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Friends Annual Research Grants 2022

Friends Annual Research Grants 2022

Congratulations to our first two recipients! We are delighted to be able to assist in facilitating research projects, and also in supporting the mentoring and scholarship of those who gain experience towards their future careers as assistants on these projects.

Are we unknowingly allowing disease carrying mosquitoes to breed at our borders? – How Te Papa’s collection can help!

Julia Kasper & Anton Hovius (as part of his summer research scholarship at Te Papa and with assistance from Prof. Peter Dearden’s lab at Otago University), from the Natural History – Invertebrates Research area.

Subject: Health, Mosquitoes as disease vector, population DNA, Biosecurity. The Southern House mosquito (Culex quinquefasciatus) is known to transmit a number of nasty diseases worldwide, such as dengue, elephantiasis, and avian malaria, effecting humans and birds. This species is already established in New Zealand, but while the severe mosquito borne diseases are absent, it can be considered an invasive species as it is spreading across the country.

Outcomes: This project, resulting in a new protocol, published in a peer reviewed journal, will be used to support future biosecurity policy recommendations. Furthermore, the improvement of techniques used by the National Mosquito surveillance program will minimise, if not eliminate, the risk highly vector competent mosquito strains pose to New Zealand.

Augustus Hamilton’s fossil collection

Rodrigo Salvador & Alan Tennyson from the Natural History,Palaeontology Research area. The grant is being used to support a part-time intern, Melanie Ioane-Warren, to write up the results of the project in the form of an academic paper

Subject: Augustus Hamilton (1853–1913), amassed a significant collection of fossils over his career. While he published much of his research at the time and incorporated a large part of his collected material in the Colonial Museum’s collection, over a thousand fossils still remained uncatalogued and unidentified.

Outcomes: making the collection visible and available to the research community and the public. The manuscript will be prepared for submission to the in-house research journal, Tuhinga. Intern Melanie has already written a post for Te Papa’s blog explaining the project and its methods.