Alert Newsletter 707

1. Writers and Readers Week: keynote address by Tim Flannery, 9 March

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear Tim Flannery, internationally acclaimed scientist, explorer and environmentalist tomorrow (Friday) night.

Few are more passionate or knowledgeable about the natural world than 2007 Australian of the Year Tim Flannery. He is chairman of the Copenhagen Climate Council and has written over a dozen books including his award-winning bestsellers The Future Eaters: An Ecological History of the Australasian Lands and People and The Weather Makers: The History and Future Impact of Climate Change. His more recent Here On Earth: An Argument for Hope charts the history of life on our planet and is an extraordinary exploration of evolution and sustainability. Tim Flannery’s session is hosted by David Young.

When: Friday 9 March 6.30 – 7.30pm

Where: Wellington Town Hall

Tickets: $33

2. Call for papers on wind energy and wildlife for a special issue of the New Zealand Journal of Zoology

The use of wind energy as an alternative to fossil fuels has increased worldwide in recent years. It currently accounts for some 4.2% of New Zealand’s energy generation, predicted to rise to 20% by 2030. However, some research has shown negative effects of wind turbines on both bats and birds. It is timely to consider the evidence for wider impacts of the burgeoning wind energy industry. In this special issue we seek New Zealand and international contributions that will encourage a better dialogue and understanding of how wind energy developments affect wildlife.

The New Zealand Journal of Zoology is pleased to issue this call for papers for an upcoming special issue focusing on this topic. We welcome papers on any aspect of wind energy and wildlife, including:

  • Effects on birds, particularly migratory and predatory species ; 
  • Effects on bats;
  • Effects on other animals;
  • Modelling;
  • Mitigation.

Submissions of manuscripts up to 5,000 words can be made directly to our ScholarOne online portal at:

The deadline for submissions is 1 July 2012.

Please see our Information for Authors for full details of how to prepare submissions:

Please direct any enquiries to Dr Stuart Parsons:

3. Rotorua Branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand Lectures

(a) Tuesday, 13 March – Dr Mike Joy, Massey University in conjunction with Forest & Bird

“New Zealand’s 100% pure delusion – The inconvenient realty”

Dr Mike Joy is a Senior Lecturer in Ecology and Environmental Science at the Ecology group-Institute of Natural Resources, Massey University, Palmerston North. He researches and teaches freshwater ecology, especially freshwater fish ecology and distribution, ecological modelling bioassessment and environmental science. He is a director of the Massey University Centre for Freshwater Ecosystem Modelling and Management.

Dr Joy is an outspoken advocate for environmental protection in New Zealand and has received a number of awards including “ecologist of the year” from the NZ ecological Society, and an “old blue” award from the Royal Forest and Bird protection Society.

He will give the facts on New Zealand‟s environmental reality, facts that are hidden from most New Zealanders. He will discuss the reasons for this, what the declines will cost us if we don’t change and what we need to do to see some improvement.

(b) Tuesday, 27 March – 2012 Cockayne Memorial Lecture

Professor Kevin Gould, School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington


“Ever green but seeing red? Deciphering the palette of New Zealand’s flora”

New Zealand’s forests are not renowned for exuberant displays of vermilion. Cockayne himself commented that the “beautiful coloration of leaves exhibited by many trees of the Northern Hemisphere cannot be expected in a vegetation whose trees are nearly all evergreen.” Nevertheless, the same pigments that adorn the dying leaves of deciduous trees are abundant in shoots and roots throughout our flora, and these have begun to yield intriguing scientific stories. Far from being an extravagance without a purpose, the crimsons, carmines, purples and pinks have been implicated in a variety of vital functions, and are currently attracting keen attention from scientists worldwide. In some instances, the pigments serve as visual signals that warn approaching herbivores that the plants are well defended. In others, they effectively camouflage shoots against the background colours of the forest understory. Red pigments also appear to protect plants from the onslaught of numerous environmental stressors such as strong light, UVB, drought, and free radical attacks. Professor Gould’s talk will use interactive digital technologies and involve audience participation to unravel these unique New Zealand stories.

4. FUSIONZ website for science, technology, humanities jobs

This week, Fusionz has 1 vacancy for a job. The latest job is:

Molecular Scientist – Section Head at Labtests, Auckland

For more information and to list your vacancy –

5. New  Lincoln University Vice-Chancellor appointed

Lincoln University Chancellor, Tom Lambie, announced this week the appointment of Dr Andrew West CRSNZ – former Chief Executive of AgResearch Ltd and current Adjunct Professor of AgriBusiness at the University of Waikato – as the new Vice-Chancellor of New Zealand’s specialist land-based university. Dr West will take up the position of Vice-Chancellor from 16 April.

