Study of shearwater populations
The impacts of fisheries on population status of shearwaters in New Zealand. A field programme and analysis of demographic data is underway to examine how one of the many shearwater species of New Zealand is faring, in the face of persistent threats to the population from fishing mortalities. We are field sampling populations in the Marlborough, Coromandel and Northland area. The work includes population estimation, satellite tracking and stable-isotope analyses.
Our shearwater field work - Read more on our blog
Evolutionary relationships between New Zealand seabirds
The evolutionary relationships of seabirds in the New Zealand region. We are studying the differences between species, in particular for shearwaters and prions, and comparing genetic make up of populations of these species from around New Zealand as well as between species.
Research on ancient animals
Describing species that occurred in New Zealand's ancient past, including a long-standing programme of palaeontological research at the rich Miocene St Bathans site in Otago. An international team working on material from this site has identified dozens of new species, including birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, molluscs and fish. Some of the more important fossils are the remains of a crocodilian, a giant turtle, bats, moa and many species of waterfowl. The on-going discoveries are greatly increasing our understanding of the origins and evolution of New Zealand's iconic fauna.
In the footsteps of Edgar Stead
Edgar Stead (1881-1949) was a Canterbury-based naturalist who was an astute observer of birds throughout New Zealand and its outlying islands. Many bird skins and eggs collected by Stead are held in the Te Papa collection, although the bulk of his collection was gifted to Canterbury Museum. Stead left detailed diaries of nine island visits, and these sites are being revisited 70-80 years later to document changes in bird, reptile and predator assemblages since Stead's time. This includes retaking Stead's historic images from the same photopoints as part of a project to publish his illustrated diaries alongside a biography of this talented New Zealander.
In the footsteps of Edgar Stead - Read our blog posts series
Vanuatu Petrel conservation
Te Papa curators Alan Tennyson and Colin Miskelly are working with an international team, led by Stephen Tottenam to describe and document the occurance of the Vanuatu Petrel, only recently discovered extant on the island of Vanua Lava, in Vanuatu.
Vanuatu Petrel conservation - Read more on our blog