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Susan Waugh, Senior Curator Sciences, manages the science and natural history programme for the museum. Her personal field of expertise is in seabird population and ecology, currently prompting her to ask…” What affects breeding decision and life-history strategy in the Westland Petrel, an endemic NZ seabird: Why breed slowly and live long?”
Lara Shepherd, Researcher Genetics, reminisces about seeing Jurassic Park as a high school student and the impact that had on her choice of career. At Te Papa she is using genetic techniques, including analysing ancient DNA from the museum’s collections, to study the evolution of New Zealand’s flora and fauna, and will be talking about the significance of some recent discoveries.
Colin Miskelly, Curator Vertebrates, is an ornithologist with broad interests, including conservation ecology, biogeography and the history of science. An expert in bird identification, his research drove the creation of the website New Zealand Birds Online. The vertebrates that have caught his attention lately though are seals, specifically Antarctic seals in New Zealand waters. How and why did a crab eater seal from Antarctica end up in Island Bay on Wellington’s south coast?
Image credits: Westland petrel. Banded adult in flight showing upper wing. Kaikoura pelagic, January 2013. nzbirdsonline.org.nz © Colin Miskelly by Colin Miskelly. Scientist photographs by Norm Heke, Te Papa.