Whitebait hatching experiment with Environment Canterbury

Our discovery of whitebait spawning sites in Kaikōura streams (see Recover Issue 3) ended with a twist in Waikoau / Lyell Creek when we realised that the eggs were unlikely to hatch. Thanks to Pete Adams at Environment Canterbury we came up with an engineering experiment in the form of a temporary closure — the reverse of mechanical stream openings that are routinely used to alleviate flood waters backing up after natural river mouth closures. In this case we temporarily blocked the mouth with gravel to raise the water level around 40… Read More

Kelp and seaweed recovery

In the summer of 2019 NIWA and the University of Canterbury completed aerial drone surveys of many sites along the Kaikōura coast to examine the survival of vulnerable kelp species such as bull kelp (Durvillaea spp). This included testing the relative accuracy of readily available “RGB” cameras, and enhanced spectral cameras (multispectral cameras). This research revealed that both RGB and multispectral cameras can be used effectively for mapping broad scale distribution of marine vegetation (i.e., kelp), but multispectral cameras can be used to examine species biodiversity at higher taxonomic resolution. NIWA and… Read More

Juvenile paua research

We have had a busy past few months doing some experimental fieldwork. This included a pilot study looking at some semi-artificial reef installations to see if juvenile paua would use some rock-filled cages for cover/shelter. These were designed to provide optimal habitat for wild paua, and possibly to use as deployment structures for paua reseeding efforts. In just a couple weeks we found that all sorts of animals had voluntarily crawled into the cages, including plenty of black and yellow paua aged 1-2 years. We were pretty excited at this response, which… Read More

What is RECOVER?

RECOVER is collecting data on recovery of the natural environment with a focus on the short to mid-term prospects for key species and habitats along the coast. We are particularly interested in understanding the nature of earthquake impacts, detecting barriers to a full recovery, and investigating how long it might take. Why?RECOVER is aimed at helping the coastal environment return to a ‘new-normal’ following the earthquakes. As we already know the earthquakes have caused massive changes, RECOVER focuses more on what happens next. Some main themes of the project include predicting the… Read More