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Delving into the world of poisons

Learn how New Zealand’s most poisonous creature was discovered through the investigative work of scientists. Discover what toxins are, how they are identified and how they enter the food web.

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Finding your way around

There are several different ways to discover the site's resources and their related content, along with ideas for grouping them for teaching opportunities:

  • The collections contain groups of related resources about Toxins.
  • The Connections tool is a visual interactive pathway to discovering the resources and related content for Toxins.
  • The printable context overview will assist teachers to find pathways through this context and to plan lessons and units of work.

Collections | Connections | Context overview (PDF 79 kB)


    Solving the dog death mystery

    During 2009, several dogs died on Narrow Neck and Cheltenham beaches in Auckland. Scientists at the Cawthron Institute were instrumental in identifying grey side-gilled sea slugs as the toxic...

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    Sea slugs and TTX

    Scientists from Cawthron Institute discovered high levels of deadly tetrodotoxin in grey side-gilled sea slugs. They’re now trying to find out where the tetrodotoxin came from and how it got into...

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    Grey side-gilled sea slugs

    In 2009, some grey side-gilled sea slugs (Pleurobranchaea maculata) were found to be toxic. This article describes the sea slug and its toxicity.

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    Poisons and toxins

    Poisons are substances that cause harm to organisms when sufficient quantities are absorbed, inhaled or ingested. A toxin is a poisonous substance produced within living cells or organisms.

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Monitoring shellfish safety

Paul McNabb of the Cawthron Institute in Nelson describes the system they use to monitor...


NZ Research

NZ Research collection.
NZ Research collection. This collection provides information about the work of New Zealand’s world-class science and technology sectors in relation to Toxins....

Science Ideas and Concepts

Science Ideas and Concepts collection.
Science Ideas and Concepts collection. Scientific study requires a basic knowledge and understanding of ideas and concepts. This collection explains the ideas that are...

Looking Closer

Looking Closer collection.
Looking Closer collection.
This collection contains a wide variety of resources and information about Toxins, which supports the resources in the other...


People collection.
People collection. This collection introduces some of the people working or studying in the areas explored in Toxins. Click on a name to find out more about...

Teaching and Learning Approaches

Teaching and Learning Approaches collection.
Teaching and Learning Approaches collection. Student activities are the main feature of this collection, along with a variety of resources for teachers to use in exploring Toxins.


Timeline collection.
Timeline collection. An interactive look at some of the historical aspects of poisons and toxins.

Question Bank

Question Bank collection.
Question Bank collection. An inquiry approach is a method often used in science education. The question bank provides an initial list of questions about Toxins and...

Key Terms

Key Terms collection.
Key Terms collection. This resource provides explanations of the key concepts encountered when exploring Toxins – the ‘basics’ that every student should...

Sci Media

Sci Media collection.
Sci Media collection. This collection is where you can find all the images, video clips, animations and interactives that relate to Toxins.

Science Learning Hub Survey 2014

Dear Hub visitor,

You're invited to participate in an online survey about the New Zealand Science Learning Hub. This survey was designed to help Hub staff enhance and develop further the site. This is different from our November 2013 survey, so even if you took part in that survey, we would appreciate you taking this survey as well.

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