BioHeritage Bites webinars
Each month we hear from a different investment team in a 10 – 15 minute update on how their mahi is progressing. The presentations are followed by 10 minutes of pātai (questions) which are included below the link to the video.
November: Pest control perceptions: comparing pesticides with next-generation control methods
Research team: Novel Tools & Strategies – Invertebrates
In our part of the BioHeritage National Science Challenge we have been investigating the use of next-generation pest control technologies, with a focus on RNA interference to control invertebrate pests. In this presentation we will first describe RNA interference and then compare it with a widespread and common pesticide. What are the benefits and costs when you use that can of fly-spray under your kitchen bench, compared to what RNA interference could bring? At the same time, we investigate Māori views on novel technologies in pest management. What are the socio-cultural implications of RNAi? We explore methods and scenarios to engage a range of Māori views on these topics.
October: Guiding biodiversity efforts using a remote sensing and machine learning approach
Research team: Eco-index
The Eco-index team are developing novel remote sensing technology for understanding and guiding biodiversity enhancement efforts across Aotearoa New Zealand. Our goal is to autonomously identify changes in ecosystem types and characteristics. The Eco-index Data Science team has designed an approach that applies remote sensing and machine learning to emerging high resolution data and this presentation will discuss the different available data types and highlight our planned analysis steps. We will welcome audience input into novel uses of the data – join us to see what the future might hold!
September: A matter of trust: perceptions of the value of risk assessment
Research team: He Tangata, He Taiao, He Ōhanga
There are dozens of published pest risk assessments and pest risk assessment frameworks, but only a fraction of those published are actually used in decision-making. A crucial question, then, is ‘what makes a pest risk assessment or framework useful to a decision maker?’ For this study, 26 decision makers in New Zealand’s biosecurity system – central government, local government and industry – were interviewed. The interviews were analysed using a thematic analysis methodology. One key theme was that trust is central to participants’ views on risk assessment quality and usefulness. Trust is recognised in the literature about risk communication as being an important factor in whether the public accepts information about risks from government agencies and companies. However, it is less common to find it documented as important in the relationship between adviser and decision maker. These results have implications for how pest risk assessments and frameworks are developed and delivered to those who use them.
February: Coming together to amplify ecosystem regeneration
Research team: Pathways to Ecosystem Regeneration
More and more people are joining together as collectives to increase the scope and impact of their regeneration projects. When iwi, hapū, local environmental groups, government entities, and NGOs work together they can enhance their social and ecological impact. The BioHeritage Pathways to Ecosystem Regeneration team wanted to figure out what kinds of collaboration work best for different situations, so they reviewed both international case studies and surveyed 27 ecosystem regeneration collectives within Aotearoa. In this webinar the research team will discuss their findings, including a typology of collectives and analysis of collectives’ contribution to community-led regeneration. They will then show how these results are shaping the next steps in their research.
December 2021: State-Of-The-Art Surveillance
Surveillance is an essential part of protecting New Zealand’s economic assets and natural taonga from damaging exotic organisms. To strengthen our biosecurity system, researchers at BioHeritage are investigating two technologies to improve the early detection of new invaders. Dr Steve Pawson explains more:
Insect Soup: sampling DNA with light traps
Our team is installing UV light traps at the Port of Tauranga to help detect the arrival of foreign insects. All of the insects caught will be analysed in the lab by a process called High-Throughput Sequencing (HTS). This will tell us the DNA of every insect species caught in the trap. If a new insect species or a known threat comes into Tauranga, we know where and when it was collected, and we can take steps to eradicate it.
Spectral imaging for urban tree health
Our researchers are trialling cameras mounted on moving vehicles to monitor the health of our urban rākau (trees). The camera will take pictures of street trees every fortnight. Images will be pre-processed to maintain people’s privacy (blurring cars, people, houses etc.) and then analysed by computer to identify what kind of trees each street has, and whether they look damaged by pests or diseases.
November 2021: Adaptive Governance & Policy
The Adaptive Governance & Policy team aims to ‘break the mould’ and build new systems, policies and capability that will provide much greater protection to our bioheritage. This includes embracing Treaty relationships with Māori and investigating the many opportunities for the environment that can arise when mana whenua are enabled as te Tiriti partners and the government engages in co-design of policy and co-governance of natural resources.
‘How to talk about co-governance of our bioheritage’ is a short guide for communicators and advocates of environmental management and policy commissioned by SO7 and led by The Workshop. The guide provides recommendations and tools on how to have effective conversations on the significance of mana whenua led environmental management. This guide is the focus of the webinar.