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ARTICLE

Marine food webs

Feeding relationships are often shown as simple food chains – in reality, these relationships are much more complex, and the term ‘food web’ more accurately shows the links between producers ...

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ARTICLE

Human impacts on marine environments

Throughout human existence we have relied on the oceans – for food, as a waste dump, for recreation, for economic opportunities and so on. However, it’s not only our activities in the marine ...

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ARTICLE

Adaptations of marine organisms

Adaptation is an evolutionary process whereby an organism becomes increasingly well suited to living in a particular habitat. It is not a quick process! Natural selection over many generations ...

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ARTICLE

Earthworm adaptations

Adaptation is an evolutionary process whereby an organism becomes increasingly well suited to living in a particular habitat. Natural selection results in helpful traits becoming more common in a ...

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Earthworms’ role in the ecosystem

Charles Darwin is well known for his work on natural selection. He published widely on topics ranging from barnacles to geology to plants. He travelled the world and saw many unusual animals ...

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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

River ecosystems

The ecology of the river refers to the relationships that living organisms have with each other and with their environment – the ecosystem. An ecosystem is the sum of interactions between plants ...

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ARTICLE

The role of observation in science

Observation is something we often do instinctively. Observation helps us decide whether it’s safe to cross the road and helps to determine if cupcakes are ready to come out of the oven ...

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Classifying marine organisms

Classification is an important tool used by scientists to show how organisms are related to each other and to group them by their characteristics, but this can be difficult for some marine ...

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ARTICLE

Monarch butterflies

New Zealand’s most identifiable butterfly is the monarch (Danaus plexippus). Although found in many places around the world, the monarch is considered a New Zealand native because it became ...

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ARTICLE

Sea stars

When is a fish not really a fish? When it’s a starfish! Starfish is the common name for a group of animals called sea stars. Sea stars are actually part of the phylum Echinoderm and are related ...

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Niches within earthworms’ habitat

Asking where earthworms live may seem like a silly question. Doesn’t their name say it all? Soil may appear to be a homogeneous place to you or me, but not to earthworms. There are two ways to ...

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Charles Darwin and earthworms

Charles Darwin is best known for his theory of evolution as set out in his book On the Origin of Species. He was a naturalist – an expert in geology, botany and biology – whose interest in all ...

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Butterfly defence mechanisms

Butterflies are the exhibitionists of the insect world. For many invertebrates, camouflage is the best defence against predators, so how do brightly coloured butterflies protect themselves? The ...

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ARTICLE

Cockles

Cockles are classified as bivalves within the phylum Mollusca. (Almost all shelled marine animals, as well as octopus and squid, are molluscs.) The New Zealand cockle, also known as tuaki or ...

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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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ACTIVITY

Ocean acidification and eggshells

In this activity, students observe how chicken eggs can be used to simulate the potential effects of increasing ocean acidity on marine animals with calcium carbonate shells or skeletons, for ...

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