John Lort Stokes
Admiral John Lort Stokes, RN was an officer in the Royal Navy who travelled on HMS Beagle for close to eighteen years. Stokes grew up in Scotchwell near Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire and he joined the Navy on 20 September 1824. The first ship he served on was HMS Prince Regent, in October 1825 he joined the crew of the Beagle under Captain Phillip Parker King, the Beagle was involved in a survey of the waters of South America. In 1828 the commander of HMS Beagle, Pringle Stokes and Robert FitzRoy assumed command, following this, Stokes was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, and served under Commander John Clements Wickham for a survey of Australasian waters. When Wickham was invalided in 1841, Stokes took command of the ship, while Stokes was in command the Beagle surveyed Timor and New Zealand, returning to England in 1843. When he returned he wrote Discoveries in Australia, with an account of the coasts and rivers explored and surveyed during the voyage of the Beagle, 1837–1843, in July 1846 Stokes was promoted to captain and commanded the steam ship HMS Acheron surveying New Zealand for four years.
Due to budget cuts, Acheron was replaced by a smaller vessel, the charts produced by Stokes remain in use to this day. From 1860 to 1863 Stokes commanded the ship HMS Rose surveying the coasts of the English Channel and he retired in 1863, was promoted to the rank of rear admiral in 1863, vice-admiral in 1871 and admiral in 1877. He died at his home in Scotchwell, Stokes is commemorated in the scientific name of two species of reptiles, Astrotia stokesii and Egernia stokesii. Laughton, J. K. Stokes, John Lort, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press,2004 Serle, Works by John Lort Stokes at Project Gutenberg Works by or about John Lort Stokes at Internet Archive
Southern right whale
The southern right whale is a baleen whale, one of three species classified as right whales belonging to the genus Eubalaena. Approximately 10,000 southern right whales are spread throughout the part of the Southern Hemisphere. Right whales were first classified in the Balaena genus in 1758 by Carl Linnaeus, through the 1800s and 1900s, in fact, the family Balaenidae has been the subject of great taxonometric debate. Authorities have repeatedly recategorized the three populations of right whale plus the bowhead whale, as one, three or four species, either in a genus or in two separate genera. In the early whaling days, they were all thought to be a single species, the southern right whale was initially described as Balaena australis by Desmoulins in 1822. Eventually, it was recognized that bowheads and right whales were in fact different, in 2000, Rosenbaum et al. disagreed, based on data from their genetic study of DNA samples from each of the whale populations. The northern Pacific and Atlantic populations are distinct, with the North Pacific right whale being more closely related to the southern right whale than to the North Atlantic right whale.
Genetic differences between E. japonica and E. australis are much smaller than other baleen whales represent among different ocean basins and it is believed that the right whale populations first split because of the joining of North and South America. The rising temperatures at the created a second split, into the northern and southern groups. In 2002, the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission accepted Rosenbaums findings, the cladogram is a tool for visualizing and comparing the evolutionary relationships between taxa. The point where a node branches off is analogous to an evolutionary branching – the diagram can be read left-to-right, the following cladogram of the family Balaenidae serves to illustrate the current scientific consensus as to the relationships between the southern right whale and the other members of its family. Other junior synonyms for E. australis have included B. antarctica, B. antipodarum, Hunterus temminckii and its skin is very dark grey or black, occasionally with some white patches on the belly.
