Antarctic invertebrates called sprintails are one of the two new projects awarded a Waikato scholarship.
Gemma Collins is the recipient of a $12k masters scholarship from the University of Waikato's Environmental Research Institute (ERI), $3.5k of which will contribute to fees, to study how the genetic diversity of tiny Antarctic invertebrates might change in response to warming air temperatures.
Gemma will travel to Antarctica for five weeks this summer, to see whether there is any correlation between the genetic sequences of springtails and their daily/seasonal activity. "If air temperatures continue to increase, what we don't want is the springtails that are more active during the warmer conditions to outcomplete the colder-adapted ones because that will reduce total diversity" explained Gemma. A genetically diverse population has a greater potential to adapt to changing environmental conditions.