Research

  • Decanting a stygofauna catch

    Decanting a stygofauna catch. Image - Brian Smith

Groundwater health Dr Graham Fenwick, NIWA and Dr Louise Weaver, ESR

This project characterises the biodiversity of a little-known fauna: groundwater invertebrates. The project team is also investigating land-use effects on these invertebrates by sampling across three regions, seven catchments, and differing land-use intensities. The resulting identifications and genetic information from the organisms are being used to evaluate measures of biodiversity as indicators of ecosystem health. They will also deliver a foundation database for next-generation sequencing approaches to measuring and monitoring this neglected biodiversity and ecosystem.

Both NIWA and ESR contribute additional resources to this project via SSIF, with ESR’s experience in microbial organisms in groundwater adding an extra dimension by using eDNA (environmental metabarcoding) to confirm the findings from morphological approaches.

Biosecurity threats to freshwater taonga invertebrates Dr Ian Duggan, University of Waikato

This project is focused on safeguarding freshwater taonga species (kākahi [freshwater mussels] and kōura [crayfish] ) from pest fi sh and invasive macrophytes through a combination of traditional science scholarship and Mātauranga Māori. The project team aims to integrate contemporary science with hapū and iwi responses and empower Māori communities to implement Māori values, a Māori world view, and technical knowledge.

Food webs and stream restoration Dr Catherine Febria and Dr Helen Warburton, University of Canterbury

‘Resistance’ and ‘resilience’ are terms used to describe the capacity of an ecosystem to withstand and recover from a disruption. Community resistance and resilience are often desired impacts for ecosystem health and are commonly associated with healthy communities being able to withstand disturbances.

However, degraded ecosystems can also be resistant and resilient to disruptions, making them ‘restoration-resistant’. In New Zealand, many ecosystems are degraded, having exceeded critical tipping points that leave them locked in a resistant state.

This project team is using freshwater ecosystems as a model to develop and test a resistance–resilience–restoration framework that will be applied to stream restoration.

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