The right whales callosities appear white due to colonies of cyamids. It is almost indistinguishable from the closely related North Atlantic and the North Pacific right whales and it may have fewer callosities on its head than North Atlantic and more on its lower lips than the two northern species. The testicles of right whales are likely to be the largest of any animal and this suggests that sperm competition is important in the mating process. However, based on records and unconfirmed sightings in modern periods. Moreover, a stranding of a 21.3 m long right whale at Gajana, northwestern India in November,1944 was reported, the proportion and numbers of molten-coloured individuals are notable in this species compared with the other species in the Northern Hemisphere. Some whales remain white even after growing up, life span is not clear although whales seem to reach over 100 years old
The Milford Track is a widely known tramping route in New Zealand – located amidst mountains and temperate rain forest in Fiordland National Park in the southwest of the South Island. The 53.5 km hike starts at Glade Wharf at the head of Lake Te Anau and finishes in Milford Sound at Sandfly Point, traversing rainforests, and an alpine pass. The New Zealand Department of Conservation classifies this track as a Great Walk, there are three private lodges and four day shelters available. The Fastest Known Time is currently held by the american Brian Culmo in 6H55 The native Māori people used the Milford Track for gathering and transporting valuable greenstone, there are many Māori legends about the track and the native species found in it. Coming in from the Milford end, Donald Sutherland and John Mackay were the first European explorers to see what are now known as Mackay Falls and Sutherland Falls and he was the first guide to take walkers from Lake Te Anau to Milford Sound. McKinnon began by guiding tours himself and expanded with a campaign from there.
Many parts of the Milford Track are named for McKinnon, including Mackinnon Pass and he impressed with his ability at cooking pompolonas, a type of scone from which one of the guided trip huts takes its name. The track was famous with women from early on. Some parties consisted of three-quarters females even in the first half of the 20th century. Today, a system allows approximately half the capacity of the track to be used by guided tours. The two types of walker use separate systems of huts, due to its popularity and the limited facilities available for overnighting, the track remains heavily regulated. Unlike most of the other Great Walks the Milford Track has no direct carpark access, there is foot access to the start via the Dore Pass Route although this is an advanced track and not recommended for most walkers. At the northern end of the track at Sandfly Point another boat is required to take back to Milford Sound. The north to south option still involves both boats but can only be done during the winter season, during the summer peak season of late October to late April, access to the trail is highly regulated.
Walkers must complete the track in four days, travelling only in the northward direction, camping is prohibited on the trail. Walkers can tramp the track independently, or as part of a more expensive guided walk with a guide company, a maximum of 90 walkers can start the trail per day. Usually these 90 places are booked out for months in advance. Due to the ticket system and limited hut capacities, trampers need to keep moving even during bad weather
Whales are a widely distributed and diverse group of fully aquatic placental marine mammals. They are a grouping within the infraorder Cetacea, usually excluding dolphins. Whales and porpoises belong to the order Cetartiodactyla with even-toed ungulates and their closest living relatives are the hippopotamuses, the two parvorders of whales, baleen whales and toothed whales, are thought to have split apart around 34 million years ago. The whales comprise eight extant families, Balaenidae, Eschrichtiidae, Physeteridae, Whales are creatures of the open ocean, they feed, give birth and raise their young at sea. So extreme is their adaptation to life underwater that they are unable to survive on land. Whales range in size from the 2.6 metres and 135 kilograms dwarf sperm whale to the 29.9 metres and 190 metric tons blue whale, the sperm whale is the largest toothed predator on earth. Several species exhibit sexual dimorphism, in that the females are larger than males, baleen whales have no teeth, instead they have plates of baleen, a fringe-like structure used to expel water while retaining the krill and plankton which they feed on.
They use their throat pleats to expand the mouth to take in huge gulps of water, balaenids have heads that can make up 40% of their body mass to take in water. Toothed whales, on the hand, have conical teeth designed for catching fish or squid. Some species, such as whales, are well adapted for diving to great depths to catch squid. Whales have evolved from land-living mammals, as such they must breathe air regularly, though they can remain submerged for long periods. They have blowholes located on top of their heads, through air is taken in. They are warm-blooded, and have a layer of fat, or blubber, under the skin, with streamlined fusiform bodies and two limbs that are modified into flippers, whales can travel at up to 20 knots, though they are not as flexible or agile as seals. Whales produce a variety of vocalizations, notably the extended songs of the humpback whale. Although whales are widespread, most species prefer the waters of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Species such as humpbacks and blue whales are capable of travelling thousands of miles without feeding, males typically mate with multiple females every year, but females only mate every two to three years.
