Delivering the best outcomes for land, people and water

Delivering the best outcomes for land people and water demands both a depth and breadth of skills and a passion for getting the balance right. That's why we don't just look for talented people, we seek out experts who share our vision that the best approach is one that meets the needs of land, water and people.

This month we feature our Senior Ecology Consultant, Tony Payne talking about the role of an Ecology consultant and the varied projects he has on his plate.

If you're passionate about your career and want to make a real difference, take a peek at our careers page for all our latest roles on offer. Right now we are looking for an ecologist with at least 10 years’ experience, who has had a demonstrated focus on coastal and marine related projects.

Is this you? Apply now. 

 

Our latest video blog is all about our people

Here’s a glimpse into what our Managing Director, Aaron Andrew, does and what he looks for in potential team members.

If you're passionate about your career and want to make a real difference, take a peek at our careers page for all our latest roles on offer. We are currently on the lookout for talented Ecologists, Planners and Administration support.

A relic of the Jurassic period - Spotlight on the Kahikatea

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Our Ecology Consultant Dr. Arie Spyksma shines the spotlight on New Zealands tallest forest tree this week.

Kahikatea (Dacrycarpus dacrydioides) grows in excess of 60 metres on occasion. Amazingly, these trees are a relic of the Jurassic period, with pollen and leaves being discovered in Jurassic rocks (160 – 180 million years old) where they were likely pollinated by pterosaurs, not birds.

Historically there were widespread kahikatea forests through New Zealand’s low lying areas, with these trees thriving in frequently damp areas such as floodplains and swamps. Unfortunately, the expansion of New Zealand’s agricultural interests and the conversion of many low lying boggy areas into uniform expanses of pasture lead to the demise of much of our kahikatea forest. The best place to still see these forests in their prime today are the extensive freshwater swamp forests in Westland.

These kahikatea made up part of a small remnant grove in South Auckland, near Pukekohe. At the time of taking this photo (March) many of the fleshy seed receptacles had ripened (changing from green to orange/red) and were being engulfed by a litany of tui and kereru, a highly effective dispersal mechanism. 

Arie’s field of expertise is extremely wide. He works largely in ecological impact assessment, which involves environmental monitoring, marine monitoring, fauna survey, report writing, scientific research, field research, conservation and ecological restoration. 

For more information on Arie view his profile here.

 

Sniffing out the skinks! - An initiative for our four-legged employee

In an initiative to develop a flexible, rapid, cost effective and accurate methodology for a native skink presence survey at 4Sight, we’ve turned to our four-legged employees!

It’s well known that dogs have a sense of smell far superior to our own - a human has approximately 5 million scent glands, in comparison to dogs which (depending on breed) can have anywhere from 125 million to 300 million.

The use of canine super-sniffers is not a new concept in the realm of conservation – in fact New Zealand is recognised as one of the pioneering countries in the development of dog training to support species recovery objectives. 4Sight is continually looking to develop practical solutions to help us live, work and thrive in our environment and accordingly, is supporting the training of a native skink detection dog, using one of our most widespread species – copper skink – as a proxy for native skinks. Whilst dogs have been trained to detect the presence of the invasive plague skinks, and others can detect native geckos; this initiative is (as far as we know) the first of its kind in New Zealand. Where human error and seasonal conditions can impact detection accuracy, a well-trained dog can potentially indicate presence of native skinks within minutes – and in a far less invasive manner.

Enter Molly – 4Sight’s resident chocolate labrador. With a drive to please and enthusiasm to boot, she’s got the goods to make a top notch conservation dog. Check in regularly, as we’ll update her progress on this blog, with regular posts by Molly’s handler Rachel throughout the training and assessment process. Watch this space!

Geckos in the spotlight!

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At least 39 species of gecko live in New Zealand, however only 18 of these species have been described. These species show a great variety in size and colour, and range from bright greens and yellows to camouflage greys and browns. New Zealand geckos are also unique in that they give birth to live young rather than lay eggs, something that is only shared with geckos from New Caledonia. 

Geckos are extremely cryptic and difficult to detect, especially on mainland New Zealand. They are also under threat from introduced predators and habitat destruction, which has resulted in low population densities. 

However, there is potential for geckos to be discovered in your backyard. They are attracted to large areas of dense divaricating shrubs such as coprosma species which provide safe cover, but also provides fruit and attract insects for geckos to feed on. They also enjoy kawakawa which provide fruit and flax, while mānuka and rātā offer nectar. 

This is something to consider for any site development project. Our ecology team at 4sight are often seen heading out at night to spotlight for geckos, whose eyes reflect their scanning torches enabling them to assess species presence. This enables our ecologists to monitor gecko populations for an Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEEs) and evaluate the impacts and monitoring outcomes as part of mitigation requirements of the Resource Management Act. 

For more information on assessing the ecological impact of your next development, download the guide here.

Photo courtesy of Paul Caiger, who is currently a PhD student at the Leigh Marine Laboratory studying fish ecology. When the weather is too rough to go diving, Paul can be found in the bush searching for reptiles to photograph.