Southern Alps

Ecology of scree skinks (Oligosoma waimatense) in O Tu Wharekai Wetland, mid-Canterbury high country, New Zealand

Many of New Zealand’s 104 lizard taxa are restricted to the country’s main islands where they are vulnerable to a range of threats. Information on population trends and basic ecological data are lacking for most species, hampering conservation efforts. We monitored a population of scree skinks (Oligosoma waimatense; conservation status: Nationally Vulnerable) in an alluvial stream bed in O Tu Wharekai Wetland in the mid-Canterbury high country over 10 years (2008−2018) to understand aspects of the population’s ecology, and to clarify potential threats and options for management.

Evolution of New Zealand alpine and open-habitat plant species during the late Cenozoic

Understanding the evolutionary history and biogeography of the New Zealand alpine flora has been impeded by the lack of an integrated model of geomorphology and climate events during the Late Miocene, Pliocene and Pleistocene. A new geobiological model is presented that integrates rock uplift age, rate of uplift and the resulting summit elevations in the Southern Alps (South Island) during the last 8.0 million years with a climate template using the natural gamma radiation pattern from the eastern South Island Ocean Drilling Program Site 1119 that covers the past 3.9 million years.