Environment Waikato

Hamilton, New Zealand

Environment Waikato

Hamilton, New Zealand
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David B.O.,Environment Waikato | Hamer M.P.,Environment Waikato | Collier K.J.,Environment Waikato | Collier K.J.,University of Waikato | And 5 more authors.
New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research | Year: 2010

The New Zealand fish fauna contains species that are affected not only by river system connectivity, but also by catchment and local-scale changes in landcover, water quality and habitat quality. Consequently, native fish have potential as multi-scale bioindicators of human pressure on stream ecosystems, yet no standardised, repeatable and scientifically defensible methods currently exist for effectively quantifying their abundance or diversity in New Zealand stream reaches. Here we report on the testing of a back-pack electrofishing method, modified from that used by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, on a wide variety of wadeable stream reaches throughout New Zealand. Seventy-three first- to third-order stream reaches were fished with a single pass over 150-345m length. Time taken to sample a reach using single-pass electrofishing ranged from 1-8 h. Species accumulation curves indicated that, irrespective of location, continuous sampling of 150 stream metres is required to accurately describe reach-scale fish species richness using this approach. Additional species detection beyond 150m was rare (<10%) with a single additional species detected at only two out of the 17 reaches sampled beyond this distance. Apositive relationship was also evident between species detection and area fished, although stream length rather than area appeared to be the better predictor. The method tested provides a standardised and repeatable approach for regional and/or national reporting on the state of New Zealand's freshwater fish communities and trends in richness and abundance over time.

Van Delden H.,Research Institute for Knowledge Systems | Phyn D.,Environment Waikato | Fenton T.,Alchemist | Huser B.,Environment Waikato | And 2 more authors.
Modelling for Environment's Sake: Proceedings of the 5th Biennial Conference of the International Environmental Modelling and Software Society, iEMSs 2010 | Year: 2010

The importance of user interaction for the design and development of Decision Support Systems is widely accepted in literature. How this interaction could best take place is however not yet common knowledge and examples of user involvement in the development of Decision Support Systems targeted at environmental policy and sustainable development are scarce. This paper provides a practical example of user involvement during the design, development and implementation of WISE, an Integrated Spatial Decision Support System for planning and policy support for the Waikato region in New Zealand. Focus will be on the process of user involvement during various development phases, the way feedback was collected and handled, and on the changes in the system this resulted in. We conclude that user interaction has had clear implications on the larger design choices as well as the details of the system development and that this interaction had impacts on choices related to the usefulness and the usability. The effort from the user organisation has been substantial and has increased over the duration of the project. The role of champions has been found indispensible in involving users and enhancing the system. The current implementation phase will show if these efforts will also lead to an effective implementation and easy adoption of WISE by the user organisation.

Allan Green T.G.,University of Waikato | Allan Green T.G.,Complutense University of Madrid | Brabyn L.,University of Waikato | Beard C.,Environment Waikato | Sancho L.G.,Complutense University of Madrid
Polar Biology | Year: 2012

Estimates of lichen growth rates based on the measurements of several thalli at any site do not exist for continental Antarctica. However, the very limited existing data suggest that lichen growth rate may be a good indicator of climate change in Antarctica. We present measurements made on thalli of the lichen Buellia frigida Darb. growing in the Dry Valleys, Southern Victoria Land, continental Antarctica, which appear to have some of the slowest radial growth rates yet measured. Photographs of thalli at three different sites were analysed for growth over a 25-year period using nano-GIS techniques. At one site, Mt. Falconer Summit, the lichens had a mean growth rate of 0.0052 mm year -1 with one individual as low as 0.0036 mm year -1. Thalli at the other two sites had significantly higher mean growth rates, 0.0136 mm year -1 at Mt. Falconer Ridge and 0.0118 mm year -1 at Rhone Bench. Assuming a constant growth rate, thalli at Mt. Falconer Summit had a mean age of 5,367 years, whilst the thalli at the other two sites were much younger, 840-1,026 years. We suggest that the different ages represent the appearance of new substrate for colonisation following climate changes in the Dry Valleys that altered the amount and duration of snow. The results confirm that lichen growth rate differs by almost two orders of magnitude over a latitudinal range of 15 degrees from south to north across Antarctica. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.

