6 May 2017

Biology of disruption: Kaikōura's marine life adapts

From This Way Up, 12:25 pm on 6 May 2017

November's 7.8 magnitude earthquake centred near Kaikōura in the South Island had a devastating impact on many local communities.

Other species weren't immune to the damage and upheaval created by the quake, either.

Huge numbers of paua and crayfish died off as their tidal habitat was lifted up, transformed and exposed to the elements.

A few days after the quake, Australian marine scientist Ceridwen Fraser arrived in New Zealand to start studying these transformed ecosystems. 

She recently returned to Kaikōura to find that some marine life, especially kelp and other seaweeds, are rebounding.

The adversity they've had to overcome could actually be giving them a genetic boost for the future, she says.