A glow-in-the-dark limpet, a fierce-looking 'toe-biter' (which isn't fierce at all and would scarper at first sniff of your toe) and a mayfly that lacks a functioning mouth (and, not-surprisingly, lives as an adult for only a few days) are just some of the weird and wonderful critters to be found in New Zealand's 425,000 kilometres of streams and rivers.
NIWA scientists are featured in a new 13-part science television series on Maori Television.
The series - PROJECT MATAURANGA - looks at the growth of Maori worldviews within the scientific community, anda wide range of subjects including koura management in lakes, the risks associated with eating traditional kai, and sustainable wastewater management for marae.
How far and fast can aquatic insects travel upstream? Do the adults have to fly, or can the larvae crawl? A NIWA scientist is using obstacle courses to test the ability of fly larvae for upstream travel - a kind of flyathalon. This work will identify some of the barriers to stream restoration, including movement of insects as they recolonise restored areas.
Flying above the New Zealand coastline on cloudless days, you can sometimes see plumes of material-laden river water, much of it containing sediment from land runoff. Understanding where this material ends up will help assess the land use impacts on our vulnerable coastal ecosystems, and guide mitigation measures to reduce those impacts.
Recent research by NIWA scientists reveal that Blue Lake, in Nelson Lakes National Park, has extreme visual clarity, perhaps only exceeded worldwide by certain ocean waters, such as those in the SE Pacific near Easter Island.
John Clayton, a principal scientist in the fields of aquatic biodiversity and biosecurity based at NIWA's Hamilton office, has won a 2011 Kudos award for his leading role in the development of LakeSPI(Lake Submerged Plant Indicators).
A recent OECD report describes New Zealand's water quality as 'good' relative to most OECD countries but says that it is deteriorating. This deterioration is due, in large part, to diffuse pollution from agriculture, says Dr Kevin Parris of the Trade and Agriculture Directorate, OECD in Paris, France. Dr Parris is a plenary speaker at the DIPCON conference, in Rotorua.
Wetlands are like a sponge - they take in large amounts of water and "clean" it by processing out nutrients carried in the water that flows through them. These nutrients can include diffuse pollutants like nitrogen and phosphorous from farm runoff.
Water pollution is a global problem. The most challenging aspect of water pollution to solve is 'diffuse pollution' such as run-off from land surfaces. Diffuse Pollution is the most important source of pollution in New Zealand.
Exotic aquatic plants, introduced to New Zealand for the aquarium and ornamental pond trade, are silently invading our waterways, but new research by NIWA scientists is helping to lower this risk by finding native alternatives for the trade.
New research on the effectiveness of the herbicide endothall shows favourable results in the battle to rid lakes and rivers of New Zealand’s most invasive aquatic weeds, including hydrilla, hornwort and lagarosiphon (an oxygen weed).