Our Changing World for Thursday 24 December 2009
Godwits at Foxton Beach - Part 2
Removing godwits from the net; Phil Battley holding a godwit; processing the birds. (Images: A. Ballance)
Last week on Our Changing World, Alison Ballance joined Massey University's Jesse Conklin and Phil Battley, and a team of shorebird experts, in a mission to cannon net bar-tailed godwits at the Manawatu Estuary. In part two of that story the cannons are fired, and the team discover how many data loggers they are able to retrieve from 24 godwits carrying them. They are especially interested in four birds that have carried the data loggers for two seasons.
Don't forget that Keith Woodley's new book 'Godwits: long haul champions' (Penguin Books) is a great source of information about bar-tailed godwits, and that the Asia Pacific Shorebird Network encourages international co-operation in the study and conservation of shorebirds.
Jesse Conklin removing a data logger, and data logger showing the light sensor. (Images: A. Ballance)
Remembering Future Events
Donna Rose Addis (left) and Victoria Martin (right) from the University of Auckland are looking brain activity to determine whether the same region of the brain, the hippocampus, which is known to be associated with memory and the past, is also responsible for imagining future events. Their research may have implications for people with conditions which effect memory like Alzheimer's disease and amnesia.
Ruth Beran went to meet them, and in the process undertook a modified version of their trial.
Maths and Calcium
At the University of Auckland, a mathematician is doing something rather unusual…for a mathematician. James Sneyd, with a team of others including Merryn Tawhai, is trying to work out what happens in the asthmatic lung. In particular he is interested in how calcium levels (pdf) relate to contractions in smooth muscle and also to saliva secretion. Using large computational models, he is helping experimentalists better understand biology. Ruth Beran meets him in his office to find out more.
Asian Paddle Crabs - Ocean Science Series part 7
In the final story from the University of Auckland's Leigh Marine Laboratory, Amy Fowler introduces Alison Ballance to two species of paddle crab. Most people will be familiar with the native paddle crab Ovalipes catharus (above left), but in 2000 an introduced species, the Asian paddle crab, Charybdis japonica (above right; images: A. Ballance), was discovered around Auckland. This new species is much more aggressive than the native species, and Amy Fowler is investigating aspects of its biology and breeding behaviour, as well as its interactions with the native species, to try and understand its potential impact.