Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences News

Latest news 

Galapagos mockingbirds

17 November 2017Dr Luis Ortiz-Catedral joined Dr Jaime Chaves (Universidad San Francisco de Quito) and Dr Jose Andres (University of Saskatchewan) to develop a new project titled “Genomic correlates of phenotypic diversification in Galapagos mockingbirds”, funded by the National Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada. Galapagos mockingbirds represent a comparatively homogeneous group of birds in stark contrast to Galapagos finches, which colonized the archipelago around the same time. Nothing is known about the genomic correlate or genetic mechanisms for inter-island diversification of mockingbirds, or the role of genetic drift and selection in maintaining this relative “morphological uniformity” in isolated lineages.


Blue Planet 2

17 November 2017. The BBC documentary series Blue Planet 2 showed footage of oceanic bottlenose dolphins and false killers whales combining to form a mixed species aggregation. Aspects of this false killer whale behaviour form part of new research underway by Coastal-Marine Research Group PhD student Catherine Peters and Dr Gabriela Tezanos-Pinto. During the days the BBC were filming, the Massey team worked from two platforms (inlcuding Massey’s research vessel Te Epiwhenia) to undertaken acoustic recordings and collect remote biopsy samples from both species in these mixed groups.


Invited talk at cancer symposium

14 November 2017Associate Professor Evelyn Sattlegger has given an invited oral presentation at the International 'New Zealand Breast Cancer Symposium' entitled "Towards testing a new drug target that promises to impair breast cancer cell growth, using molecular biology approaches". Associate Professor Satlegger also served as a chair in one of the sessions.

Marsden Fund success

03 November 2017. Major success in the 2017 Marsden Fund round for staff within and linked to INMS and NZIAS: Distinguished Professor Peter Schwerdtfeger, Dr Elke Pahl, Professor Mick Roberts, Professor Carlo Laing, Dr Kevin Parker, Professor Thomas Pfeiffer, Dr Xiang-Qian Zhu, Dr Olin Silander, Dr Honour McCann, Distinguished Professor Paul Rainey. See here for full list of funded projects

International coverage of marine research

30 October 2017. Dr Adam Smith and his research team released footage of a great white shark taken from the Kermadec Islands as part of a survey of sharks and other fishes across the Southwest Pacific in collaboration with Global FinPrint. The story has received major attention in New Zealand and overseas. See here for examples: TVNZ One NewsThe Telegraph

New initiative with high-tech company

27 October 2017. Distinguished Professor Gaven Martin, Professor Ruili Wang and Professor Dianne Brunton visited Hefei in China to meet with the Research Director and sign a funding agreement with IFLYTEK. IFLYTEK is one of the fastest growing high-tech companies in the world. This agreement will provide core funding to establish the position of Professor of Knowledge Science and Engineering within INMS.

PhD scholarships awarded to INMS students

20 October 2017. Three PhD students within INMS have secured Massey University Doctoral Research Dissemination Grants. Congratulations to Ivan Welsh, Jayson Cosme and Sophie Shamailov.

Immense oganesson projected to have no electron shells

09 October 2017. From Chemistry World: On paper, oganesson [element 118] has the closed-subshell rare-gas electronic configuration, ending with a filled 7p shell. But theoretical chemist Peter Schwerdtfeger of Massey University in New Zealand, nuclear physicist Witold Nazarewicz of Michigan State University in the US, and their co-workers predict that perturbations of electrons orbiting such an immense nucleus cause them to more or less lose their shell structure entirely and to become smeared out into a diffuse ‘gas’ of charge. Read the full Chemistry World article here and a summary by New Zealand Herald here.

Student funding for international research

06 October 2017. INMS PhD student Azadeh Izadi has been awarded a Massey University Foundation Grant to visit the University of Leeds, UK and work with Professor Tony Cohn and his group. Azadeh’s research focuses on 3D topological reasoning that extends a model originally developed by Professor Cohn.


National Geographic funding for student research

06 October 2017. PhD student Jessica Patiño Pérez has received funding from the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration to support her project, "Do vocal dialects exist in New Zealand bottlenose dolphins? The role of geographic isolation and social associations in driving diversity of signature whistles".


Latest 10  publications

i) Adegoke NA, Riaz N, Sanusi RA, Smith ANH, Pawley MDM (2017). EWMA-type scheme for monitoring location parameter using auxiliary information. Computers & Industrial Engineering. doi:10.1016/j.cie.2017.10.013

ii) Butela KA, Gurney SMR, Hendrickson HL, et al. (2017). Complete genome sequences of cluster A mycobacteriophages BobSwaget, Fred313, KADY, Lokk, MyraDee, Stagni, and StepMih. Genome Announcements 5: e01182-17 doi:10.1128/genomeA.01182-17.

iii) Rainey PB, Remigi P, Farr AD, Lind PA (2017). Darwin was right: where now for experimental evolution? Current Opinion in Genetics & Development 47:102-109.

iv) Daubech B, Remigi P, Doin de Moura G, Marchetti M, Pouzet C, Auriac MC, Gokhale CS, Masson-Boivin C, Capela D (2017). Spatio-temporal control of mutualism in legumes helps spread symbiotic nitrogen fixation. eLife 6:e28683.

v) Hill SD, Aryal A, Pawley MDM, Ji W (2017). So much for the city: urban-rural song variation in a widespread Asiatic songbird. Integrative Zoology. doi:10.1111/1749-4877.12284

vi) Muir PR, Marshall PA, Abdulla A, Aguirre JD (2017). Species identity and depth predict bleaching severity in reef building corals: Shall the deep inherit the reef? Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284.

vii) Sadeghi B, Yu R, Wang R (2017). Shifting interpolation kernel toward orthogonal projection. IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing. doi:10.1109/TSP.2017.2759100

viii) Le Port A, Montgomery JC, Smith ANH, Croucher AE, McLeod IM, Lavery SD (2017). Temperate marine protected area provides recruitment subsidies to local fisheries. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284:20171300.

ix) Smith ANH, Anderson MJ, Pawley MDM (2017). Could ecologists be more random? Straightforward alternatives to haphazard spatial sampling. Ecography 40: 1251–1255.

x) Denisenko E, Guler R, Mhlanga MM, Suzuki H, Brombacher F, Schmeier S (2017). Genome-wide profiling of transcribed enhancers during macrophage activation. Epigenetics & Chromatin 10:50.

Massey news releases

The science of saving our honey bees
Everything from kiwifruit orchards to vineyards relies on pollination by domesticated honey bees, but as their numbers plummet from a destructive...
Saving birds through their own song
Conservationists have struggled for years to create software capable of identifying bird species through their song alone - new funding is giving...
Massey projects funded to unlock curious minds
Five Massey projects have been awarded more than $350,000 to help children explore biomechanics, air quality, Māori participation in science,...
$15.6m Marsden funding a record for Massey
Massey researchers have received more than $15.6 million from the Royal Society of New Zealand's annual Marsden Fund for 26 projects, a record number...
Coral reefs may have refuge in deeper water
A Massey marine ecologist is helping to uncover the ways the world's coral reefs could survive in the face of rising global temperatures.
Curious great white shark plays with camera
Massey scientists captured some astonishing footage of a great white shark on a recent research expedition to the Southwest Pacific

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