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with Alison Ballance & Ruth Beran
Thursdays 9 - 10pm
Rangatira Island, and a Chatham petrel marked temporarily with twink (images: A. Ballance)
Chatham petrels are one of the rarest seabirds in the world. By the end of the 1980s just eight breeding pairs were known on their only breeding site, Rangatira or South East Island. After two decades of active management the population is now estimated to be 1000 birds, with about 250 breeding pairs. The species declined during the farming era on Rangatira, when the island's forest was largely cleared, and although the forest has regenerated competition from broad-billed prions for breeding burrows is now the major threat.
In the second episode of the Chatham Island series Alison Ballance joins Department of Conservation seabird scientist Graeme Taylor, ranger Abi Liddy and NIWA's Matt Rayner as they check all known breeding burrows on Rangatira, to find out what measures are in place to safeguard Chatham petrel nests. The team are retrieving tiny data loggers that will show for the first time where Chatham petrels go to in their non-breeding season. As well, Alison discovers about wearing 'petrel boards' on a seabird island.
Abi Liddy holding a Chatham petrel, datalogger attached to leg of a petrel, and Graeme Taylor measuring a petrel egg (images: A. Ballance)
Because of they're extreme durability and toughness, high performance ceramics are used inside things like mixer taps in kitchens, in rotors sitting in the exhausts of expensive cars, and potentially even in body armour.
In particular, Ian Brown (right) and Bill Owers (left) are making materials called sialon, created from the elements silicon (Si), aluminium (Al), oxygen (O) and nitrogen (N). These ceramics are used in applications in the aluminium industry because of their ability to withstand the heat of molten metals.
Cicada expert Chris Simon splits her time between research on periodic cicadas in the United States, and on various cicada species in New Zealand. In part two of this cicada story, Alison Ballance is with Chris Simon in her Wellington garden, finding about the evolutionary history of cicadas in New Zealand, and about various aspects of their life cycle. Part one aired last week.
There are some great online cicada references: check out Chris Simon's Cicada Central, where you can see pictures and hear audio of cicada songs; Landcare Research has a virtual identification guide; and Te Ara also has lots of interesting information.
(image: Clive Ralph)
Eighteen year old Stan Roache (above) has won both the inaugural Prime Minister's Future Scientist Prize, as well as the Supreme Award in the Realise the Dream Competition, for his original work on the physics of light.
He has created mathematical models to predict why we see bands and rings when looking down a shiny metal tube, research which began when he competed in the 2009 International Young Physicists Tournament (IYPT). He believes that his modelling of why the rings start to distort when the viewer moves to the side of the tube is a world first, as does his former science teacher, Kent Hogan (right).
Stan Roache finished Year 13 at Onslow College last year and is now completing a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Physics, at the University of Auckland. His prize money of $50,000 will form a scholarship to pay for his tertiary studies.
Wellington's Carter Observatory is opening after a major refurbishment, and is having an open day this Saturday to show off its new planetarium and displays. More information is on their website.
A Chatham Island seabird island at night, poisonous plants in our gardens, hookworms and an artificial mouth.
Not all audio is available due to copyright restrictions.
Chatham petrels are one of the world's rarest seabirds, but simple innovative techniques have seen their numbers slowly recover (12′44″)
Using a nitrogen furnance, IRL's Ian Brown and Bill Owers are making high performance ceramics (12′52″)
In part two of the cicada story with Chris Simon, we find out about the evolutionary history of New Zealand's cicadas. (12′05″)
Stan Roache has won the inaugral Prime Minister's Future Scientist Prize for his original work on the physics of light (12′54″)
Produced and presented by Veronika Meduna, Ruth Beran & Alison Ballance
Each week Our Changing World features an eclectic mix of sound-rich stories about science, the environment and medical research, recorded around New Zealand in labs and in the field.
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