Vol.15 No.1- March 2007

Though ozone declines have slowed globally (and in some cases have ceased), here in New Zealand we’re still subject to very high levels of UV radiation and must take care when we go out in the sun. Read about the latest WMO/UNEP ozone assessments.

In this issue

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    National Climate Centre

    NIWA has seven National Centres established to help identify the products and services we offer and improve access to them. Each produces regular newsletters that are freely available from our website: www.niwascience.co.nz or in printed form. Please contact us to subscribe to the newsletters or to enquire about our products and services.
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    Land-based polyculture for coastal Māori

    PDF of this article (276 KB)
    The coastal site near Plimmerton managed by HDT. (Photo: Sheryl Miller)
    Paua growth rate and weight gains from the pilot system.
    Paua and blue mussels. (Photos: Mike Cunningham, Sheryl Miller)
    Karengo and sea cucumber. (Photos: Wendy Nelson, Niki Davey)
    Sharyn Williams (HDT) emerges from the nearly completed polyculture building. (Photo: Sheryl Miller)
    Inside, Tama Parata (HDT) puts the finishing touches on the paua tray stands.
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    Does seagrass contribute to marine biodiversity?

    PDF of this article (267 KB)
    Seagrass sampling sites in the upper North Island.
    A flock of swan foraging in seagrass as the tide retreats. (Photo: Greig Funnel)
    Cockles in the intertidal flat. (Photo: Drew Lohrer)
    Worm mounds and tubes create areas for animals to feed and hide out. (Photo: Greig Funnel)
    Seagrass meadow at low tide. (Photo: Greig Funnel)
    In looking at biodiversity, marine ecologists at NIWA have compared seagrass meadows and patches with nearby unvegetated areas.
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    Fish-finding with statistical models

    PDF of this article (230 KB)
    Now and then: the statistical models can be used to map where a species is found today and where it would have lived 150 years ago, before major modification of the landscape.
    John Leathwick has mined NIWA’s New Zealand Freshwater Fish Database and modelled the statistical likelihood of finding fish A in stream B.
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    1. Climate scientists making a difference - New Year Honours

    PDF of this article (128 KB)
    Climate scientists making a difference
    It was an impressive line-up at a recent climate change seminar in Wellington – and not just because the speakers ‘walked the walk’ by travelling to the event by bike and train.
    The seminar, hosted by Victoria University and the Royal Society, was an opportunity for an influential audience to hear the headline results of the latest report from Working Group 1 of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
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    2. New atmospheric science laboratory in Antarctica - Icebergs ahoy! - Customary Coastal Management Workshop

    PDF of this article (125 KB)
    Calibrating the Dobson spectrophotometer in the new building. (Photo: Stephen Wood)
    The new laboratory (at right) replaced the small green building at left (now removed).
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    3. Tagging sea cucumbers - What the...?

    PDF of this article (136 KB)
    Tagging sea cucumbers
    NIWA is working with the mussel farming industry to trial ‘multi-trophic co-culture’, a system where several species are raised together in ecological balance. One species is fed and the others live off the dissolved or particulate nutrients in the surrounding water.
    In our design, feed is added for finfish; their faeces and any food that they miss are available for filtration by mussels; dissolved nutrients are soaked up by cultured seaweed, which in turn is food for sea urchins for roe enhancement.
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    4. New scientist - Back to school for NIWA - Training at NIWA

    PDF of this article (115 KB)
    A deep–sea crab specimen examined during a visit to NIWA. (Photo: Alan Blacklock)
    New scientist
    Meet budding marine scientist Nathaniel Manning. This keen 12–year-old won the junior prize in the QTV online science quiz. The prize? Five days in the Bay of Islands studying bottlenose dolphins with Auckland University scientist Kirsty Russell.
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    The 2006 WMO/UNEP ozone assessments: what they mean for New Zealand

    PDF of this article (708 KB)
    Estimated global development of ozone-depleting substances, their impact on global mean ozone and UV radiation.
    The Antarctic ozone hole compared with stratospheric chlorine.
    Our close proximity to the Antarctic ozone hole and our high rate of skin cancer justify New Zealanders’ concern about ozone depletion and its effects on UV radiation.
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    Tracing the sources of air pollution in New Zealand

    PDF of this article (236 KB)
    Early morning air pollution in Masterton, July 2004.
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    Matt Smith dives into his work

    PDF of this article (132 KB)
    Matt inspects one of the artificial seagrass units. (Photo: Crispin Middleton)
    A freshly placed ASU (above) and after the spotties have moved in.
    Photos: Crispin Middleton
    Raised and educated in Auckland, Matt Smith has parlayed his love of the outdoors into a job that features lots of fieldwork and some unusual diving opportunities. These days his work at NIWA in Auckland encompasses fisheries research, marine ecology, and biosecurity.
    Were you always interested in science?
    I wasn’t one of those kids who decide to be a scientist at year dot.
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    Finding the role of Antarctic toothfish in the Ross Sea ecosystem

    PDF of this article (233 KB)
    Preliminary results from a ‘mass balance’ model which is being used to bring together information on food and feeding relationship in the Ross Sea.
    Antarctic toothfish (top right) and its main prey in the Ross Sea.
    Matt Pinkerton, Stuart Hanchet, and Janet Bradford-Grieve have been piecing together the puzzle of Antarctic ecology to understand the potential effects of fishing for Antarctic toothfish.
    The icy waters of Antarctica support unique and complex marine ecosystems.
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    Comparing seagrass meadows across New Zealand

    PDF of this article (274 KB)
    Catch of the day: juvenile snapper from the seagrass meadows at Rangaunu Harbour. (Photo: Paul Buisson, DOC)
    Sampling intertidal seagrass on the rocky reef at Gisborne. (Photo: Jacquie Reed)
    Diving on a seagrass bed. (Photo: Glen Carbines)
    NIWA scientists are on a mission to discover the role and importance of seagrass in New Zealand marine ecosystems.
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    Environmental forensics: cracking the case of the contaminated streams

    PDF of this article (262 KB)
    Some PAHs (left to right): naphthalene, phenanthrene, pyrene, and benzo(a)pyrene.
    Coring a sample from a Christchurch road. Back in the lab, the different layers of seal are clearly visible in a section of the core. (Photos: Michael Ahrens)
    Unique fingerprints: comparison of the PAHs in a bitumen layer and a tar seal layer.
    Why are some urban streams more highly contaminated than others?
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    Using Water & Atmosphere in your classroom

    PDF of this article (55 KB)
    One of NIWA’s aims with this magazine is to contribute to science education in New Zealand. To this end we distribute Water & Atmosphere without charge to New Zealand high schools. Articles are assigned ‘Curriculum Connections’ to indicate which of the NZ NCEA Achievement or Unit Standards they can complement as a classroom resource.