after a successful two-week deployment to explore physical and biological properties of the …

Firing up the Plant Barbecue

September 3rd, 2015


To find the best plants to use in green firebreaks, biologists are testing the flammability of plants on the 'plant barbecue'

Neutrinos - a Poem

August 27th, 2015


Neutrinos is a poem by Janis Freegard from her collection The Glass Rooster, published by Auckland University Press

Berry Good News for the Brain

August 27th, 2015


Plant and Food Research have shown that blackcurrants can help in tasks involving memory and concentration

The Bugs are in the House

August 27th, 2015


After a year it's time to find out what's taken up residence in Lincoln University's Bug Hotels

Volcanic Hazard at Mt Taranaki

August 27th, 2015


Mt Taranaki is one of New Zealand's most distinctive volcanoes, with a history of euptions and the potential to erupt again in the future.

Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam

August 27th, 2015


On 13 March 2015, Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu. It was the worst natural disaster in the nation's history, and four months on, we ask how people are doing.

Building Better Flexi Bridges

August 20th, 2015


Low-damage precast concrete bridges featuring flexible steel tendons and energy dissipators that act as fuses are being tested at Canterbury University

Giving People A Voice

August 20th, 2015


Computer scientist Hamidf Sharifzadeh is regenerating a natural-sounding voice for people who lost the ability to speak

Designing Landscapes with People in Mind

August 20th, 2015


Landscape architect Mick Abbott wants to involve as many people as possible in meaningful ecological restoration projects

Trapdoor spider dinnertime

August 20th, 2015


Vikki Smith introduces Alison Ballance to a trapdoor spider called Sweetheart - and you can hear the amazing sound of a spider chewing a beetle.

To Catch a Trapdoor Spider

August 20th, 2015


Trapdoor spiders live on mud banks in long silk-lined tunnels with a camouflaged trapdoor, and Vikki Smith has developed a cunning way of luring them out

'Air Puffs', Speech and Mobile Phones

August 13th, 2015


Adding air puffs that we produce during speech to mobile phones and hearing aids might make understanding conversations in noisy environments easier

Tracking the Lapita Expansion Across the Pacific

August 13th, 2015


Veronika Meduna joins Pacific archaeologists at the oldest cemetery in the pacific to find out about the Lapita and their epic voyage of discovery.

How Nature is Good for our Well-being

August 6th, 2015


Environmental scientist Lin Roberts argues that nature's ecosystem services are good for our well-being as well as the planet

Making Urban Bushland Better

August 6th, 2015


New Plymouth has more pockets of urban bush than any other NZ city, and ecologists study them to improve the success of ecological restorations

Testing Volcanic Ballistics with a Cannon and Catapult

August 6th, 2015


Geologists are using a cannon, a trebuchet and silly putty wrapped in condoms to investigate volcanic ballistics and better understand volcanic …

A Community Wind Farm for Blueskin Bay

July 30th, 2015


The Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust is working towards building three community-owned wind turbines that will help build the community's resilience and energy independence

The Road to Paris - UN Climate Chief Christiana Figueres

July 30th, 2015


UN climate chief Christiana Figueres says a global, legally-binding agreement will be reached at Paris climate summit, but concedes it falls short of two degree target.

A Treasure Trove of Natural Sciences at Puke Ariki

July 28th, 2015


New Plymouth's museum Puke Ariki is catalogueing its vast natural sceinces collections to make them more accessible to the public.

North Island Brown Kiwi Genome

July 23rd, 2015


The genome of the North Island brown kiwi has just been published by an international team of researchers

Sleep Apnoea

July 23rd, 2015


Ruth Beran's award-winning feature on sleep apnoea follows Maui Stewart to the sleep clinic on a journey to better health.

Sea Urchins and Their 'Landscape of Fear'

July 23rd, 2015


Do sea urchins live in a 'landscape of fear' and is the mere presence of predatory crayfish and snapper enough to change their behaviour?

From Egg to Dinner – Breeding Better Salmon

July 23rd, 2015


Veronika Meduna visits a salmon hatchery to find out more about how salmon are bred and farmed, and about the family tree of each fish.

Children mixing screens with food

July 16th, 2015


As young people use screens more and more, public health researcher Sam Marsh is looking into how much food they are eating when using different media like computers and TVs.

Salt, Blood Pressure and the Brain

July 16th, 2015


A new study in rats shows that the link between high salt intake and high blood pressure is caused by changes in the brain

Marine Science Round-Up

July 16th, 2015


A baby colossal squid, studying under-ice algae in Antarctica, New Zealand sea lions, and a better fishing trawl net.

Cleaning Up Our Coastlines

July 16th, 2015


After more than a decade of cleaning up Auckland's waterways and removing 22 shipping containers full of rubbish, the Sea Cleaners Trust is ready to …

The Sshhmute - A Practice Mute for Brass Instruments

July 9th, 2015


In his New Plymouth workshop, Trevor Bremner designs and produces the sshhmute, a practice mute for brass instruments

Improving Stent Design with MRI

July 9th, 2015


Susann Beier is using MRI and computational models to analyse flow of blood like fluid in 3D-printed replicas of coronary arteries with the aim of improving stent design

Spookfish and Other Deep Sea Sharks

July 9th, 2015


Long-nosed spookfish and other chimaeras are among a suite of weird, little known deep sea sharks that sport spiky sex organs on their head, enormous noses, fierce spines and long tails