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Division of Sciences news

NZ wants to build a 100% renewable electricity grid

Friday, 31 July 2020 4:23pm

New Zealand wants to build a 100% renewable electricity grid, but massive infrastructure is not the best option.

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Wildlife Management celebrates 20th annual fieldtrip

Thursday, 30 July 2020 9:35am

The University's Wildlife Management programme can finally celebrate its 20th annual fieldtrip to Twizel following its initial postponement due to the lockdown. 

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Zoologists call for beach closures to reduce impact on wildlife

Tuesday, 21 July 2020 11:38am

University of Otago zoologists are calling for seasonal beach closures to be considered at sites where increasing numbers of visitors are likely to have detrimental impacts on wildlife.

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Warmer winters will mess with marine communities

Tuesday, 14 July 2020 10:04am

Winter warming is often overlooked when considering the impacts of climate change and researchers have turned to social media-inspired models to address this gap in scientific knowledge.

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Robotic total stations donated to School of Surveying

Monday, 13 July 2020 9:24am

International surveying technology company Trimble has generously donated five robotic total stations to the University of Otago School of Surveying Te Kura Kairūri.

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Move More @ Work study seeking participants

Wednesday, 8 July 2020 3:58pm

Ever reach the end of a working day and wish you had moved your body just a bit more than you managed to achieve? Well here’s the perfect opportunity to break those sedentary habits, get a little bit of activity during work time, and benefit both yourself and some Otago research in the process.

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How you tread water could save your life - participants sought for study

Monday, 6 July 2020 8:41pm

Since coming to New Zealand, Tina van Duijn has realised how passionate she is about water safety.

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Division of Sciences launches ‘Our people. Our place.’

Thursday, 2 July 2020 7:57pm

‘Our people. Our place.’ has been launched as the new brand identity for the Division of Sciences to capture the essence of its competitive attributes.

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EQC grant unites earth and social sciences

Wednesday, 1 July 2020 11:27pm

The Southland region could be New Zealand’s largest area of incomplete fault information, but University of Otago researchers can now fill in the gaps after receiving a new EQC grant.

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New ocean data from under the world’s biggest ice shelf

Tuesday, 30 June 2020 2:37pm

New measurements from the ocean under the centre of the Ross Ice Shelf have significantly improved our understanding of the complex processes that drive melting in Antarctica.

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School of Surveying welcomes first Māori academic to staff

Tuesday, 16 June 2020 11:49pm

James Berghan (Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri), is Otago’s first Māori academic staff member in the School of Surveying. He chatted with Sciences Communications Adviser Guy Frederick about his journey and his goals.

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Awakening the taniwha: Unleashing community potential from the rubble of Covid-19

Monday, 15 June 2020 4:04pm

Covid-19 has reset our understanding of the world. From this crisis comes opportunity, and Professor Merata Kawharu (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāpuhi), from the Centre for Sustainability, believes it’s a chance to apply traditional principles to our new normal.

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COVID-19: Implications for NZ’s energy future

Friday, 12 June 2020 9:08am

Janet Stephenson discusses the impacts of Covid-19 and its aftermath on energy systems in New Zealand and globally, and the implications for a low-carbon future.

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The science and art of modelling

Wednesday, 10 June 2020 2:28pm

Otago's Dr Matthew Parry tells us more about being an Associate Investigator for Te Pūnaha Matatini, a Centre of Research Excellence that has provided modelling to support COVID-19 decisions.

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Scholarship for Marine Science postgraduate

Tuesday, 9 June 2020 4:37pm

Otago Marine Science Master’s student Millie Mannering has been selected as the 2020 Our World Underwater Scholarship Society Australasian Rolex Scholar.

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The psychology of COVID-19 conspiracies

Wednesday, 20 May 2020 1:14am

Psychology PhD candidate Ana Stojanov tells us more about her research into conspiracy theories, their implications for news on COVID-19, and how she ended up at Otago.

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PE School holds virtual graduation party

Thursday, 14 May 2020 12:14am

The School of Physical Education Sport & Exercise Sciences, University of Otago didn’t let lockdown prevent them from celebrating their graduating students over the weekend – replacing a physical morning tea with a virtual party.

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Otago’s Marine Science growing Antarctic research links

Wednesday, 13 May 2020 3:14pm

Department of Marine Science’s Associate Professor Ceridwen Fraser has been invited to represent New Zealand in a new and significant Australian Antarctic programme, adding to the Department’s growing recognition for contribution to Antarctic research.

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Time to kill the scientific zombie that is the ‘Nature v Nurture’ debate

Wednesday, 13 May 2020 1:54pm

A scientific article out of the University of Otago’s Department of Zoology is calling for an end to the seemingly un-killable ‘nature versus nurture’ debate, which the authors say creates damaging sways in the public’s view of science.

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Siouxsie Wiles the guest of Science Communication’s first live online event

Thursday, 7 May 2020 8:59pm

The COVID-19 response has shown what is possible when good science and good communication come together.

