Over the last few years UC scientists from the School of Biological Sciences spent time on Rangatira Island in the Chatham Islands. This island is very remote and can only be accessed with a special permit as it is the home to many endangered New Zealand native species including the black robin.
Dr Melanie Massaro, the lead UC scientist, is studying the behaviour of song birds with and without the threat of predators. Native birds are constantly under threat on mainland New Zealand from introduced predators such as rats and cats. Introduced bird species such as blackbirds have flourished under the same conditions. Melanie is interesed in why this is so.
In conjunction with Science Outreach, two science communicators accompanied the research team to Rangatira Island. The science communicators documented the scientists' research and their daily life, and recorded the vast array of wild-life found on this island through short blog pieces, photos and videos.These videos, photos and all the blog material can be found can be found at www.blackrobin.org.nz.
Extensive teacher resources, aligned to the New Zealand curriculum, including slide shows, student worksheets and teacher information, for all age groups, are indexed here.
Young students can experience a walk around the island with a game, Exploring Rangatira Island made for Outreach by Hand Multimedia. This fun activity allows the player to visit different parts of the island, see the range of plants and animals in each habitat, "collect" samples, and construct a food web back at the scientists' hut.
The 2008 field season to Rangatira Island has been incorporated into a virtual field trip in collaboration with LEARNZ www.learnz.co.nz.