Calves are typically born in the spring and summer months and females bear all the responsibility for raising them, mothers of some species fast and nurse their young for one to two years. Once relentlessly hunted for their products, whales are now protected by international law, the North Atlantic right whales nearly became extinct in the twentieth century, with a population low of 450, and the North Pacific gray whale population is ranked Critically Endangered by the IUCN
Geologically, a fjord or fiord is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created by glacial erosion. Norways coastline is estimated at 29,000 kilometres with 1,190 fjords, a fjord is formed when a glacier cuts a U-shaped valley by ice segregation and abrasion of the surrounding bedrock. Glacial melting is accompanied by the rebounding of Earths crust as the ice load, in some cases this rebound is faster than sea level rise. Most fjords are deeper than the adjacent sea, Norway, fjords generally have a sill or shoal at their mouth caused by the previous glaciers reduced erosion rate and terminal moraine. In many cases this causes extreme currents and large saltwater rapids. Saltstraumen in Norway is often described as the worlds strongest tidal current and these characteristics distinguish fjords from rias, which are drowned valleys flooded by the rising sea. Drammensfjorden is cut almost in two by the Svelvik ridge, a moraine that during the ice cover was under sea level. During the winter there is usually little inflow of freshwater.
Surface water and deeper water are mixed during winter because of the cooling of the surface. In the deep there is still fresh water from the summer with less density than the saltier water along the coast. Offshore wind, common in the areas during winter, sets up a current on the surface from the inner to the outer parts. This current on the surface in turn pulls dense salt water from the coast across the fjord threshold, during the summer season there is usually a large inflow of river water in the inner areas. This freshwater gets mixed with saltwater creating a layer of water with a slightly higher surface than the ocean which in turn sets up a current from the river mouths towards the ocean. This current is more salty towards the coast and right under the surface current there is a reverse current of saltier water from the coast. In the deeper parts of the fjord the cold water remaining from winter is still, fjords with a shallow threshold this deep water is not replaced every year and low oxygen concentration makes the deep water unsuitable for fish and animals.
In the most extreme cases there is a constant barrier of freshwater on the surface, gaupnefjorden branch of Sognefjorden is strongly affected by freshwater as glacial river flow in. Velfjorden has little inflow of freshwater, as late as 2000, some coral reefs were discovered along the bottoms of the Norwegian fjords. These reefs were found in fjords from the north of Norway to the south, the marine life on the reefs is believed to be one of the most important reasons why the Norwegian coastline is such a generous fishing ground
South Island piopio
The South Island piopio known as the New Zealand thrush, was a passerine bird of the family Oriolidae. The South Island piopio was originally described in the genus Tanagra, based on their smaller size, the description of the Stephens Island piopio was sometimes thought to be based on juvenile birds, but is now considered to be valid. Two subspecies are recognized, †T. c, the Stephens Island piopio was much smaller than the nominate race. The South Island piopio was considered to be one of the best song birds native to New Zealand, South Island piopios were omnivorous, and relatively unafraid of humans, as they have been recorded as taking scraps of food from campers. Lice of the genus Brueelia were found on the South Island piopio, the South Island piopio was once considered common in undergrowth forests of New Zealands South Island, until 1863 when the population began to decline. The piopio continued to decline at a rapid rate throughout the 1880s mainly due to predation by cats and rats introduced to the island by humans, by 1888 the bird was said to be the rarest in all of New Zealand, and by 1905 it was considered virtually extinct.
