On This Programme

The Tangaroa going into pack-ice in the Ross SeaOn Thursday 20 March, the research ship Tangaroa (pictured left) returned from a 51 day survey expedition in the Ross Sea. A team of scientists worked through the worst ice in 30 years to return with some extraordinary images and samples of deep sea life, including some new species.

Photo: Glen Walker, NZ IPY-CAML

They also gathered data on underwater ecosystems, which will be used to evaluate climate change and its effect on the South Seas. Amelia talks to scientists Julie Hall, Andrew Stewart and Malcolm Clark.

A predatory midwater fish with striking iridescent body and sapphire blue eyesA sea spider collected from the 285m on the Ross Sea shelf. These are predators of bryozoans and hydroids. They are more common and far larger in the Antarctic than anywhere else in the world's oceans. This specimen is 250mm across.

A daggertooth (left) and sea-spider (right) Photos: Peter Marriott, NZ IPY-CAML

Abundant sea pens and ophiuroids at 150mn depth adjacent to Scott Island.Brittle Stars and notothenoid fish at 150m depth adjacent to Scott Island

Sea pens, brittle stars and sea-floor skimming notothenoid fish at 150m depth adjacent to Scott Island. Photos: DTIS Camera, NZ IPY-CAML

Andrew Matus has devoted himself to the study of neuroplasticity: how connections in the brain change and adapt. He began his studies at the University of Auckland before moving overseas to the Fredrich Miescher Institute in Basel, Switzerland. In this programme Andrew talks with Dacia Herbulock about his life's work - over 40 years in the field of brain research - attempting to answer questions about molecules and the mind.

Click here to view timelapse footage (Quicktime required) of wriggling brain cells (dendritic spines) under a fluorescence microscope.

Boneless, and with regenerating teeth and aquadynamic skin - a quality that swimwear designers seek to replicate - the shark has long fascinated popular and scientific minds. Over 70 species of shark swim in New Zealand waters but we know very little about them. Shark expert Malcolm Francis is working to change that. In the first of a three part series, Amelia Nurse visits Malcolm at NIWA in Wellington to discuss which sharks live here, some of the salient aspects of their general design and whether they really want to eat her.

Seal shark jawPorbeagle shark teeth

Seal shark jaw(left)and Porbeagle shark teeth(right)

Frill shark teethFrill shark

Frill shark teeth