Dr Andrew West comes to the University from a career spanning education, science and innovation, agriculture, process manufacturing and tourism.  Dr West has been particularly influential in his roles as leader of the Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences Ltd (GNS) and latterly AgResearch Ltd.  As Chief Executive of these highly acclaimed organisations, Dr West focused particularly on wealth creation and environmental management, working extensively with the oil, gas, minerals, seafood, dairy, meat, wool, agritechnology and biotechnology industries, and firms therein, including overseeing mergers and acquisitions. 

Dr West’s achievements have been recognised by his peers and others, as noted by the awarding of the Thomson Medal for sustained and outstanding contributions to the development of science and technology, and its application to wealth generation in New Zealand from the Royal Society of New Zealand (2008); an Honorary Fellowship of Waikato Institute of Technology (2009); and, most recently, a Companionship of the Royal Society of New Zealand (2010).

6. Workshops on best practice in managing research contracts

A series of professional development workshops and forums for research managers and administrators is scheduled throughout New Zealand for the year. The first workshop, on ‘Best practice in managing research contracts’, starts from mid April and continues in main centres through to late May. Other research management topics follow.

RaDMAN’s “The Business of Research” series is targeted at a range of roles in public and private organisations, all of whom will engage in the management or administration of research.

Details of the schedule of workshops, and on-line registrations, can be found at:

7. IRL Industry and Outreach Fellowship awarded

IRL has appointed Professor Juliet Gerrard, a biochemist and leader in the industrial application of biochemistry in New Zealand as its second Industry and Outreach Fellow.

IRL’s Industry and Outreach Fellowships have been established as part of IRL’s drive to strengthen links between the research and high-value manufacturing organisations.  The Fellowships attract leaders from the research sector into IRL to develop areas of scientific research and assist with their application to industry.

Professor Gerrard, who runs the Biomolecular Interaction Centre at the University of Canterbury, has held a number of significant positions in recognition of her scientific work and has recently been appointed Chair of the Marsden Council.

IRL Industry and Outreach Fellows are initially appointed for a five-year term and are mandated to resolve industry-related problems while building links between research institutions and business.

IRL’s first fellowship was awarded to Professor Shaun Hendy, who is building a complex system modelling group at IRL with the aim of characterising, modelling and understanding the New Zealand innovation ecosystem and its relationship with the world economy.

8. Café Scientifique—Lower Hutt

Thursday, 29 March 2012, 6 pm to 7.30 pm,

Wholly Bagels, Myrtle St, Lower Hutt

How did you sleep last night? – Sleep disorders and how they change during our lives

Many of us suffer from sleep disturbances at some point in our life, and poor sleep not only causes daytime sleepiness but also affects our mood, memory and daytime functioning.  These changes can contribute to other medical conditions as well as increasing the risk of accidents, especially as we age.

Disturbed sleep typically increases as we get older. Trouble getting to sleep, daytime sleepiness, and awakenings in the night all become more frequent for a variety of physiological and psychosocial reasons. Pre-existing medical conditions and medications can also affect our sleep, and the chances of having a clinical sleep disorder increase with age.

For people with dementia (such as caused by Alzheimer’s disease), sleep problems are even more exacerbated and disruptive in nature.  Such disturbances often contribute to the waking symptoms of dementia and disturb the sleep of carers.

Please come and hear Rosie Gibson, a Doctoral Candidate at the Sleep/Wake Research Centre, Massey University, and learn about sleep disorders, and also how these can change with age.

9. Our Changing World, Thursday 9.00 pm, Radio New Zealand National

Alison Ballance, Veronika Meduna and Ruth Beran email Tel (04) 474 1910.

To mark Seaweek, Alison Ballance heads to lower Portobello Bay on the Otago Peninsula with Professor Robert Poulin FRSNZ from the University of Otago. Robert and his team study the flatworm parasites that infect intertidal species such as cockles and mud snails, and they are investigating the role of these abundant parasites in the marine ecosystem.

Landcare Research ecologist Colin Meurk takes Veronika Meduna on a tour of the award-winning display he designed for the Ellerslie International Flower Show, to demonstrate how Christchurch could be rebuilt from the rubble.

New satellite data suggest significant changes in cloud height may play a part in cooling the planet, but despite this, more questions than answers still remain, as University of Auckland’s Roger Davies tells Justin Gregory.

When the University of Otago was working towards getting a 5-Star Green Star rating for its new Department of Psychology building it asked botanist Janice Lord to advise on creating a roof garden planted with local native plants. Alison Ballance visits the ‘secret garden’ to see how it’s getting on after two years.

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