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Smart buoys, science and ‘rock snot’ on show at open day

Smart buoys, science and ‘rock snot’ on show at open day

Fascinating and important research happening at New Zealand’s largest independent science organisation will be on show this weekend as part of Cawthron Institute’s fourth annual open day.

What: Cawthron Institute Open Day, free entry
Where: Cawthron Institute, EnviroTech Wing, 98 Halifax Street East
When: 10am to 3pm Sunday, June 8 2014

This year’s open day will be held for the first time at Cawthron’s main headquarters on Halifax Street East, and will include tours of its brand new marine and freshwater research centre - the EnviroTech Wing. Previous open days have been held at Cawthron Aquaculture Park at Glenhaven.

“Our first open day at Cawthron Aquaculture Park attracted overwhelming public interest so we decided to make it an annual event,” Cawthron Institute Community Educator Jo Thompson says. “Last year we had more than 500 people of all ages from throughout the top of the South enjoying the science on offer.”

Mrs Thompson says even more visitors are expected at this year’s event as it is the first time the new EnviroTech Wing has been open to the public. The event includes presentations, tours of the laboratory and research facilities, and displays.

Scientists from Cawthron’s freshwater, ecotoxicology, coastal science, aquaculture, food technology and biosecurity teams will be on hand to share and explain their work including how they are helping combat aquatic invasive species, and how satellite technology is helping their marine research and also becoming an increasingly popular tool for recreational fishers and divers.

There will also be touch pools for children and a range of displays including hi-tech buoys, examples of natural toxins, didymo (also known as rock snot), and cyanobacteria or blue-green algae.

At 11am freshwater scientist Robin Holmes will give a presentation on how community-based initiatives are helping support stream habitat restoration on farms and, at 2pm
Kevin Heasman will explain what aquaculture is and why we need it.

The Halifax Street site is of historical importance to Cawthron as it has been home to research for the institute since it’s establishment 93 years ago. On the very site of the new EnviroTech wing, tobacco research was being undertaken in the 1920’s.

“Right now it’s an exciting time at Cawthron and we’re looking forward to sharing our research with the community,” Cawthron Institute Chief Executive, Professor Charles Eason, says. “These open days are a fantastic way to connect with our community and allow people to see some of the world-leading science happening in their own backyard.”


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