> nerd nite 28: scales, feathers and shells

nerd nite 28: scales, feathers and shells

Image of tuatara, kea and carnivorous snail

Image credits: Tuatara – Anna Carter, VUW
Kea, Nga Manu, Waikanae, Wellington, New Zealand, 15 April 2006 – PhillipC, Wikimedia Commons
Powelliphanta augusta, previously known as Powelliphanta “Augustus” photographed in Happy Valley, New Zealand – Alan Liefting, Wikimedia Commons

Tuatara! Kea! Carnivorous snails! Squeeeeee!

NZ has some awesome endemic – found only here – critters. We figured we’d start a whole series dedicated to them, and the people here who research and work with them.

Et voila! Endemic Critters of NZ – Vol I.This very special edition will be taking place at:

  • Hotel Bristol
  • 6pm (speakers to start at 6:30pm)
  • Monday 18 May 2015

As always, seating may run out, so don’t rock up at 6:30pm expecting to get a decent seat – or one at all.

nerd nite wellington 28 poster

Poster! Click to enlarge and print out for your school/workplace/laboratory/lair.

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THE LINEUP

Discovering the world of Kea
Daniela Biaggio, Conservation Manager, Wellington Zoo

The noteworthy Kea is the only alpine parrot in the world. Their curiosity and intelligence have allowed them to find food in the harsh alpine landscape. Discover their world and how they have gone from bounty hunted to an at risk species and what we can do to keep these nerdy birds around.

Daniela Biaggio has an MSc in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Toronto. She is the Conservation Manager at Wellington Zoo and is passionate about developing effective holistic conservation. An Argentinean by birth, Daniela has been lucky enough to live and work in some extraordinary places from the tropical forest of Costa Rica, to wild Tanzania and challenging Bangladesh. She is often found calling attention to overlooked species as she did at the Evolutionarily Distinct Globally endangered (EDGE) project in the UK or working with bats and spiders. Since arriving in New Zealand almost two years ago she has fallen in love with New Zealand’s native fauna.
NZ land snails & slugs – high diversity and endemism
Karin Mahlfeld, Honorary Research Associate, Te Papa Tongarewa

Karin will be talking is about global and local diversity of landsnails and conservation issues. Squishy and slimy, slugs and snails have an image problem when it comes to public attitude and conservation. They deserve better!

Karin became interested in NZ micro-snails in the late 1980. She did her MSc and PhD on snail topics, freelances in science education and conservation and runs pop-up labs on invertebrates.

 

Finding a flat in Wellington…or predicting sex ratios of tuatara populations
Anna Carter, Victoria University of Wellington

As humans, we think about climate change on a global scale. But most species on Earth inhabit a microclimate space that is very small, relative to continental or global models. So how can ecologists translate broad-scale climate change into predictions that are relevant for the conservation of other species? In fact, the most cutting-edge microclimate models predict future environmental conditions utilising the same basic algorithms that university students employ when flat-hunting in Wellington.

Anna will talk about using some of these computational tools to predict how global climate warming could impact offspring sex ratios in tuatara, a New Zealand-endemic reptile with temperature-dependent sex determination.

Anna is a conservation ecologist, who enjoys the weather in Wellington so much that she decided to stick around after finishing her PhD at Victoria University. Her choices of nerd-ness are based primarily on being able to make maps with lots of pretty colours.

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As always, NNW is free and open to everyone*. Bring your friends and family – someone to share a meal with, definitely, as there are some great 2 for 1 specials on the menu.

* Who behaves themselves, of course. Naughtiness will be stamped on. Hard.

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