Harnessing Biodiversity Home Page 2011


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2011: Harnessing Biodiversity

As a result of our isolation, Aotearoa-New Zealand has many unique native plants and animals which are found nowhere else in the world. These endemic species combined with the range of ecosystems and constituent communities found within New Zealand, make our biodiversity both unique and vulnerable. Plant pests, pathogens and weeds cause severe losses in New Zealand’s primary production industries and threaten our natural ecosystems. Greater and more diversified trade and tourism is increasing the risk of the introduction of such unwanted pest organisms. This situation is compounded by land use intensification, changing attitudes towards the acceptability of traditional pest management strategies and potential climate change effects on pest incursion and establishment. 

Protecting our plant-based primary industries from such threats is of vital importance to New Zealand’s economy. This can be achieved through bioprotection science.

This seminar will explore the work of New Zealand’s leading bioprotection scientists from the Bio-Protection Research Centre, one of New Zealand’s seven Centres of Research Excellence. Working with key national and international collaborators and using the latest technologies and ecological theory, the Centre is developing new biological knowledge of pest organisms and their interactions with host plants, leading to the development of novel biologically-based solutions. 

Preparing for the Seminar

  Harnessing Biodiversity

Seminar Paper      



Post Seminar

Challenge Questions

  • Download theseminar paper and read this in preparation for your in-school pre-seminar workshop.
  • Download the pre-seminar preparations. Use the focus questions to help you as you read the seminar paper.
  • Post your questions for the seminar on the Seminar 5 Question Page.
  • Join the live chat discussion during the seminar. This is where you can put questions to the seminar.

  • The CHALLENGE QUESTIONS are for discussion in your school workshop after the seminar.
  • Make sure that you post your ideas and answers to the challenge questionshere.
  • This page will be monitored by teachers and scientists who will respond to your discussion.

Post a question for the seminar

If you would like to ask a question about the seminar paper before the seminar please click here. Questions will be answered during the seminar.

View the seminar powerpoint

A copy of the seminar powerpoint will be available in advance of the seminar - watch here.

Seminar LiveChat



  • You need a username and password to enter the chat. If you don't have one you need to register for the seminar series. This needs to be done BEFORE the day of the seminar.
  • Join livechat during the seminar to talk to participating students throughout New Zealand and ask questions of the scientists.
  • Most questions will be answered during the seminar; either during the chat, or at the end of the broadcast.
  • Any questions that are not answered during the seminar will be answered afterwards on the wiki.


Watch the Seminar later

Click here to watch the seminar recording  Click here to download a copy of the seminar recording

About the Presenters

Steve Wratten  |  Jacquie Bay    

Links to your school programme

This seminar links to the following NCEA Level 3 Achievement Standards:

The seminar offers many potential ideas that you could develop for an investigation.

Protection of our biodiversity and the use of pesticides is an issue of concern for New Zealand. There are a range of perspectives on the appropriateness of the use of pesticides held by different stakeholders.

and to

A list of objectives from your Year 13 programme that link into the seminar can be found on page 2 of the Pre-Seminar Questions and Discussion.

Biodiversity Activities and Investigations


What is a Worm Worth? Blue to be Green School Challenge
They may be small, slimy and have a subterranean habitat, but earthworms are an essential component of our ecosystems, providing a vital ecosystem services by contributing to nutrient cycling and soil formation.

Click here to find out more and join in the "Great Earthworm Census"

Phacelia flowers provide pollen and nectar for beneficial insects, which prey on insect pests.  The Bio-Protection Research Centre have shown that by planting Phacelia in monocultures such as vineyards or market gardens, it is possible to reduce or eliminate pesticide use.  Click here to find out more and join in the"Blue School Challenge."


Useful Resource Links 


New Zealand Biodiverstiy Strategy

Biodiversity | New Zealand Ministry for the Environment

United Nations Decade on Biodiversity

UN Decade on Biodiversity |  New Zealand Events

New Zealand Biodiversity Recording Network Online nature recording system

Wildlife New Zealand

New Zealand Landcare Trust

NIWA | Aquatic Biodiversity & Biosecurity

Decade on Biodiversity | Although UK based, the site has extensive information and good resrouces for teachers. 

Regional Biodiversity in New Zealand

Northland Regional Council | Biodiversity and Biosecurity

Auckland Regional Council  | Biosecurity

Waikato Regional Council Biodiversity

Bay of Plenty Regional Council | Biodiversity

Hawke's Bay Regional Council | Environment

Taranaki Regional Council | Environment

Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council |  Managing the Environment

Wellington Regional Council |  Biodiversity

Canterbury Regional Council | Biodiversity 

West Coast Regional Council | Environmental Management

Otago Regional Council | Pest Mangement Strategy
Southland Regional Council | Biodiversity

Ecosystem Services

Scientific Papers available online

The Greening Waipara Project

Seminar Collaborators

This seminar is the product of a collaboration between science, science education, and telecommunications experts.

The collaboration partners are:

LENScience |  The Bio-Protection Research Centre |  Lincoln University |  The National Research Centre for Growth and Development |  Kordia  |  The University of Auckland Information Technology Services.  

Television production: VoltTV and OSB
Thanks toKing's Seeds for their support of the Blue to be Green School Challenge