Southern Islands

Invercargill, New Zealand

Southern Islands

Invercargill, New Zealand
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Hiscock J.A.,Southern Islands | Chilvers B.L.,Marine Species and Threats
New Zealand Journal of Ecology | Year: 2014

New Zealand's subantarctic Antipodes Islands are of international significance for breeding seabirds. However, penguin populations on the islands are declining. Uncertainty about the extent of this decline has been accentuated by a lack of accurate information on the population size and nest distribution of the penguin species, and the absence of an appropriate methodology for their long-term monitoring. We surveyed the nest abundance and distribution of eastern rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes flholi) and erect-crested penguins (E. sclateri) on the Antipodes Islands from 22 October to 6 November 2011 and compared counts with historical censuses from 1978 to 1995. Presence or absence of colonies previously known to have existed was recorded and counts of all nests within colonies around the islands were undertaken. In total, 42 689 nests of both species were counted over 103 colonies. Of these, 86% of nests (2475 rockhopper and 34 226 erect-crested) were counted accurately from on land. Overall, 24 entire colonies have ceased to exist since 1978, and there was an estimated 23% decline in the number of penguin nests between 1995 and 2011. Despite differences in methodology between surveys, there appears to have been a significant decline in penguins nesting on the Antipodes Islands. Worldwide, most crested penguin species (Eudyptes spp.) are in decline. Since New Zealand is a world hotspot for endemic penguin species, a consistent monitoring system needs to be developed and a monitoring schedule put in place to allow quantification of the scale of these declines. The causes of the declines on the Antipodes also need to be investigated, as they are unlikely to be a result of on-land predation by introduced mammals and human habitat disturbance or destruction, as occurs on the New Zealand mainland. © New Zealand Ecological Society.


Chilvers B.L.,Aquatic and Reporting Unit | Chilvers B.L.,Massey University | Baker G.B.,University of Tasmania | Baker G.B.,Latitude | And 4 more authors.
Polar Biology | Year: 2015

The Auckland Island shag (Phalacrocorax colensoi) is endemic to New Zealand and restricted to the subantarctic Auckland Islands. The species is classified as “Vulnerable” under the New Zealand threat classification systems. The total breeding population is estimated at <1000 pairs, with Enderby Island considered to be the stronghold for the species. The trend of the population is unknown, and it has been recommended a census of the entire adult population be conducted once a suitable methodology has been developed. The objective of this research was to examine census methods to estimate population size for the Auckland Island shag. Three census methods were trialled on Enderby Island during the 2011/2012 breeding season: (a) boat-based counts; (b) aerial photography using a helicopter and; (c) direct counts from the ground. The aerial photographic survey recorded 1889 pairs of Auckland Island shags breeding on Enderby Island during the 2011/2012 breeding season. In comparison, boat-based and ground count surveys recorded lower population sizes by 27 and 26 %, respectively. This research provides the first comparable methodology and baseline population estimate for the breeding stronghold of this threatened seabird and forms the basis for long-term population monitoring. All methodologies examined here could be used for other cliff-nesting seabird species; however, these results indicate a level of bias may be present for any survey method. © 2015 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg


New Zealand was struck by a powerful earthquake in the wee hours of Monday with the aftershocks staying beyond Monday's morning hours. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the first quake hit the Southern Islands in the early hours of Monday, near Kaikoura, which is about 55 miles off northeast to Christchurch. The quake had an intensity of 7.8-on the Richter scale. Though the casualties were restricted to two people, unlike the 2011 Christchurch quake that killed 185 people, heavy damage was reported. That included collapsed buildings, broken roads, bridges and huge landslides that cut off road connectivity between many places in addition to violent disturbances in the sea that had waves hitting an abnormal 8 feet high. The earthquake jolted people from their sleep with many of them evacuated to the higher ground later. Brandon Perez, a native of California, who was on a visit to New Zealand, said the quake shook his entire room then everyone quickly evacuated. "It just kept going and going and wouldn't stop," he said. "I've experienced earthquakes before, but once it got to the point where the entire room was shaking and things were falling down, I started to get a little worried." Media reports also said a slip dam was caused by earthquakes in the Clarence River which later broke and sent out huge volumes of water downstream, forcing people to move to higher ground. Prime Minister John Key, who toured the affected areas called the damage "horrendous." Key expects the damage bill to be "a couple of billion dollars" with many months of work ahead. Though a tsunami warning was issued, it was scaled down later even as tremors continued. The aftershocks were also felt in capital Wellington, 120 miles away where residents had been asked to stay indoors with ferries and trains canceled. The worst affected was Kaikoura town with a population of 2,000 people. The town has been completely cut off and there is no road and phone connectivity. Stranded tourists, numbering around thousands, will be airlifted. It is likey that harsh weather warnings for the northern parts of Southern Island may hamper the rescue operations. Regarding the cause of the quake, scientists are of the view it could be the result of two quakes happening in separate faults. Meanwhile, people are pointing to a Facebook post that predicted an earthquake coinciding with the Supermoon. It has gone viral now. The FB post was by Nigel Antony Gray and his Nov. 6 post said: "On November 14 and a couple of days either side of that date, watch for a major earthquake, and quite [possibly] in the South Pacific area." Pointing to the rising gravitational pull of the "super moon" Gray warned that Nov. 14 will have the moon coming closer to Earth in this century. However, his warning was downplayed by earthquake expert Mark Quigley from the University of Melbourne who said tidal deformations due to the movements of the Sun and Moon might trigger earthquakes in some circumstances. However, predicting the specific time, magnitude and location of a large earthquake merely on the basis of tidal stresses will be impossible. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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