30 Nov 2017

Plants from Cook's first voyage show change in CO2

11:24 am on 30 November 2017

A new study of James Cook's botanical collection confirm changes to carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere 250 years after his first exploration of New Zealand.

James Cook

The study used plants James Cook collected on the Endeavour's 1769 journey. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Plants collected on the Endeavour's journey in 1769 have been compared to new samples, revealing a significant transformation to the earth's climate.

Unitec Associate Professor Mark Large said it's the first time it's the first a study like this has been done in this part of the world due to a scarcity of old collected plant materials.

"It's interesting to actually see this effect is going on in the Southern Hemisphere as well as the Northern Hemisphere," he said.

Large said it's been great privilege to handle the same material James Cook had collected more than two centuries ago.

"If you're looking for old materials, Cook's collection is it," he said.