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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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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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Pollination and fertilisation

Sexual reproduction is a way of making a new individual by joining two special sex cells, called gametes. In the sexual reproduction of animals and plants, the male and female gametes join to ...

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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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Human impact on rivers

Human beings have an impact on river ecosystems. The relationship living organisms have with each other and with their environment is extremely complex. Impacts on a species or a non-living ...

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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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Flowering plant life cycles

The flowers and fruit of flowering plants come and go as part of their life cycle. Some flowering plants don’t even have stems and leaves all the time. The fruit and vegetables we eat come from ...

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Attracting pollinators

Flowering plants need to get pollen from one flower to another, either within a plant for self-pollination or between plants of the same species for cross-pollination to occur. However, pollen ...

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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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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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Classifying and identifying ferns

Scientists currently consider that New Zealand has approximately 230 species of fern in about 50 different genera. They are widely distributed throughout the country, including around 42 species ...

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Native bird adaptations

New Zealand separated from Gondwana around 65 million years ago. Due to the geographical isolation and a lack of ground-dwelling predators, our birds evolved unique characteristics. Flight was ...

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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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What is a fern?

There are ferns in most New Zealanders’ backyards and local environments. Ferns are green flowerless plants with divided leaves that tend to grow in damp, shady areas. The developing leaves of ...

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Environmental conditions affecting the sea

On land, the most important environmental conditions affecting organisms are rainfall and temperature. In our oceans, there are a number of environmental conditions that affect the growth ...

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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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Limestone uses

The calcium carbonate content of limestone rocks has been used from the earliest civilisations, dating back to 14,000 BCE, to its extensive use in modern times. It is a valuable resource that ...

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Birds’ roles in ecosystems

An ecosystem consists of all of the flora and fauna living within an area and the interactions between them. All ecosystems, whether they are marine, freshwater or located in native bush, involve ...

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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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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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