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ARTICLE

Cleaning up the oil spill

On 5 October 2011, the cargo vessel Rena ran aground on the Astrolabe Reef. The ship was carrying 1700 tonnes of heavy fuel oil and about 200 tonnes of diesel in its tanks. Over 360 tonnes of ...

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ARTICLE

Measuring biodegradability

In nature, different materials biodegrade at different rates. If you throw your apple core into the bushes along with a steel toy car, your apple core will have disappeared in a few months and ...

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ARTICLE

Poisonous animals in New Zealand

New Zealand has a very small number of poisonous animals. These animals are also called ‘venomous’ as their toxins (venoms) need to be injected by a bite (for example, spiders) or sting (for ...

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ARTICLE

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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ARTICLE

Toxins and food webs

All living things depend on one another to live. Animals eat plants and/or animals to survive. Food webs describe the feeding connections between organisms in an ecosystem. The three main groups ...

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ARTICLE

Bioindicators

A bioindicator is a living organism that gives us an idea of the health of an ecosystem. Some organisms are very sensitive to pollution in their environment, so if pollutants are present, the ...

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Measuring toxicity

Toxicity can be measured by the effect the substance has on an organism, a tissue or a cell. We know that individuals will respond differently to the same dose of a substance because of a number ...

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ARTICLE

Human impact on estuaries

People like to live near estuaries. In pre-European times, estuaries were favourite places for Māori to gather – particularly to harvest and enjoy kaimoana. Today, there are major settlements ...

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ARTICLE

Estuary formation

Estuaries have a life cycle. They form, they age as they infill with sediment and they transform to other environments, such as freshwater marshes. They are fragile habitats vulnerable to time ...

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ARTICLE

Fertiliser

Just as we have essential needs for our growth, plants also have essential needs for their survival. These include: sunlight air water nutrients appropriate temperature. As long as plants have ...

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ARTICLE

Poisonous plants in New Zealand

There are over 100 poisonous plants in New Zealand. As children grow up, they often come into contact with plants that have poisonous properties. However, children usually don’t eat enough of a ...

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ACTIVITY

Biodegradability experiment

In this activity, students set up an experiment to determine the biodegradability of different substances. By the end of this activity, students should be able to: organise a group of items into ...

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ARTICLE

Farming development and changing landscapes

Farming is a way of life in New Zealand. Farms cover about half of the country’s land and are important to our economy. Agriculture has shaped who we are as a nation, but it has also had a big ...

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ACTIVITY

Tracking toxins

In this activity, students model bioaccumulation of toxins in marine animals. They participate in a food web game where feeding decisions determine their survival. By the end of this activity ...

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ARTICLE

Biodegradability

We see the term ‘biodegradable’ on some products that we buy, such as washing powders and shampoo, but what does it actually mean? The ‘degradable’ part of the word simply means that the product ...

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ARTICLE

New Zealand’s National Science Challenges

As New Zealanders looking to the future, we are faced with many opportunities – and challenges. These include improving the health of all our people, advancing our economic growth, protecting our ...

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ACTIVITY

Investigating air pollution

In this activity, students investigate exhaust emissions, car use and air quality. By the end of this activity, students should be able to: recognise some of the sources of air pollution ...

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ARTICLE

Farm management practices

Farming is an economic venture – farmers work the land to gain an income. Many New Zealand farmers have an interest in preserving and enhancing the land for future generations. In order to ...

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ARTICLE

Water quality

The factors that affect water quality include where the water comes from, what is in the environment in the collection area and how it is treated. Source New Zealand gets its drinking water from ...

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ARTICLE

Protecting estuaries

Estuaries are extremely valuable. They: are nurseries – breeding grounds for fish and birds maintain the health of coastal fisheries and waters are a buffer between land and sea – protecting the ...

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