Blog

  • Keanui’s Biodiversity Bonanza
    Gerald McCormack, Natural Heritage Trust First published Cook Islands News (5th June 2021), here (6th June 2021) Residents often talk about Cook Islands biodiversity, but few have discovered as many unrecorded species as 6-year-old Keanui Selam.  His recent insect-catching expeditions led to the [Continue reading →]
  • Will nodule mining destroy our deep sea ecosystem services?
    Gerald McCormack, Natural Heritage Trust First published Cook Islands News (29 May 2021),  updated here (29 May 2021) In an article concerning the possibility of seabed nodule mining in the Cook Islands (Cook Islands News 27 March), Te Ipukarea Society wrote “We are confident that further research [Continue reading →]
  • Cook Islands Seabed Minerals – the booklet
    Gerald McCormack, Natural Heritage Trust Booklet published 2016. Available here 28 April 2021 The Trust’s booklet “Cook Islands Seabed Minerals – a precautionary approach to mining” was published in 2016 after three years of research. The booklet provides baseline [Continue reading →]
  • We’re away, home again in September
    Gerald McCormack, Natural Heritage Trust First published (14 April 2021), short version CI News (14 April 2021)   The Pacific Golden Plover, or Tōrea, is our most common Alaskan migrant. It is conspicuous on larger grassy areas during the summer and most are now in their dramatic breeding [Continue reading →]
  • Anonymous TIS criticism misguided
    Gerald McCormack, Natural Heritage Trust First published CINews (24 Feb. 2021), updated. The following article answers Te Ipukarea Society (TIS) criticisms (CI News 20 February) of the author’s article on the possible impacts of seabed mining on nodule-associated benthic megafauna (CI News 11 [Continue reading →]
  • cycad japaneseCycads and their Golden Age
    Joseph Brider, Natural Heritage Trust. First published online (19 Feb 2021). What do Japanese Sago-palms, Queen Sago-palms and Cardboard Palms all have in common? Well… they are NOT palms, they are all Cycads! The ‘palm’ reference comes from the shape of their leaves and [Continue reading →]
  • Nodule mining impact on benthic megafauna
    Gerald McCormack, Natural Heritage Trust First published CI News 11 Feb. 2021, last update 23 Mar. 2021. This article discusses the likely impact of nodule mining on the megafauna associated with nodules in the South Penrhyn Basin (SPB), from Penrhyn southward to Aitutaki and Palmerston. This [Continue reading →]
  • Tree-ferns – Our Living Fossils
    Joseph Brider, Natural Heritage Trust. First published online (16 Feb 2021). Scattered throughout the Rarotonga inland forest are our Tree-ferns, known locally as Panga. These plants are not trees, they are ferns which have evolved a trunk-like stem to lift their leaves up off the forest floor in [Continue reading →]
  • Will Seabed Mining Increase Climate Change?
    Gerald McCormack, Natural Heritage Trust First published CI News 26 Sept. 2019, modified 10 Feb. 2021. In July 2019, the Greenpeace report “In Deep Water” warned: “By impacting on natural processes that store carbon, deep sea mining could even make climate change worse by releasing carbon stored in [Continue reading →]
  • Matariki Dusk Rising 14th November
    Gerald McCormack, Natural Heritage Trust First published CI News 14 November 2020, updated The Matariki or Pleiades is a cluster of several hundred stars. To the naked-eye the nine brightest stars form a distinctive, eye-catching group with a glowing background, a bit larger than a Full Moon. [Continue reading →]
  • PlumageGolden Plover Migration to Alaska
    Gerald McCormack, Natural Heritage Trust Holidaymakers gather in the airport departure lounge to leave for home, and as the boarding time approaches they hear entertainer Jake Numanga announce somewhat solemnly “Well, it’s time to go”. During February and March, Golden Plovers or [Continue reading →]
  • Raemaru Biodiversity Expedition
    Gerald McCormack, Natural Heritage Trust, 06 Jan. 2021 The invertebrate biodiversity expedition on Raemaru encountered three unique Rarotonga insects, one undescribed, and of the seven locally-unrecorded species, only one was able to be identified. In December, Maja Poeschko and Kirby Morejohn [Continue reading →]
  • Walking on water – taking it in their stride
    Joseph Brider, Natural Heritage Trust First published CI News (19 Sept 2020) The Cook Islands Biodiversity and Ethnobiology Database lists nearly 650 species of insect and it is estimated we have around 1,300 species. We have found about 300 of the unrecorded insects, and are working to find and [Continue reading →]
  • Is Mangaia the oldest Pacific island?
    Gerald McCormack First published CI News (04 June 2020 condensed) and CI Herald (10 June 2020 in full) In the Quarantine Quiz (Cook Islands News 29 May 2020) the oldest island in the Pacific was listed as Mangaia at 18 million years (Ma). This idea gained popularity with the 2010 publication [Continue reading →]