Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences News

Latest news 

E. coli research team grows

11 August 2017. Dr Olin Silander welcomes new PhD Student Marketa Vlkova from the Czech Republic to his group. Ms Vlkova will study the natural variability and memory of environmental E. coli strains.

Snake studies

11 August 2017. Dr Luis Ortiz-Catedral and MSc student Kirtana Kumar have been in the Galapagos Islands for three weeks conducting research on endemic terrestrial snakes in collaboration with the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park. The research team are investigating the number and distribution of snake species, which will have major implications for conservation management in Galapagos National Park.


Chemistry high school workshops

04 August 2017. INMS Chemistry teaching staff hosted 290 high school students from six high schools including Rodney College, Wellsford and Lynfield College, Blockhouse Bay. Over a period of two weeks students attended workshops which supported the NCEA level 3 assessment standards about properties of organic compounds and about spectroscopic data. Students expressed their enjoyment at working in a real lab environment.

Darwin Island’s whale sharks

28 July 2017. Dr Matthew Pawley has travelled to Darwin Island in the Galapagos archipelago as part of a team working on whale sharks (Rhincodon typus). Whale sharks at Darwin Island are typically large females (9 – 13 m in total length) with a distended abdominal cavity—so one of the primary objectives of the fieldtrip was to try and determine whether these individuals were pregnant. Members of the research team managed to successfully ultra-sound and take blood samples from a number of large female whale sharks.

New book from INMS mathematician

28 July 2017. Congratulations to Associate Professor Shaun Cooper for publishing a new book about the mathematics of the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887–1920). The book shows how Ramanujan’s results on theta functions can be organized in a systematic way and classified by level and weight. The second half of the book is on recent research and it is the first time that many of the topics have appeared in book form. The book is aimed at graduate students and researchers and provides an introduction and overview of Ramanujan’s mathematics.

Environmental Sciences is underway

24 July 2017. A new environmental sciences course developed for the Albany Campus has started with a healthy class size of almost 30 students. The delivery of this environmental sciences course represents the meeting of a challenge that was set last year, to bring an internal offering for the Environmental Sciences major to Albany. This 100-level course is being taught by Dr Laureline Meynier, with support from Dr Marie-Anne Thelen and others, and will provide students with a broad introduction to environmental sciences.

Early science outreach with Forest School

17 July 2017. Dr David Aguirre joined students from the Forest School at Hatfields beach for a couple of afternoons of rock pooling. The Forest School offers school holiday programs aimed at getting kids out of the class room for hands-on lessons about the world around them. 30 students participated over three days.

New support for impaired-speech research

14 July 2017. Associate Professor Ruili Wang has been awarded funding for a new project titled "Novel Approaches for Impaired-speech Recognition." Funding for this project was awarded as part of the National Science Challenges, Science for Technological Innovation (SfTI) Seed Projects initiative. The project team also includes Dr Andrew Gilman and a PhD student from INMS, as well as Associate Professor Helen Southwood from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Massey University.


Career Pathways

14 July 2017. Massey University recently promoted university programmes and career pathways to Year 10 students at Carmel College. Lecturer in Genetics Dr Nikki Freed set up a small booth showing off DNA sequencing and engaged students by asking them to brainstorm about what can be learned from DNA sequencing. Data that were recently generated at Massey University using nanopore sequencing were the basis for discussing how DNA sequencing can be used in ecology and conservation.


Emerging talent in marine systems

03 July 2017. PhD graduand Dan Godoy and PhD student Lizzy Myers and were awarded the Best Presentation award and the Collaboration award, respectively, at the recent New Zealand Marine Science Society (NZMSS) conference held in Christchurch.

Chemistry that is out of this world

10 July 2017. Dr Elke Pahl, Dr Krista Steenbergen, Dr Lukas Pasteka, and Distinguished Professor Peter Schwerdtfeger have been invited to spend several months at Oslo University to collaborate in a joint research project, chaired by Professor Trygve Helgaker, one of the top and highly distinguished theoretical chemists in the world. The research project, "Molecules in Extreme Environments", aims to understand how the chemistry we know on earth changes under extreme conditions, such as strong magnetic fields, extreme pressure, and intense laser pulses. Their output also aim to guide experimental work.


