The Way Soil Organisms Look Can Help Us Understand Their Importance
There is a multitude of life forms on our planet. This is especially true under our feet, in the soil. Earthworms, spiders, and millipedes are only a few examples of the vast number of soil organisms. Once you look what lives in soils, you realize the tremendous diversity of shapes and colors. But what if we take the time to describe all their characteristics: color, size, shape, number of legs, type of wings, lifespan, and climate preferences? All these characteristics, called traits, help…
Nema and the Xenos
Nema and the Xenos by Ailsa Wild, Aviva Reed, Briony Barr, Gregory Crocetti, S. Patricia Stock published August 2019. The ISBN is 9781486312160. The publisher is CSIRO Publishing. Buy Nema and the Xenos from CSIRO PUBLISHING online.
In Defense of Biodiversity: Why Protecting Species from Extinction Matters
A number of biologists have recently made the argument that extinction is part of evolution and that saving species need not be a conservation priority. But this revisionist thinking shows a lack of understanding of evolution and an ignorance of the natural world.
Rongoā is the traditional Māori healing system. Rongoā is a holistic practice that often includes using the medicinal properties of New Zealand native plants.
Using rongoā Māori
Student Activity - Using rongoā Māori - In this activity, students learn about rongoā Māori (medicines that are produced from native plants in New Zealand) through a silent card game.
The plants harvested from Pa Harakeke Native Plant Nursery will in later years be used for their rongoā (medicinal) properties and in the making of natural medicines.
Flax fibres fight fungi
In the early 20th century, New Zealand’s flax industry was a significant money earner, supplying fibre for the world’s rope and linen trade, but the advent of non-renewable synthetic fibres made the more labour-intensive natural version all but redundant. Now, new research has uncovered a hitherto unknown property of our native flax Phormium tenax (harakeke). It has potentially valuable anti-fungal properties.
What is a plant?
What do you think of when asked to visualise a plant? Is it the feed crop growing in the paddock next door or a large kauri tree growing in a forest? Is it a tiny microscopic alga or the potted plant in your classroom? All these and more are indeed examples of plants!
INTERACTIVE - The life cycle of ferns is different from other land plants as both the gametophyte and the sporophyte phases are free living. This interactive illustrates the alternation of generations in ferns.
In this activity, students relate commonly eaten foods to different parts of the flowering plant life cycle. They use an interactive or paper-based graphic organiser.
DIY fern classification
In this activity, students use fern specimens or image cards to group species of ferns according to their physical structures (rhizomes, fronds and sporangia).
Landcare Research’s insect collection
The buildings of Landcare Research (Manaaki Whenua) in Tāmaki, Auckland, house an enormous range of preserved and live specimens of insects and other invertebrates. Why do the scientists value this collection so highly and what role does it play in conservation.