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Opinion: How self-isolation is bringing us closer to nature

Thursday, 7 May 2020 8:07pm

COVID-19 and its associated lockdown has given us a rare opportunity to pause and consider the natural world around us. In this opinion piece (first published at, Otago wildlife biologists Professors Philip Seddon and Yolanda van Heezik encourage us to maintain this connection as we re-enter our busy lives.

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Marine Studies Centre Activities go online 

Wednesday, 6 May 2020 9:48pm

For more than 20 years, Otago's New Zealand Marine Studies Centre (NZMSC) has played a key role connecting communities with their local marine environment through a wide range of outreach and education programmes and resources. Now it is doing the same thing - online.

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Six new approaches in a world beyond lockdown

Friday, 1 May 2020 10:19am

Centre Director Associate Professor Janet Stephenson latest opinion piece looks at what she think we’re learning as a society through the COVID-19 experience.

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PhD Scholarship available

Thursday, 30 April 2020 2:22pm

The Centre for Sustainability is currently advertising a 3 year PhD Scholarship  to study earthquake-related legislation in lower seismic hazard zones.

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Redirecting our economy to a more sustainable path

Thursday, 30 April 2020 1:56pm

Centre Director Associate Professor Janet Stephenson says “There are many things we can be doing to be setting our economy and society into a sustainable future.”

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Science goes online and virtual

Tuesday, 28 April 2020 8:46pm

The COVID-19 lockdown has created unique challenges for science online learning and the translation of lab work and field trips traditionally considered essential for experiential learning. The Otago Bulletin Board “visited” the Department of Geology and the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences to see how they have responded.

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Study finds Joker movie adds to prejudice of mental illness

Tuesday, 28 April 2020 1:52pm

A collaborative study lead by the University of Otago has found viewers of the award winning 2019 movie Joker experienced increased feelings of prejudice towards people with mental illness.

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NZ right whales fat and healthy compared to northern cousins

Friday, 24 April 2020 9:57am

New research by an international team of scientists, including researchers from the University of Otago, reveals that endangered North Atlantic right whales are in much poorer body condition than their counterparts in the southern hemisphere.

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University of Otago calling for survey participants for study on lockdown life

Wednesday, 22 April 2020 10:53am

Researchers from the University of Otago’s Department of Psychology are urgently seeking participants for research into life under the lockdown imposed in response to Covid-19. Participants would be required to take a 15 minute survey.

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Human Nutrition experts offer lockdown advice for families

Wednesday, 22 April 2020 8:08pm

As other parts of our lives have shut down during lockdown, food has become increasingly important as a focus in our daily routine. Mary Spiers and Dr Claire Smith discuss some food-related challenges and offer simple advice.

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COVID-19 has nothing on what’s coming

Monday, 20 April 2020 11:26am

The current nationwide pause as a result of Covid-19 is an extraordinary opportunity, and probably the only one we will get, to redesign our economy so that it no longer threatens life on this planet.

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PE expert offers exercise tips to families

Thursday, 16 April 2020 1:25pm

PE’s Emily Scott, a mother of three and a specialist in primary school physical education, offers guidance for getting kids active during lockdown.

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New Zealanders needed to investigate link between COVID-19 and smell loss

Wednesday, 15 April 2020 12:47pm

New Zealanders who have COVID-19 or are showing symptoms of the virus are being urged to participate in two surveys – a global and national one - that aim to better understand how COVID-19 impacts a patient’s loss of taste and smell.

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First tuatara hatchlings discovered at Orokonui Ecosanctuary

Wednesday, 8 April 2020 9:20am

Two tuatara hatchlings have recently been sighted at Orokonui Ecosanctuary by University of Otago researchers and are the first to be seen since adult tuatara were released at the ecosanctuary in 2012.

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Reducing Greenhouse Gases on Farms

Monday, 6 April 2020 10:40am

Britta Hamill and Associate Professor Janet Stephenson have published a summary of options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions on New Zealand livestock farms.

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Health and wellbeing in parks and nature in 1800s Aotearoa New Zealand

Friday, 3 April 2020 5:04pm

A recent blog from our colleague Dr James Beattie, University of Victoria.

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Consumers should cut down food waste: Otago study

Monday, 30 March 2020 10:32am

More than three quarters of New Zealand’s retail food waste is being saved from landfill, in stark contrast to Kiwi households, Otago researchers say.

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Otago scientist joins international COVID-19 consortium to investigate sensory systems

Friday, 27 March 2020 3:32pm

The fast-moving COVID-19 pandemic has seen the international scientific community rallying to detect, understand and combat this global threat.

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Changes at the Consumer and Applied Science Building

Wednesday, 11 March 2020 2:27pm

Staff and students are being relocated from the Consumer and Applied Science Building so it can be earthquake strengthened.

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Brain Awareness Week begins

Friday, 6 March 2020 12:24pm

Brain Awareness Week starts this weekend. Otago’s very own Brain Health Research Centre brings research together from across departments, and during Brain Awareness Week there are many opportunities to get involved and learn more.