Our Changing World for Thursday 31 May 2007
On This Programme
To mark the thirtieth anniversary of New Zealand's first marine reserve at Cape Rodney, Goat Island, Dean Williams visits with Bill Ballantine, a marine biologist, grassroots activist and marine reserve campaigner.
New Zealand's landscape is buckling and twisting under the strain along the tectonic plate boundary running through our country. Geophysicists are using GPS measurements to map the pressure along the fault lines as it warps the ground under our feet. Dacia Herbulock talks to John Beavan of GNS Science about his findings, and how they are shaping our understanding of future earthquake probabilities.
On 28 May, the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) announced that field testing of genetically modified brassicas will go ahead. Dean Williams speaks with ERMA's General Manager for New Organisms, Libby Harrison, about the decision.
There is a chronic shortage of midwives in New Zealand, and the workforce is aging. Louise Wallace interviews Jackie Gunn of the Midwifery Development and Education Service at Auckland University of Technology about their initiative to train new midwives by offering opportunities for clinical practice.
Coming Up In Our Next Programme
In recent years, scientists have learned many surprising things about the development of egg cells in mammals. These discoveries have important implications for the study of fertility, and the influence of environmental toxins on reproductive success. Ken McNatty, a recently appointed professor of biology at Victoria University, has devoted his career to advancing our understanding of the mammalian egg. He talks to Dacia Herbulock about what we know now, and what remains to be discovered.
This week, the first ever archeological evidence of Polynesian contact with South America appeared in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Using radiocarbon dating and DNA evidence, researchers at the University of Auckland have proven that a chicken bone from Chile predates the arrival of European explorers, and that it is genetically similar to chickens found on Polynesian islands. Alice Storey, a PhD student in archeology and lead author of the paper, explains the significance of her results.
The Royal Forest and Bird Society are claiming that set nets are responsible for more than 70% of all known deaths of the endangered Hector's Dolphins and have called for a nationwide ban. Justin Gregory talks to advocate Kirstie Knowles, Hector's Dolphin specialist Professor Liz Slooten and Simon Banks from DOC about this threat to one of our iconic species.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder is a syndrome of ongoing anxiety and worry about events, which is excessive and inappropriate. Christopher Gale and his colleague Oliver Davidson have recently published a paper in the British Medical Journal on this condition, and they found that the criteria for making a diagnosis might need changing. Christopher Gale speaks to Louise Wallace from Dunedin.
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