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Science Speakers

Our scientists are passionate about their research and fantastic communicators. They love to share their scientific expertise with the community, so if you're looking for a science speaker for your next event, you've come to the right place!

Below you will find a selection of the public science talks that we are able to offer. If you're looking for a talk on a different science topic, please let us know what you'd like through our enquiry form and we'll see what we can do to help out.

Reading the rocks: What did Earth's past landscape look like?

Description: Explaining how geologists determine Earth's past environments and processes based on the rock record.

Speaker: Dr Andrew La Croix

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Behavioural ecology of New Zealand invertebrates

Description: Chrissie focuses on the evolution of bizarre mating systems and evolution of weaponry in species like the New Zealand giraffe weevil, harvestmen, and nursery web spiders. She will share some of the secret behaviours of New Zealand's native invertebrates and why she finds these mini-creatures so fascinating.

Speaker: Dr Chrissie Painting

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Unlocking nature's vaults: caves as archives of our natural heritage.

Description: An exploration of New Zealand's cave systems from a scientific standpoint. Our work using caves as archives of past environment, climate and extreme events are introduced.

Speaker: Dr Adam Hartland

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The chemistry of honey

Description: A drum of honey is actually a large and complex web of chemical and biochemical reactions. These reactions will vary their rates according to how the honey is treated with outcomes that will have positive or negative effects for the beekeeper/honey producer.

Speaker: Professor Merilyn Manley-Harris

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Prebiotic honeys - a moving experience?

Description: Prebiotics are sugars that are not digestible but which are fermented in the colon and support "good" colonic bacteria. Some honeys are advertised as containing prebiotic sugars but are they good for you?

Speaker: Professor Merilyn Manley-Harris

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Cold comfort in a warming world

Description: The talk will walk the audience through a history of our understanding of the critical role Antarctica will play in a warming world - and why we should care!

Speaker: Professor Craig Cary

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Volcanoes of the classics: A tour of some Italian volcanoes

Description: This talk covers aspects of volcanism in Italy including the volcanic construction materials and landscape of ancient Rome, deadly Mt Vesuvius and the legendary volcanoes of the Aeolian Islands. I will present a tour of my personal experiences visiting Italy's famous volcanoes and how natural history, human history and our own ancestory can become intertwined.

Speaker: Dr Adrian Pittari

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Water off a duck’s back: Superhydrophobicity from feathers?

Description: This talk presents the science behind water repellency, looking at natural and synthetic surfaces. It presents some attempts to make feathers more water repellent.

Speaker: Associate Professor Graham Saunders

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Ignimbrite: Rock of the central North Island

Description: Ignimbrite landscapes are a feature of the central North Island and are the result of large explosive eruptions. This talk will outline what ignimbrites are, how they are formed and how they were first recognised in New Zealand. The hazards and practical uses of ignimbrites will be discussed highlighting examples from around the world and here in New Zealand.

Speaker: Dr Adrian Pittari

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Climate change impacts on our agriculture

Description: Overall changes in future pasture production may be less than many would expect, but there are very significant impacts of climate change expected on our agricultural systems. Farmers can plan for some including dryer, longer summers and production shifting into the winter, but others including the increasing risk of extreme droughts and storms will be challenging.

Speaker: Professor Troy Baisden

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Radiocarbon dating and Pacific settlement

Description: Fiona will discuss how radiocarbon (14C) dating has contributed to the picture of the first settlement of the Pacific by people 3300 years ago. She will describe how context is essential to the interpretation of 14C dates and how 14C is used to tell us the environments these people encountered.

Speaker: Dr Fiona Petchey

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