Data for Change

One predator at a time

Huia Bay, Waitakere Ranges. Photo with permission of Kelly Bennett

Imagine, just for a moment, that you could make a difference by doing something small in your neighbourhood. That’s what thousands of New Zealanders are doing all over the country by working together to trap invasive predators. New Zealand is a country of birds, but possums, rats, mice, hedgehogs, and…

Data for Change

Using birdsong to index the local health of New Zealand nature

New Zealand tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae) by Kelly Bennett.

The natural soundscape of New Zealand is ringing with birdsong. Unfortunately this natural wonder is currently confined to pockets of the country that are protected from introduced predators. The New Zealand government Department of Conservation (DOC) and community groups have embarked on an ambitious plan, called Predator Free New Zealand…

Not mowing a lifestyle block in New Zealand

For twelve years, our acre of pasture at Huia in the Waitakere Ranges, New Zealand sat unoccupied. It was part of a farm, and now grew a variety of grasses and invasive weeds, including Kikuyu grass, gorse, inkweed, wild ginger, bugle lilies, creeping mallow, dandelion, woolly nightshade, and blackberry. The…

or why I should have been a botanist

CTD rosette used to collect water samples and collect temperature, salinity, oxygen, and turbidity profiles. Credit: California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations.

Oceanographers by definition go to sea, but many don’t, or go to sea very seldom. Those include modellers, remote sensing scientists, palaeoceanographers, and lab-based experimentalists. For many oceanographers, going to sea means working on large research vessels, generally for weeks or months at a stretch, hundreds of kilometres offshore, out…

Stories from an exotic childhood

Drawing by the author.

Growing up on a small farm in Kenya my brother and I wandered freely through the bush, and down along a stream where there were taro fields. The forest on the other side of the stream was full of animal trails. The Africans set snares for bushmeat. Monkeys raced through…

The short answer is no.

Drawing by author

When I was a brash young oceanography PhD student, forty years ago now, I walked into my supervisor’s office and stepped on some papers scattered on the floor. I bent down to pick them up, and was greeted by a terse “Leave them there!”. I asked what they were, and…

Stories from an exotic childhood

Photo by Marko Blazevic from Pexels

I grew up in a farmhouse full of books outside Nairobi, Kenya in a place that used to be called Karen, with the Ngong Hills in the distance behind a forested ridge. I loved my books of myths and legends, and especially the African tales where people could shape-shift into…

Sam McClatchie

Fisheries oceanographer. Former lead for the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations program at NOAA (2007-2018).

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