Months in the mud leads to NIWA Science Fair success.
A Year 13 from Saint Kentigern College scooped top prizes at the 2023 NIWA South and East Auckland Science Fair for her project “Crab-a-dabra!".
Ivy Wang spent the last few months getting muddy as her project investigated NZ tunnelling mud crab abundance and distribution in mangrove areas.
Recognising that this small species has a great impact on ecosystem health, Ivy’s research explored the influence of sediment and pneumatophore properties of Mangroves on crab size and distribution in the Tamaki estuary.
“I wanted to have a better understanding of organism distribution in mangrove ecosystems, which may perhaps lead to better management of our estuaries. I hope my project can support estuarine management and improve NZ ecosystem conditions in the future,” said Ivy.
Ivy won First Place in the Year 11-13 Open Category, Best Use of Statistics Award, Best Innovation, Invention or Investigation by a Year 13, and the Premier Award for Best Exhibit of the Fair.
Her project did not come without its challenges involving extensive fieldwork, laboratory analysis and a long research and editing process.
“Every challenge that came up was a highlight! Reading countless papers, conducting tedious fieldwork, editing and typesetting. Because of them, I learnt research skills within academia and am constantly expanding my understanding, questioning my statements and achieving higher accuracy.”
“This fair fundamentally affirmed my aspiration to step into research in the future."
Auckland Science Fair coordinator and NIWA urban aquatic scientist Annette Semadeni-Davis was once again left impressed by the quality and level of engagement of the students involved.
“I have been coordinating science fairs in Auckland for over 10 years now and it always amazes me how enthusiastic and creative the kids can be and how responsive they are to the issues of the day, from testing whether light-proof milk bottles really do keep milk fresher a few years ago to numerous projects this year on flood risk management,” said Annette. This year’s NIWA South and East Auckland Science Fair was held on 25 August at Mission Heights Junior College.
Providing major sponsorship for many of the science fairs throughout New Zealand is part of NIWA’s long-term commitment to enhancing science and technology for young New Zealanders. NIWA is also a major sponsor of the Auckland City, Wellington, Bay of Plenty, Canterbury-Westland and Waikato Science and Technology Fairs.