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Scientific Snippets – Various Speakers

07/06/2019 at 10:00 am - 11:30 am


Fascinated by science and the way our world works? Like variety? Then this course is for you. Speakers from quite different backgrounds will give us insights into their specialist subjects. – 4 Friday sessions

7 June Īnanga: for the life and love of whitebait – Kirsty Brennan

How old is an adult īnanga? Why do īnanga need to know about the tides? What makes a good ‘Love Zone’? Christchurch’s rivers are well known for plentiful spawning habitat for īnanga (one of the 5 species of whitebait). EOS Ecology are a local science and engagement company who have been engaging young people about īnanga and promoting action. Come along to hear about the intriguing īnanga life cycle, their habitat and threats. Maybe you will have some action ideas to discuss.

14 Jun Agriculture and the future of life on earth – Craig Anderson

Are the techno-utopia futurists drinking the kool-aid? What is appropriate technology? The environment-energy-economy nexus is quickly coalescing around us and it should be obvious that our future is uncertain. This broad-brush presentation will attempt to rationally frame some intractable problems in order to stimulate discussion about where our actual future might be heading and how transformations in agriculture could contribute to navigating this difficult transition. We need to imagine paths that can reconnect society ecologically, which are grounded here and now, and are achievable with proven ideas we can immediately deploy. Trained in geology and microbiology, Craig has undertaken research in areas as diverse as nuclear waste management to coastal ocean microbial ecology. Currently, Craig is a scientist for the Cropping Systems and Environment group at Plant and Food Research (PFR) in Lincoln. He is passionate about environmental renewal and trying to decipher the microscopic foundations underlying earth’s ecosystems.

21 Jun What’s in a teaspoonful of seawater? – Paul Broady

There can’t be much can there? But we’re talking about extremely small microbes and some very large numbers are involved. Life in the ocean is dominated by microbes so even in a very small volume there are many different types. The total number of individuals easily surpasses the human population of Christchurch. Also, different microbes perform different functions in the complex ecological webs of interaction that are active at this tiny scale. Of course, the products of human populations can now also be found. The list is long: greenhouse gases, complex chemical pollutants and micro-plastics are some of the more important. It is urgent that we prevent further accumulation of these, otherwise the microbes will be increasingly affected. Then there would be implications for all larger animals including shrimps, fish, seabirds, whales and us.

28 Jun Soil microbiology and the amazing interconnectedness of nature – Craig Anderson

What happens at the scale of an atom can influence what happens at the scale of global climate. This presentation delves into the science of discovering how plants can influence the function of soil microbes and unravels some surprising discoveries on how those same plants are indirectly involved with altering soil microbial ecology after being eaten and processed by animals. By understanding how microbes process nitrogen in the environment and bolting on knowledge of plant and animal physiology we have learnt how to improve one aspect of farm sustainability right through to the scale of global climate.


10:00 am - 11:30 am
Event Category:


59 Gloucester St
Christchurch, New Zealand
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Canterbury WEA
03 3660285