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Decline of the southern right whale – In the News

John Kerr posted in on March 17th, 2016.

New research tracking the rapid decline and slow recovery of New Zealand’s southern right whale population has been widely covered in the media. The study, published this week in the journal Open Science, combined records from historic whaling logbooks and new genetic data to estimate changes in the the whale population over the last two […]

NZ’s whales almost killed off – Expert Reaction

John Kerr posted in on March 17th, 2016.

Relentless whaling decimated New Zealand’s southern right whale population to just a fraction of pre-whaling numbers by the start of last century, finds a new study. An international team of researchers combined historical records from whaling logbooks with modern genetic data to determine that around 30,000 southern right whales swam in New Zealand’s waters before […]

Marine Protected Area definition too loose – Expert reaction

John Kerr posted in on August 28th, 2015.

Countries should move away from establishing ‘Marine Protected Areas’ (MPAs) with varying limits on fishing activity and focus on clear cut ‘no-take’ marine reserves, say New Zealand marine biologists. Prof Mark Costello and Dr Bill Ballantine from the University of Auckland’s Leigh Marine Lab outlined the argument in a new article published in the journal […]

Big marine conservation questions – NZ Herald

John Kerr posted in on March 3rd, 2015.

As part of a series on Seaweek 2015, New Zealand Herald science reporter Jamie Morten looks at the big questions in marine conservation. An excerpt (read in full here): Five key questions to saving sea creatures Nearly 10 per cent of our coastal marine area is now safeguarded by reserves. But are we really doing […]

Study tracks the secret life of sharks

John Kerr posted in on August 13th, 2014.

A ten year study peeking into the private lives of New Zealand sharks has answered some questions about where they travel and what they do, but also raised new ones, say researchers. The shark tagging and tracking project undertaken by NIWA and the Department of Conservation (DOC) has been running since 2005 and followed the […]

Maui’s dolphin extinction risk

Dacia Herbulock posted in on December 12th, 2013.

A major international conference on marine mammals in Dunedin this week has focused attention on efforts to halt the extinction of Maui’s dolphin, a subspecies unique to New Zealand waters. The Science Media Centre rounded up answers to questions aboutthe charismatic creature’s chances for survival from visiting speakers and participants in the event. Dr Barbara […]

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Giant squid a single global species

John Kerr posted in on March 22nd, 2013.

A new study comparing the DNA of a giant squid held at Te Papa with samples from 42 of its relatives from around the globe has revealed that mysterious sea creatures comprise a single, yet extremely spread out, species. Very little is known about the enigmatic giant squid, with most of our knowledge gleaned from […]

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Whale strandings no family affair – research

John Kerr posted in on March 15th, 2013.

A new study questions the hypothesis that mass whale strandings are the result of family members coming to the aid of their beached kin. Researchers from New Zealand, the US and Australia used genetic data to investigate family links between almost 500 long-finned pilot whales involved in a number of mass strandings in New Zealand […]

‘World’s rarest whale’ found in New Zealand

John Kerr posted in on November 7th, 2012.

DOC workers who spent their New Year’s Eve examining two odd-looking whales stranded on a New Zealand beach can be forgiven for not immediately identifying the species as the incredibility rare spade-toothed beaked whale; it was the first time the species had ever been seen. A study published this week in the journal Current Biology […]

Earth’s oceans in dire state

John Kerr posted in on June 24th, 2011.

The New Zealand Herald‘s Isaac Davison writes about the report released by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO). The result of an interdisciplinary workshop, the report states that there will disaterous consequences if immediate action is taken to reduce the stresses placed on marine ecosystems. SciBlogger Gareth Renowden has also covered […]

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