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Our Changing World

July 2022

Kia ora,

It has been a particularly rough month weather wise across the country, but Ōtepoti is celebrating the start of this new month with a crisp sunny day! I hope it's nice wherever you are reading this.

This month we dove under the Antarctic ice with a NIWA researcher, to learn about methane seeps, spent a night on Rakiura with a PhD researcher looking for endemic beetles, and visited the Auckland Bioengineering Institute to ask whether the future of injections could be needle free

Science communicator Ellen Rkyers also made an episode about Why the Tongan volcano triggered a worldwide tsunami

This was also the month where we got to see the first pictures taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, the Kākāpō population hit a record high since records began, and Manaaki Whenua and Predator Free Rakiura announced plans to attempt to eradicate predators from the island, in the most ambitious predator free island project to date.

If you want to keep up to date with the show, or to get in touch, you can connect with us on Facebook or Twitter where we use the handle @RNZscience or you can email the show on

As ever, thanks for listening.
Ngā mihi nui,

NASA: James Webb Space Telescope image of Carina Nebula

Secrets of Antarctic Microbes

The most extreme places in Antarctica give rise to the toughest and weirdest types of life.
Claire Concannon speaks to a NIWA researcher about the microbes living very different chemical lives to ours at underwater methane seeps.
And finds out how a University of Waikato scientist is investigating the tools bacteria from the Antarctic Dry Valleys use to keep their DNA safe.
Why the Tongan volcano triggered a worldwide tsunami

The eruption of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha‘apai in January triggered a tsunami of unprecedented proportions, impacting the entire Pacific. How did this volcanic eruption lead to a tsunami detected across the globe – as far away as the Mediterranean?
Science communicator Ellen Rykers speaks to the scientists unravelling the secrets of this rare phenomenon.
The battling beetle

We join PhD student Luna Thomas on a nighttime beetle hunt in Rakiura Stewart Island.
For her PhD in Zoology Luna is studying the behaviour of the endemic Helm’s stag beetle. But as well as the beetles, she is also coming across some grizzly indicators of the impacts predators are having.
She hopes her work will add to the sparse scientific knowledge that is known about this species. And maybe even help some of the other native stag beetle species, some of which are critically endangered.
Machine learning for environmental data and research into needle-free injections
The University of Waikato is leading TAIAO, a data science programme aimed at helping researchers make sense of overwhelming amounts of environmental data.
Claire speaks to a data scientist and environmental researcher about the ‘tricky’ problems that new machine learning methods will help to solve.
And in the Auckland Bioengineering institute, Dr. James McKeage is investigating the potential of needle-free injections. Could an electric motor-powered needle-free jet injector be the future of diabetes management?
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Voices from Antarctica. Alison Ballance finds out what it takes to live in and do science in Antarctica.
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Fight for the Wild. Podcast series exploring the notion of Predator Free 2050 in Aotearoa.
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