Past seminars

Listen to past seminars by the School of Biological Sciences.

Trimester 1 seminars

Imagination in action: a retrospective roadmap to restoration success

15 June 2021

Speaker: Danielle Shanahan (Director, Zealandia Centre for People and Nature)

Zealandia has had its sights on removing tens of thousands of introduced fish from Roto Kawau/the lower reservoir since the early 90’s, but it has taken till last week to get the job done. How does one go about turning such a big idea into a reality? In this talk I will look at the many dimensions of such projects; from the critical points of potential failure through to identifying the opportunities that enable significant, world-leading, conservation gains.

Environmental genetics for biodiversity, biosecurity and monster hunting

01 June 2021

Speaker: Neil Gemmell (Sesquicentennial Distinguished Chair, University of Otago)

Environmental DNA, or eDNA, is found in the smorgasbord of organic materials left behind by living things as they pass through their environment. This trace material is increasingly being used to make sense of previously hard to study species, communities, and ecosystems on land, in the air, and in the water. In marine systems we are testing the power of eDNA approaches for rapid and accurate assessments of biodiversity and ecosystem health—key enablers of ecosystem-based management. In this talkI will discuss our experiences and findings in applying eDNA, the prospects for using this to monitor our natural systems, as well as the occasional monster hunt.