Latest 10  publications

i) Bronstein O, Kroh A, Tauscher B, Liggins L, Haring E (2017). Cryptic speciation in pan-tropical Tripneustes – the case of an edge of range population from the remote Kermadec Islands. Scientific Reports 7(1), 5948. 

ii) Jiang Y, Liu M, Zhang J, Chen Y, Chen X, Chen L, Li H, Zhang X-X, Sun B (2017) Nematode grazing promotes bacterial community dynamics in soil at the aggregate level. The ISME Journal doi: 10.1038/ismej.2017.120

iii) Wojtus JK, Fitch JL, Christian E, Dalefield T, Lawes JK, Kumar K, Peebles CL, Altermann E, Hendrickson HL (2017). Complete genome sequences of three novel Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25 bacteriophages, Noxifer, Phabio, and Skulduggery. Genome Announcements 5: e00725-17

iv) Tezanos-Pinto G, Hupman K, Wiseman N, Dwyer SL, Baker CS, Brooks L, Outhwaite B, Lea C, Stockin KA (2017). Local abundance, apparent survival and site fidelity of Bryde’s whales in the Hauraki Gulf (New Zealand) inferred from long-term photo-identification. Endangered Species Research 34:61-73.

v) Hill SD, Amiot C, Anderson MGJi W (2017). It's complicated: the association between songbird extrapair paternity and within-song complexity. Animal Behaviour 130: 187-197.

vi) Abidin Z, Mathrani A, Hunter R, Parsons D (2017).Challenges of Integrating Mobile Technology into Mathematics Instruction in Secondary Schools: An Indonesian Context. Computers in the Schools 34: 1-16.

vii) Empizo MJF, Cadatal-Raduban M, Murata T, Minami Y, Kawano K, Yamanoi K, Shimizu T, Sarukura N, Guzik M, Guyot Y, Boulon G (2017). Spectroscopic properties of Pr3+-doped 20Al(PO3)3-80LiF glasses as potential scintillators for neutron detection. Journal of Luminescence doi: 10.1016/j.jlumin.2017.06.029

viii) Adhikari J, Scogings C, Mathrani A, Sofat I (2017). Evolving digital divides in information literacy and learning outcomes: a BYOD journey in a secondary school. The International Journal of Information and Learning Technology doi: 10.1108/IJILT-04-2017-0022

ix) Rayner MJ, Young MK, Gaskin CG. Mitchel C, Brunton DH (2017). The breeding biology of northern white-faced storm petrels (Pelagodroma marina maoriana) and results of an in-situ chick translocation. Notornis 64: 76-86.

x) Bertalan T, Wu Y, Laing C, Gear CW, Kevrekidis IG (2017). Coarse-grained descriptions of dynamics for networks with both intrinsic and structural heterogeneities. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience doi: 10.3389/fncom.2017.00043

Massey news releases

Funding for computer bugs, birds calls and speech recognition
Three Massey University projects will share a chunk of $3.4 million for research into acoustic bird monitoring, detecting computer vulnerabilities,...
Bryde’s whales share secrets with their fins
Research into the long-term survival and abundance of the Hauraki Gulf's Bryde's whale population has used photographs of their fins to aid efforts...
No definitive cause of orca death
The investigation into the death of an orca washed up on Whatipu Beach has found no evidence of boat strike or live stranding.
Massey marine biologists investigate orca death
A Massey University marine conservation team is mobilising to investigate the death of a killer whale, or orca, washed up on Auckland's west coast at...
Humans may have twice as many functional genes
While some genes in our DNA control the colours of our eyes, hair and even our risk of disease, other genes seem to serve no apparent biological...
Crowdfunding to save one of the world’s rarest birds
Conservationists protecting the endangered Norfolk Island green parrot are looking toward the public to fund a new colony on Phillip Island

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