The last confirmed specimen was shot at Oharu in 1902, although alleged sightings continued, the last supposed sighting was in 1963. The Stephens Island population became extinct, apparently in 1897, due to predation by feral cats which had multiplied to number in the hundreds by that time. The last specimen was taken on January 7,1897, a female skin purchased from W. F. H. Rosenberg, World Museum Liverpool B.20.12. 01-24 and B.20.12. The last three are the ones with reliable dates, having been taken in 1894,1895 and 1897. New Zealand Bird Notes 3, 88-106, pDf fulltext Dunckley, J. V. & Todd, E. M. Birds West of Waiau River. New Zealand Bird Notes 3, 163-164, a new Turnagra from Stephens Island, New Zealand. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 28, 121-124, the land bird fauna of Stephens Island, New Zealand in the early 1890s, and the cause of its demise. PDF fulltext Medway, David G. Taxonomic status of the Stephens Island piopio, PDF fulltext Olson, Storrs L. Parkes, K. C. Clench, M. H.
& Borecky, S. R, the affinities of the New Zealand passerine genus Turnagra. PDF fulltext Palma, Ricardo L. Amendments and additions to the 1982 list of chewing lice from birds in New Zealand, PDF fulltext Sparrman, Anders, In, Museum Carlsonianum, in quo novas et selectas aves, coloribus ad vivum brevique descriptiones illustratas 2, plate 45. 3D view of specimens RMNH110.040, RMNH110.041, RMNH110.056, RMNH110.057, RMNH110.058 and RMNH110.059 at Naturalis, Leiden. Artwork produced for the book Extinct Birds of New Zealand, by Alan Tennyson, Te Papa Press, Wellington,2006 New Zealand ecology, Extinct birds - TerraNature article
West Coast, New Zealand
The West Coast is a region of New Zealand on the west coast of the South Island, one of the more remote and most sparsely populated areas of the country. It is administered by the West Coast Regional Council, at the territorial authority level, the region comprises Buller District, Grey District and Westland District. The principal towns are Westport and Hokitika, fiordland is on the west coast, but is in the Southland Region rather than the West Coast Region. Inhabitants of the West Coast are colloquially known as Coasters, the region reaches from Kahurangi Point in the north to Awarua Point in the south, a distance of 600 km. To the west is the Tasman Sea, and to the east are the Southern Alps, much of the land is rugged, with a coastal plain where much of the population resides. The land is very scenic, with wild coastlines, scenic areas include the Haast Pass and Franz Josef Glaciers, the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki and the Heaphy Track. The region has a high rainfall due to the prevailing northwesterly wind pattern and the location of the Southern Alps.
The rain shadow effect is responsible for the arid climate of the Canterbury Plains on the other side of the Southern Alps. The regions area is 23,276 km2 and it is divided into the three districts of Buller and Westland. Industries on the West Coast include mining for coal and alluvial gold and wood processing, dairy farming has grown strongly - the local dairy co-operatives Westland Milk Products remained independent when most others merged to form Fonterra in 2001. Other industries are the manufacturing and sales of greenstone jewellery, sphagnum moss gathering, the sub-national GDP of the region was estimated at US$779 million in 2003, 1% of national GDP. The region is home to Māori, who valued it for the greenstone found there in abundance, the region was only occasionally visited by Europeans until the discovery of gold near the Taramakau River in 1864 by two Māori, Ihaia Tainui and Haimona Taukau. By the end of the year there were an estimated 1800 prospectors, many of them around the Hokitika area, after that time, the population dwindled, but the main towns that still exist had become established.
Following greenstone and gold, the valuable mineral was coal. Discovered near the Buller River in the mid-1840s, mining began in earnest during the 1860s, by the 1880s coal had become the region’s main industry, with mines throughout the northern half of the region, especially around Westport. Many of these continued in operation until the mid-20th century, timber has long been a major industry, although in recent years there has been an uneasy balance between forestry for wood and forestry for conservation. Much of the region is public land administered by the Department of Conservation, ecotourism is now an important industry, and this goes hand in hand with the conservation efforts. The region is populated, especially in the south, with the 2006 census recording 31,326 inhabitants, up from 30,303 in 2001
Elephants are large mammals of the family Elephantidae and the order Proboscidea. Three species are recognised, the African bush elephant, the African forest elephant, Elephants are scattered throughout sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Elephantidae is the surviving family of the order Proboscidea, now extinct, members of the order include deinotheres, mammoths. Male African elephants are the largest extant terrestrial animals and can reach a height of 4 m, all elephants have several distinctive features, the most notable of which is a long trunk or proboscis, used for many purposes, particularly breathing, lifting water, and grasping objects. Their incisors grow into tusks, which can serve as weapons and as tools for moving objects, Elephants large ear flaps help to control their body temperature. Their pillar-like legs can carry their great weight, African elephants have larger ears and concave backs while Asian elephants have smaller ears and convex or level backs. Elephants are herbivorous and can be found in different habitats including savannahs, forests and they prefer to stay near water.