Allibone R.,Golder Associates | David B.,Environment Waikato | Hitchmough R.,Science and Research and Development Group Division | Jellyman D.,NIWA - National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research | And 3 more authors.
New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research | Year: 2010

The threat status of 74 freshwater and estuarine fish present in New Zealand was determined. Fifty-one native taxa were ranked of which 67% were considered Threatened or At Risk. A single species was classified as Extinct, the New Zealand grayling, which has not been observed since the 1920s. Four taxa were classified in the highest threat category, Nationally Critical, and a further 10 taxa as Threatened (Nationally Endangered or Nationally Vulnerable). Twenty taxa were ranked in the At Risk group with the majority ranked as Declining. Endemic galaxiids (Galaxiidae) dominated the Threatened and At Risk taxa. The majority (68%) belonged to the Galaxias genus, comprising 81% of recognised taxa in this genus and all five species in the genus Neochanna were also ranked as Threatened or At Risk. In addition to 51 native taxa, a further three fish species were considered colonists and 20 introduced species were classified as naturalised, although two of these are considered rare. The majority of the Threatened species occur in the Canterbury and Otago regions where a suite of rare non-migratory galaxiids exist. Threat mechanisms that were identified as causal in the decline of freshwater fish species were the impact of introduced fish species, declining water quality, effects of water abstraction, loss of habitat via land-use change and land-use activities, and river modifications.

Freeman C.,University of Otago | Clark R.D.,Environment Waikato | Van Heezik Y.,University of Otago
Geographical Research | Year: 2011

Effective planning to support and enhance ecological values in sites of conservation interest requires accurate, comprehensive and detailed ecologically based maps and data, not only for the conservation site but for the wider landscape in which such sites are situated. In this paper we present an efficient and low cost method for combining appropriate technologies and available data to produce such maps at a landscape level. This method is described and evaluated using a case study of a land use and habitat map, with an associated geographic information system (GIS). The map was created for the district of Dunedin, New Zealand, an area of approximately 3340km2. This paper demonstrates how the map can be adapted for use by small, locally based conservation organisations that typically do not have the resources to obtain detailed, consistent and comprehensive spatial data for the areas they manage. The example of Orokonui Ecosanctuary is used to illustrate the potential applications of the map including mapping assets and habitats within a site and for exploring the relationship between the Ecosanctuary's internal and external habitats. External habitats can form a vital habitat network for many of the endangered species being reintroduced into the Ecosanctuary as well as a source of threats through potential reinvasion by pests and land use change. Though the mapping method presented in this paper is not necessarily new, it demonstrates the potential for utilising advances in mapping techniques and available data sets to offer a pragmatic support mechanism of practical value for small conservation organisations. © 2010 The Authors. Geographical Research © 2010 Institute of Australian Geographers.

Death R.G.,Massey University | Collier K.J.,Environment Waikato | Collier K.J.,University of Waikato
Freshwater Biology | Year: 2010

1. Management of stream biodiversity is often tightly linked with the restoration and protection of riparian and catchment vegetation. Despite that, there are no established guidelines on how much forest should be retained or replanted in riparian zones and surrounding catchments to maintain or re-establish instream ecological integrity. In this study, we assess relationships between vegetation cover at multiple spatial scales (reach, segment and catchment) and macroinvertebrate metrics that reflect community structure, ecological condition and biodiversity at 138 Waikato, New Zealand, stream sites sampled in 2006.2. Percentage of catchment vegetation in native forest had stronger relationships with measured diversity and condition metrics than segment or reach scale measures of riparian vegetation. Functional feeding group metrics were weakly associated with upstream catchment vegetation cover.3. Of the macroinvertebrate metrics tested, the RIVPAC O/E and an organic pollution tolerance metric based on species presence-absence (Macroinvertebrate Community Index; MCI) had the strongest relationships with percentage native riparian vegetation, followed by the quantitative MCI and measures of the richness and relative abundance of Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera faunas. The O/E and MCI indicated that catchments with 80-90% in native forest or scrub (low-growing trees) were associated with faunas indicative of "clean" water quality.4. Of the biodiversity indices considered Fisher's α Index of species richness had the strongest relationship with percent native riparian vegetation in the upstream catchment. There are no established thresholds for measuring biodiversity loss in New Zealand streams, but this analysis indicates that on average streams draining catchments with 40-60% upstream native vegetation cover retain 80% of the mean biodiversity present in pristine forest streams.5. This research indicates that riparian management aimed at enhancing macroinvertebrate biodiversity and the ecological condition of streams is likely to be more successful when focused on protecting and/or restoring headwater catchments rather than short stretches of stream. © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Harland D.P.,Agresearch Ltd. | Caldwell J.P.,Environment Waikato | Woods J.L.,Agresearch Ltd. | Walls R.J.,Agresearch Ltd. | Bryson W.G.,Leather and Shoe Research Association of New Zealand
Journal of Structural Biology | Year: 2011

