Our Changing World

Our Changing World

Stories about science and nature from out in the field and inside the labs across Aotearoa New Zealand. Winner 2022 New Zealand Radio Awards Best Factual Podcast - Episodic

Episodes

May 30, 2024 28 mins
A deadly frog fungus has decimated frog populations around the world, but frog biodiversity hotspot Papua New Guinea remains untouched – for now. In this episode of ABC podcast Pacific Scientific, James Purtill discovers the amphibian treasures of the world’s largest tropical island, and what conservationists are doing to protect them.
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This week, Phil Vine dives into the science of climate attribution. How much is climate change affecting extreme weather events? And how can this new science prepare us for the future? 
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Could the answer to one of our most pressing health needs be hiding in Aotearoa’s bush? On Our Changing World this week, Liz Garton heads out on a foray to discover some of our fungal gems, and she finds out what we're doing to uncover their potential antibiotic properties.
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A multi-year research project aims to find out the risks from two Bay of Plenty offshore island volcanoes: Tūhua / Mayor Island and Whakaari / White Island
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Meet two winners of the 2023 Prime Ministers Science Prizes. In the wake of the 2019 Whakaari eruption, Professor Ben Kennedy engaged communities with the science of volcano hazards – mahi that earns him the 2023 Science Communication Prize. Meanwhile, Future Scientist prizewinner 17-year-old Sunny Perry has developed a helpful soil map.  
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Kate Evans visits a passionate team as they carpet a remote volcanic island in Tonga with poisoned bait, hoping to eradicate rats. What does it take to complete this kind of project, what are the chances of success, and what will it mean for the island’s ecosystems if they manage to remove the rats once and for all?  
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Journalist Rebekah White meets two people who have been counting albatrosses on remote islands in the subantarctic for more than three decades. Their research shows that at least one species is en route to extinction. A few changes to the way we fish could save it.
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New Zealand once led the world in marine protection. Now it looks like we will fail to meet our international promise to protect 30 percent of our ocean estate by 2030. Why is stopping fishing so politically fraught? How might our ideas about marine protection need to change? And why, when our seas are in need, is it taking us so long to learn to talk to each other?
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The Bounty Islands are tiny in terms of area – just some bits of granite jutting out of the ocean. But they are huge in terms of seabirds. James Frankham joins a team researching the erect-crested penguins who breed in this remote archipelago. Recent counts suggest the penguins of the Bounties are doing fine. But this is not the case on the Antipodes Islands, and the researchers desperately want to know why. 
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Kuaka bar-tailed godwits make the longest non-stop flights, and researchers are using hi-tech tags to solve the mystery of how and when they sleep. 
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What roles do our ocean ecosystems play in capturing carbon? Kate Evans speaks to iwi Māori working to improve the health of an estuary in the Bay of Plenty, and to scientists studying the fiords of New Zealand’s southwest coast. There’s potential for huge amounts of carbon to be locked away, if we don’t mess it up.  
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People and livestock gobble so much fish that the seas soon won’t keep up. Is the answer to grow fish on land? Kate Evans meets scientists figuring out the puzzles of how to farm some of New Zealand’s iconic ocean creatures.
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Kina numbers are exploding on some of our reefs, decimating seaweed habitats. Could this problem be solved by eating them? Kate Evans investigates the potential of kina-nomics.
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Crackle, pop, woof, crunch, click. In the ocean, an undersea orchestra is in full swing. Journalist Kate Evans discovers who’s playing in it and why, and what happens when human noise drowns out this symphony in the sea. 
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A group of young New Zealanders and two meteorologists travel to South Georgia Island in the southern Atlantic Ocean to collect weather observations – continuing the scientific legacy of early Antarctic explorers like Shackleton.
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An ambitious project to rid the remote Antipodes Island of introduced mice proved successful in 2018. Claire Concannon visits the spectacular subantarctic island to meet the locals – from penguins to megaherbs – and the people studying the wildlife. Plus, we learn about what's at stake in the next island eradication challenge for New Zealand.
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February 1, 2024 29 mins
Allergenic pollen is a big trigger for New Zealand’s high rates of hay fever and asthma. But for 35 years, we’ve had no current data on pollen levels. Until now. Justin Gregory talks to a team who want to change that.
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January 25, 2024 29 mins
Giant kelp is disappearing from Wellington Harbour. Love Rimurimu is aiming to restore lush underwater kelp forests with an ambitious and collaborative replanting effort. Claire Concannon dives in to the wonderful world of seaweeds.
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January 18, 2024 28 mins
In the final instalment of the summer science series, science communication students tackle two controversial topics: medicinal cannabis, and AI consciousness.
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Should we intervene to prevent hybridisation between an endangered species and its common relative? In this week's summer science episode, two students from the Department of Science Communication at the University of Otago tell stories of science controversy: the conservation conundrum of hybrids, and the relationship between western science and mātauranga Māori.
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