They are considered to be keystone species due to their impact on their environments, other animals tend to keep their distance from elephants while predators, such as lions, tigers and wild dogs, usually target only young elephants. Females tend to live in groups, which can consist of one female with her calves or several related females with offspring. The groups are led by a known as the matriarch. Elephants have a society in which multiple family groups come together to socialise. Males leave their family groups when they reach puberty and may live alone or with other males, calves are the centre of attention in their family groups and rely on their mothers for as long as three years. Elephants can live up to 70 years in the wild and they communicate by touch, sight and sound, elephants use infrasound, and seismic communication over long distances. Elephant intelligence has been compared with that of primates and cetaceans and they appear to have self-awareness and show empathy for dying or dead individuals of their kind.
African elephants are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature while the Asian elephant is classed as endangered, one of the biggest threats to elephant populations is the ivory trade, as the animals are poached for their ivory tusks. Other threats to elephants include habitat destruction and conflicts with local people. Elephants are used as working animals in Asia, in the past, they were used in war, they are often controversially put on display in zoos, or exploited for entertainment in circuses. Elephants are highly recognisable and have featured in art, religion, literature
Bottlenose dolphins, the genus Tursiops, are the most common and well-known members of the family Delphinidae, the family of oceanic dolphin. Recent molecular studies show the genus contains two species, the bottlenose dolphin and the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin, instead of one. Research in 2011 revealed a species, the Burrunan dolphin. Bottlenose dolphins inhabit warm and temperate seas worldwide and they live in all oceans except for the Arctic and Antarctic Circle area. Bottlenose dolphins live in groups typically of 10–30 members, called pods and their diets consist mainly of forage fish. Dolphins often work as a team to harvest fish schools, Dolphins search for prey primarily using echolocation, which is similar to sonar. They emit clicking sounds and listen for the echos to determine the location and shape of nearby items. Numerous investigations of bottlenose dolphin intelligence have been conducted, examining mimicry, use of language, object categorization. They can use tools and transmit cultural knowledge across generations, Bottlenose dolphins gained popularity from aquarium shows and television programs such as Flipper.
They have trained by militaries to locate sea mines or detect. In some areas, they cooperate with local fishermen by driving fish into their nets, some encounters with humans are harmful to the dolphins, people hunt them for food, and dolphins are killed inadvertently as a bycatch of tuna fishing and by getting caught in crab traps. The deepest dive ever recorded for a dolphin was 300 meters. This was accomplished by Tuffy, a dolphin trained by the US Navy, scientists were long aware that Tursiops dolphins might consist of more than one species. Molecular genetics allowed much greater insight into this previously intractable problem, truncatus lives in the Black Sea, The Pacific bottlenose dolphin, another subspecies of T. truncatus and T. aduncus, but is not considered a separate species by the IUCN. The two ecotypes of the bottlenose dolphin within the western North Atlantic are represented by the shallower water or coastal ecotype. Their ranges overlap, but they have shown to be genetically distinct.