Tomograms of transverse sections of Merino wool fibers obtained from fleeces differing in fiber curvature were reconstructed from image series collected using a 300. kV transmission electron microscope. Trichokeratin intermediate filaments (IFs) from the ortho-, para- and mesocortices were modeled from the tomograms. IFs were predominantly arranged in left-handed concentric helices with the relative angle of IFs increasing progressively from the center to the periphery of orthocortex macrofibrils. The median increase in IF angle between adjacent IFs between the center and periphery was 2.5°. The length of one turn of the helical path of an IF was calculated to be approximately 1μm for an IF tilted at 30° and positioned 100. nm from the macrofibril center. With the exception of one paracortex macrofibril that weakly resembled an orthocortex macrofibril, all para- and mesocortex macrofibrils modeled had a parallel arrangement of the IFs, with a more ordered arrangement found in the mesocortex. Within the limited sample set, there appeared to be no significant relationship between IF angle and fiber curvature. We examined the matrix/IF ratio (in the form of proportion of matrix to one IF, calculated from IF center-to-center distance and IF diameter) for 28 macrofibrils used for modeling. The proportion of matrix was significantly different in the different cortex cell types, with paracortex having the most (0.61), orthocortex having the least (0.42), and mesocortex being intermediate (0.54). Fibers of different crimp type (high, medium or low crimp) were not significantly different from each other with respect to matrix proportion. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.

Gaw S.,University of Waikato | Gaw S.,University of Canterbury | Northcott G.,The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Ltd | Kim N.,Environment Waikato | And 2 more authors.
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry | Year: 2012

Orchard soils can contain elevated concentrations of 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethylene (p,p′-DDE), 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethane (p,p′-DDT), and heavy metals as a result of historical agrichemical applications. The bioavailability of p,p′-DDE, p,p′-DDT, As, Cd, Cu, and Pb from five field-aged New Zealand orchards and three grazing soils was assessed by using a 28-d bioassay with Aporrectodea caliginosa and chemical assays. Significant relationships were found between total soil and earthworm tissue concentrations for p,p′-DDE (p<0.001), p,p′-DDT (p<0.001), Cu (p<0.001), and Pb (p<0.01). Two neutral salt solutions, 0.01 M CaCl2 and 1 M NH4NO3, were used as surrogate measures of the bioavailability of heavy metals. Copper was the only heavy metal for which significant correlations were found between neutral-salt-extractable and earthworm tissue concentrations (p<0.001). Up to 28% of the aged DDT residues were released from the soils by Tenax over a 24-h extraction period. Significant relationships (p<0.01) between the Tenax-extractable and earthworm tissue concentrations for p,p′-DDE and p,p′-DDT showed that Tenax provides a good surrogate measure of the bioavailability of these compounds to A. caliginosa. Surprisingly, there was a similarly significant relationship (p<0.001) between the total soil and earthworm tissue concentrations for p,p′-DDE and p,p′-DDT, suggesting that total soil concentrations alone were sufficient to predict uptake by A. caliginosa. These results demonstrate that the aged agrichemical residues in orchard soils, and particularly p,p′-DDE and p,p′-DDT, remain highly bioavailable to A. caliginosa despite decades of weathering and continue to present an environmental risk. © 2012 SETAC.

Wood S.A.,Cawthron Institute | Wood S.A.,University of Waikato | Pochon X.,Cawthron Institute | Luttringer-Plu L.,Cawthron Institute | And 2 more authors.
Harmful Algae | Year: 2014

Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii is a diazotrophic and potentially toxic cyanobacterium that was initially thought to be confined to tropical freshwaters. Recently it appears to have expanded its range to more temperate regions of the globe. There are contrasting hypotheses to explain this spread including; dispersal of highly adapted strains or localised spread from warm refuges as climatic or environmental conditions change. C. raciborskii was first detected in the isolated island nation of New Zealand in 2003, providing a unique opportunity to explore whether this recent identification is due to a new incursion or resultant from climatic or environmental change. Phylogenetic analysis ( nifH, ITS1-L, ITS1-S, and rpoC1) of six strains isolated from two New Zealand lakes showed they were most closely related to those from South America, and suggest that the recent detection of this species was not due to a new incursion. Ten years of environmental data from three lakes (Waaki, Waikare and Whangape) experiencing blooms were analysed to identify potential reasons for recent C. raciborskii blooms. This analysis showed that the relatively recent (within the last 20-30 years) collapses of extensive macrophyte stands in lakes Waaki, Waikare and Whangape have resulted in increased turbidity', low water column dissolved reactive phosphorus and seasonal shifts in the dissolved inorganic nitrogen availability, all conditions known to facilitate C. raciborskii dominance. Collectively these data indicate that C. raciborskii has always been present in New Zealand, and that recent changes in environmental conditions in these lakes are now facilitating bloom events. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

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