Theo Van Noort is a Research Associate at the New Zealand Institute of Plant and Food Research. He currently works on entomology, bombiculture and crop pollination, and previously his Master’s research at the University of Auckland examined invasive wasp populations and their effect on pollination.
The Antipodes Islands are a world heritage nature reserve in the Pacific’s subantartic. The islands are a crucial breeding ground for unique sea birds like wandering albatross and storm petrels and are also home to all manner of other creatures including endemic parrots, flightless beetles and elephant seals. In February 2018 the New Zealand Government’s Department of Conservation launched a monitoring expedition to the Antipodes Islands to determine if a house mouse eradication effort in 2016 had been successful. The “Million Dollar Mouse” project aimed to halt ecological damage caused by house mice which had reached epic densities on the isolated island feasting on seeds, vegetation, insects, and birds and their eggs.
Theo joined the expedition south to conduct various entomological surveys on the island. The data from these surveys will show whether insect populations are recovering following the eradication and potentially uncover undescribed insect species endemic to the island.
Please enjoy these images provided by Theo van Noort from his trip.