They are not currently described, however, as species or subspecies. In general, genetic variation between populations is significant, even nearby populations
Fiordland National Park
Fiordland National Park occupies the southwest corner of the South Island of New Zealand. It is the largest of the 14 national parks in New Zealand, with an area of 12,500 km2, the park is administered by the Department of Conservation. During the cooler past, glaciers carved many deep fiords, the most famous of which is Milford Sound, other notable fiords include Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound. From one of the peaks within Fiordland National Park, a view of Mount Aspiring/Tititea to the far north can be observed. Fiordlands coast is steep and crenellated, with the running from the valleys of the southern ranges of the Southern Alps, such as the Kepler. At the northern end of the park, several peaks rise to over 2,000 metres, ice has carved islands from the mainland, leaving two large uninhabited offshore islands, Secretary Island and Resolution Island. Several large lakes lie wholly or partly within the boundaries, notably Lake Te Anau, Lake Manapouri, Lake Monowai, Lake Hauroko. The Sutherland Falls, to the southwest of Milford Sound on the Milford Track, are among the worlds highest waterfalls and this supports the lush temperate rain forests of the Fiordland temperate forests ecoregion.
The wildlife in this area include dolphins and birds, introduced species include mice, rats and deer. Among the birds are the kakapo, the only flightless parrot in the world, there is the kiwi, which is native to New Zealand. The park is forested with Nothofagus trees, a large variety of understory shrubs and ferns being present, examples of the forest floor vegetation include crown fern. Road access to Fiordland is restricted to the Milford Road, which runs north from Te Anau, from there it crosses the northwest corner of the park, reaching its terminus at Milford Sound. South of Te Anau a smaller road links to Manapouri, a minor road links Doubtful Sound with the western edge of Lake Manapouri via the Wilmot Pass. Light aircraft and helicopter services link with Milford Sound, which has a boat marina. Parts of Fiordland National Park are a designated Wilderness Area and aircraft landings are not permitted, the park is a popular destination for alpine climbers and especially for trampers, with the Milford, Kepler and Routeburn Tracks all in or close to the park.
Fiordland is a challenging tramping destination, off-track travel often relies on following deer trails. Sandflies and poor weather are a hazard, other tourists are attracted to areas such as Milford Sound. Red deer were introduced to New Zealand in the 1850s and they subsequently colonised the Fiordland Park area, costs were recouped from the sale of deer hides
A waterfall is a place where water flows over a vertical drop or a series of drops in the course of a stream or river. Waterfalls occur where meltwater drops over the edge of an iceberg or ice shelf. Waterfalls are commonly formed in the course of a river. At these times the channel is narrow and deep. When the river courses over resistant bedrock, erosion happens slowly, as the watercourse increases its velocity at the edge of the waterfall, it plucks material from the riverbed. Whirlpools created in the turbulence as well as sand and stones carried by the increase the erosion capacity. This causes the waterfall to carve deeper into the bed and to recede upstream, often over time, the waterfall will recede back to form a canyon or gorge downstream as it recedes upstream, and it will carve deeper into the ridge above it. The rate of retreat for a waterfall can be as high as one, the outcropping, more resistant cap rock will collapse under pressure to add blocks of rock to the base of the waterfall.
Waterfalls normally form in an area due to erosion. After a long period of being formed, the water falling off the ledge will retreat. Eventually, as the pit grows deeper, the waterfall collapses to be replaced by a steeply sloping stretch of river bed, a river sometimes flows over a large step in the rocks that may have been formed by a fault line. Waterfalls can occur along the edge of a trough, where a stream or river flowing into a glacier continues to flow into a valley after the glacier has receded or melted. The large waterfalls in Yosemite Valley are examples of this phenomenon, another reason hanging valleys may form is where two rivers join and one is flowing faster than the other. Waterfalls can be grouped into ten classes based on the average volume of water present on the fall using a logarithmic scale. Class 10 waterfalls include Niagara Falls, Paulo Afonso Falls and Khone Falls, young Wrote Waterfalls and process this work made waterfalls a much more serious topic for research for modern Geoscientists.
Ledge waterfall, Water descends vertically over a cliff, maintaining partial contact with the bedrock. Block/Sheet. Classical, Ledge waterfalls where fall height is equal to stream width. Curtain, Ledge waterfalls which descend over a larger than the width of falling water stream